People with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are increasingly turning to products like CBD oil as potential treatments, despite CBD oil not being linked to improvements in ADHD in any medical studies.
CBD oil is one of the most popular health products of the year, earning a spot on Vogue’s list of 2018’s biggest wellness trends and attracting the attention and repeat purchases of hundreds of thousands of customers around the world.
It’s available offline from a range of health stores, as well as online from specialist CBD retailers such as Vsavi.
The “CBD” part stands for cannabidiol, the active ingredient in CBD oil. Although cannabidiol is an extract of the cannabis plant, it doesn’t contain THC, meaning CBD oil offers many of the key benefits of medicinal cannabis without the psychoactive effects.
This means that after taking CBD oil, many users experience improvements in certain disorders and conditions, without the “high” of smoking or eating cannabis.
Right now, research into CBD oil’s medicinal benefits is fairly limited. Despite this, hundreds of thousands of users claim that CBD oil has helped them cope with everything from Parkinson’s disease to anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder and even Alzheimer’s.
Now, we can add ADHD to the list. An article in ADDitude, a publication specializing in research on ADHD, claims that many doctors have patients self-medicating using CBD oil to improve and control their ADHD symptoms.
One patient “bought one vial for $50 that contained 30 gel tablets”, taking the CBD oil pills over the course of several weeks. The patient claims that they didn’t experience any adverse effects from the CBD oil tablets, but “felt no changes” in their ADHD symptoms.
Dr. John Mitchell, of the Duke University ADHD Program, notes that there’s currently a dearth of studies into CBD oil and its potential benefits. Even in 2018, with CBD oil rapidly becoming legal across the US, there’s no specialised research into its effects on ADHD.
This isn’t unique to ADHD. While CBD oil has a great deal of benefits as reported in anecdotes from users, the amount of comprehensive scientific research into CBD oil is tiny. Most studies are fairly limited in scope, with the majority in their early stages.
According to SUNY-Albany professor of psychology Mitch Earleywine, there currently aren’t any published studies or randomised clinical trials supporting CBD oil’s use as a potential treatment for ADHD.
Other doctors, many of whom specialise in ADHD, report similar findings. While CBD oil is often mentioned anecdotally as a treatment for ADHD, additional research is required before it’s safe to view CBD oil as an effective treatment.
This doesn’t mean that CBD oil isn’t safe or effective — just that, right now, there isn’t enough scientific study data to prove that it’s an effective option for dealing with ADHD.
Despite this, the popularity of CBD oil as a treatment for other conditions, some of which have a small amount of scientific data behind them, is increasing. Survey data indicates that more than 325,000 people use CBD oil in the UK alone, with many more users in the United States.
In short, CBD oil isn’t going anywhere. However, it could be years, or even decades, before it’s backed up by real, randomised study data as a treatment for ADHD. Until then, it’s best to stick to proven, thoroughly tested treatments if you suffer from ADHD.