Does CBD Oil Help with ADHD in Children and Adults?
ADD and ADHD are a spectrum of cognitive disorders affecting learning and attention.
How can CBD oil help support these neurological conditions? What’s the dose? Is it safe for children?
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a neurological disorder affecting roughly 1 in 15 children and 1 in 20 adults .
The conventional treatment for ADHD is stimulant medications such as Ritalin, Concerta, or Adderall.
While these medications work in the short-term, they come with a long list of potential side effects and there’s no evidence these medications can improve focus or attention long-term.
Many people are reaching for a bottle of CBD oil to help with ADD or ADHD instead — here’s why.
Table of Contents
$49 – $229
Royal CBD Oil 30 mL
5 / 5
|Total CBD:||500 – 2500 mg|
|Potency:||16.6 – 83.3 mg/mL|
|Cost per mg CBD:||$0.12 – $0.18|
Bottom Line: Using CBD for ADD/ADHD
CBD is used to regulate the neurological system.
More specifically, it supports the balance between the stimulating side of the nervous system (the sympathetic nervous system) and the relaxing side of the nervous system (parasympathetic nervous system).
Through this effect, CBD is able to reduce hyperactivity associated with conditions like ADHD, anxiety, and insomnia.
In the case of ADD (non-hyperactive inability to focus), CBD may only be of mild help directly but may offer more indirect support through other symptoms that are associated with ADD such as insomnia or anxiety.
What is ADD/ADHD?
Attention deficit disorders are common neurological conditions affecting our ability to concentrate on a given task for extended periods of time.
These conditions are often debilitating, making it nearly impossible for some to follow through with even simple tasks at work or school.
Both ADD and ADHD are most common in children, but can also affect adults.
A large meta-analysis published in 2006 found a correlation between low dopamine gene expression and ADHD . This suggests that ADHD is characterized by low dopamine function. Although this is disputed, it does give doctors something to focus on. This is why children with ADHD are often prescribed drugs designed to stimulate dopamine concentrations.
This doesn’t always work, as there are many different factors that contribute to ADHD. The condition is generally thought of as a collection of symptoms rather than a disease (we will discuss this further later).
Symptoms of ADD/ADHD
Some people with ADHD experience what we can call hyperfocus.
This involves periodically entering a state of intense focus — with an inability to pay attention to anything outside of that activity.
This is a rare, contradictory symptom of the condition — but nonetheless, it exists in some people with ADHD.
ADD and ADHD is more common in children. Sometimes, it can be difficult to spot ADHD initially. The earlier the diagnosis, however, the sooner changes to learning structure, diet, lifestyle, and medications or supplements can be made.
Early Signs of ADD/ADHD in Children:
- Trouble paying attention in school or work
- The appearance of not listening
- Failing to complete assigned tasks
- Avoidance of activities that require sustained focus
- Frequently losing items
- Interrupts conversations often
What Causes ADHD?
It’s difficult to pinpoint exactly what causes ADHD. It’s a complicated psychological condition that likely results from a number of different factors.
Even diagnosing the condition is difficult, as there are no lab tests for a conclusive diagnosis. Instead, psychiatrists will use symptoms and various behavioral tests and surveys to make an educated diagnosis — although these are often unreliable, as ADD and ADHD are more of a spectrum of disorders than they are a specific set of symptoms.
Causes of ADHD May Include:
There are Two Main Types of Attention Deficit Disorders:
Attention deficit isn’t considered a disease — it’s a disorder.
The difference here is more than semantics because it tells us something about the known cause for the condition.
The difference is that a disorder is defined at a behavioral level — its presence doesn’t imply a neurological disease. You can think of disease as referring to physical or functional damage (lowered function).
What this means is ADHD is more of a symptom or quality than it is a diagnosable medical disease. There are multiple different factors that come together to cause ADHD.
ADD and ADHD are usually thought of more as a scale than a box — with ADD on one end and ADHD on the other.
1. Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD)
ADD is considered a milder version of ADHD — but “mild” isn’t quite the right word. For some, this condition can be severe, making it nearly impossible for people to study effectively.
2. Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
This form of the disorder involves hyperactivity.
This is generally caused by changes in neurotransmitter levels. Although this may be true, it’s far more complex than that.
Some research suggests ADHD is caused by low dopamine, while some suggest high dopamine causes the condition.
Additionally, there’s evidence that other neurotransmitters may be involved — such as serotonin, norepinephrine, and GABA.
This is why ADHD is better regarded of as a symptom, rather than a disease.
What Type of Attention Deficit Disorder is CBD Best Used for?
One must identify whether the ADHD involves the sympathetic nervous system (stimulating side) or whether the parasympathetic nervous system (restorative side) is most active.
*Sympathetic nervous system (SNS) = the part of the nervous system that makes us feel alert and stimulated. It’s heavily involved with the stress response.
*Parasympathetic nervous system (PNS) = the part of the nervous system that brings us back to normal after the SNS activates. It stimulates digestion and immune function and helps us relax.
Here’s an example of some of the symptoms common to ADHD that change depending on what part of the nervous system is hyperactive:
|Common ADHD Symptoms||Sympathetic Nervous System Dominance||Parasympathetic Nervous System Dominance|
|Inability to concentrate||Too distracted||Too bored|
|Digestive dysfunctions||Diarrhea and weight loss||Constipation and weight gain|
|Immune dysfunctions||Sick often||Rarely sick|
|Neurological dysfunction||Anxiety and insomnia||Depression|
This gets far more complicated, as ADHD can involve portions of both, so it’s best to talk with your health practitioner if you want further details.
CBD is Best for SNS-Dominant ADHD
Generally speaking, CBD is more likely to benefit SNS-dominant forms of ADHD. It supports most of the common symptoms, and in some patients, the underlying cause.
What Are the Conventional Treatment Options for ADD/ADHD?
1. Dietary Changes
Diet plays a major role in the symptoms of ADHD.
Nutrient deficiencies and blood sugar irregularities are common in ADHD sufferers. It’s best to speak with a registered dietitian or nutritionist before consuming any nutritional supplements.
2. Lifestyle Modification
One of the biggest problems with ADD and ADHD is that day-to-day activities at school or at work become difficult. This requires those affected to adapt their learning styles to something that’s going to work for them. This can involve tutoring sessions, interactive lesson structures, or homeschooling.
It’s also important to consider other factors of mental health to lower the burden of ADHD on performance.
Tips to Consider for Optimal Cognitive Function:
- Getting at least eight hours of sleep each night
- Exercising at least three times per week
- Meditating or spending time relaxing the mind at least once per day
3. Pharmaceutical Stimulants
Pharmaceutical stimulant medications are commonly used for treating the condition.
These drugs work by increasing dopamine levels in the brain by stopping enzymes from breaking it down. This increases the threshold needed to activate the reward center in the brain.
When the reward center is activated more easily, it becomes much simpler to focus on a given task. These drugs are highly effective for increasing attention and focus, but often come with a long list of negative side-effects that worsen the longer the drug is taken.
Common Drugs Used for Treating ADD/ADHD
How to Use CBD for ADHD Symptoms
Step 1: Source High-Quality CBD
The first thing to do is look for some high-quality CBD oil or CBD capsules.
CBD gummies are an excellent option for both children and adults alike. Just make sure to check the dose and store the gummies far out of your child’s reach, just like any other medication.
Finding high-quality CBD can be challenging — there are a lot of really poor-quality products out there thanks to the lack of regulation in this space.
Top-Rated CBD Oils For ADD & ADHD
- Royal CBD Oil
- CBDistillery CBD Oil
- Hemp Bombs CBD Oil
- Charlotte’s Web CBD Oil
- Kat’s Naturals Relax
Step 2: Determine the Dosage
Determining the dosage of CBD can be a challenge for first-time users. You can use our CBD oil dosing guide to assess the daily dose of CBD based on your desired strength and weight.
When using CBD for the first time, we recommend taking the smallest applicable starting dose and building up slowly over the course of a week. This is a wise thing to do whenever starting any new supplement to see how it affects your individual body.
For ADHD, we recommend only taking CBD if you’ve discussed it with your medical practitioner. CBD and the other cannabinoids in the cannabis plant may interact with other pharmaceutical stimulants, antidepressants, or other medications.
Giving Smaller Doses to Children
- CBD oils are easily given in lower doses by measuring fewer drops of the oil.
- Gummies can be split into halves, thirds, or quarters with a knife to get the right dose measured out.
- Capsules, however, are very hard to split into smaller doses and, therefore, need to be bought already in the exact desired dose.
Below, we’ve outlined two general dosing recommendation charts — one for children and one for adults. Based on weight and desired strength, these charts provide a general starting point for dosing CBD oils and capsules.
Always start at the lowest strength and increase the dose gradually as needed.
Is CBD Oil Safe For Children With Anxiety And ADHD?
Dr. Mubina Agboatwalla is a well-known pediatrician, practicing paediatrics since the last 20 years in Karachi Pakistan. She is the head of the department of Pediatrics in Karachi Liaquat Hospital, as well as her private practice in three s. more
Swati Patwal is a clinical nutritionist and toddler mom with over eight years of experience in diverse fields of nutrition. She started her career as a CSR project coordinator for a healthy eating and. more
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If you are unaware of using Cannabidiol or CBD oil for kids, you should be reading this post. CBD oil is a component found in the Cannabis Sativa family’s hemp and marijuana plants, making individuals feel high. (1). The oil has gained popularity in recent years for treating various conditions, including chronic pain, stress, insomnia, nausea, and vomiting.
Different procedures are used to extract the oil, including carbon dioxide extraction, ethanol extraction, and hydrocarbon extraction (2). After extraction, the oil is refined and marketed as tinctures, capsules, topicals, chewable gummies, beverages, and other products.
This post discusses the safety of CBD oil for children, including its advantages, age-appropriate dosage, and potential side effects and hazards associated with its use.
Is CBD Oil Safe For Children?
There’s no scientific evidence to prove the safety and efficacy of CBD oil for children. However, one CBD product, namely Greenwich Biosciences’ Epidiolex, has been approved for use as a part of a regulated medication to treat epilepsy in children by the US FDA (3). This prescription drug contains a purified form of CBD that helps treat seizures in children that occur in rare and severe epilepsy forms, such as Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome (4).
Since these epilepsy forms do not respond to anti-seizure medications, CBD use becomes crucial. However, remember that using CBD oil as a standalone medication to treat epilepsy in children isn’t well-researched. Thus, if you want to use CBD oil for treating epilepsy or any other ailment in your child, consult a pediatrician.
Note: CBD is often confused with THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), another cannabinoid found in hemp and marijuana. THC is a psychoactive compound that makes a person feel “high” and causes addiction and psychosis. However, CBD doesn’t have these effects and affects separate brain regions than THC (5).
Uses Of CBD Oil For Children
Apart from treating epilepsy, the FDA doesn’t approve CBD oil’s use to treat any ailment in children. However, studies suggest that CBD oil may be an effective treatment for the treatment of several ailments.
- Anxiety: Some recent studies show that CBD oil use may help reduce anxiety (6) (7). Preclinical evidence from animal studies demonstrates that CBD oil use can reduce anxiety associated with multiple disorders, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), generalized stress disorder, and social anxiety disorder (8 ). It helps in relaxing the brain and musculoskeletal system. However, there’s a need for further study to make any recommendations for children.
- Autism: A 2019 study on 188 autism spectrum disorder (ASD) patients showed that the use of cannabis oil containing 30 percent CBD and 1.5 percent THC appears to be a “well-tolerated, safe, and effective option to relieve symptoms associated with ASD” (9). Another study involving 60 children also showed some promising results (8 ). However, these results aren’t sufficient for clinical validation as the research samples are quite small.
- Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder(ADHD): A systematic review conducted in 2020 highlighted that CBD could help alleviate symptoms of ADHD (10). It helps in calming the child and lowers the hyperactivity. However, currently, no targeted research studies are available to support the use of CBD oil for treating or managing ADHD in children.
- Multiple sclerosis (MS): A 2019 study by Thorsten Rudroff and Jacob Sosnoff suggests that CBD use may be associated with less pain and spasticity, ultimately leading to improved mobility and proper sleep (11). The release of musculoskeletal spasms is the mainstay of treatment. Yet, more research is warranted to derive any conclusions about CBD oil use for MS treatment in children.
Side Effects Associated With CBD Oil Use
CBD oil use for children isn’t well-researched, and its unguided use may cause certain side effects, such as
- Gastrointestinal disturbances: Upset stomach and abdominal pain are common side effects of CBD oil use in sensitive individuals. So, always consult a doctor or alternative medicine expert before using CBD oil for children.
- Toxicity: If CBD oil isn’t used under guidance, there’s a potential risk of overdose and toxicity. Therefore, it’s essential to use CBD oil only after consulting an expert. Some of the symptoms you may see in CBD toxicity are severe nausea or vomiting, high blood pressure, anxiety, paranoia, rapid heart rate, and hallucinations (12).
- Possible drug interaction: CBD is a bioactive compound that can interact with other chemicals and compounds in the medications. Since CBD affects the brain and the central nervous system, antidepressants and antipsychotics are the most obvious drugs that can interact with CBD.
Some other drugs that can interact with CBD are blood thinners and thyroid and heart medications (13). Therefore, if your child is on any medication, consult your doctor before using CBD for any purpose.
Besides these, CBD oil can also cause headaches, drowsiness, dry mouth, and low blood pressure (14).
Note: Milk and foods containing high amounts of fats can increase the absorption of CBD in the body, thus increasing the effects and side effects of CBD on an individual (12).
Possible Risks Associated With CBD Oil Use In Children
Baring Epidiolex, which contains CBD, CBD oil isn’t regulated by the US FDA, making its use in children and teens risky as (5) (8 )
- The ingredients of CBD oil can’t be determined accurately, meaning the products can have ingredients that aren’t mentioned on the label. For instance, several products that claim to contain only CBD may also contain high doses of THC, a psychoactive compound.
- CBD oil’s quality can’t be ascertained, as there are chances that the oil may be contaminated with microorganisms, pesticides, and heavy metals. Consuming contaminated CBD oil can cause severe effects in sensitive individuals.
- The efficacy and safety of CBD oil in children and teens are unclear, and research on this subject is still in its early stages. Also, existing studies have been either done on animals or human adults and not on pediatric patients. Further, the studies that involve children have small sample sizes.
- The dosage guidelines aren’t clear, except for CBD used in the drug Epidiolex to treat Epilepsy. Thus, using CBD oil at home is tricky, especially when you aren’t aware of how much CBD oil you can administer to a child to get the desired effect. Also, there is no way to know which mode of use is best and how much CBD would be absorbed in the body based on the method of administration.
Besides these, the legality of the use of CBD oil varies from one country to another and state to state. For instance, according to the US FDA, THC or CBD can’t be sold legally as a dietary supplement, food, or therapeutic product (4). Instead, it can only be included in cosmetics when its THC content is less than 0.3 percent (14). So, check your state’s legal requirements for CBD oil purchase and use before you make any purchases.
How To Choose CBD Oil?
Proper selection of a CBD oil brand can be tricky as it’s manufactured by several companies globally. So, here are some tips that could help (15).
- Buy the product from a trusted manufacturer and seller. It will ensure the product you’re buying is of good quality and is not contaminated. Some manufacturers may dilute CBD isolate with hemp seed oil, which can make the product comparatively ineffective as they lack the balance of beneficial components found in broad-spectrum CBD oil (2).
- Read the product label carefully and determine the
- Oil source: The oil should be extracted from hemp or marijuana. Typically, hemp has a significantly less amount of THC when compared to marijuana. THC is a psychoactive chemical that can create dependence over long-term use. So, ensure you buy CBD oil extracted from hemp plants cultivated by domestic farmers. Domestic hemp is typically free of toxins and pesticides.
- Extraction method: The extraction method indicates how the oil has been extracted from the hemp plant. Typically, CBD oil is extracted using carbon dioxide (CO2) extraction or by using solvents such as ethanol, propane, and butane. Out of these, propane and butane extraction isn’t considered safe as these solvents are toxic and hazardous for children. On the other hand, ethanol and CO2 extraction techniques are safe and potent as they leave no harmful chemicals in the oil.
- Chemical composition: It signifies whether the oil is full-spectrum or isolate. Full-spectrum CBD oil will contain several phytonutrients, such as flavonoids, terpenes, and trace amounts of THC. If THC’s presence concerns you, look for CBD isolates, which are the pure form of CBD oil.
But, while you make that choice, consult an expert as concentrated CBD has high amounts of CBD per serving, increasing the chances of overdose.
- Product certification: Ensure the product has been certified by a reputable third-party testing lab or organization. The lab will test the oil quality and certify that the oil is true to its claim about its chemical composition. It’s best to buy oil that has testing information attached.
CBD oil for children and adults is the same. However, since children weigh less and are comparatively sensitive, using CBD oil with lower potency is advisable.
CBD Oil Dosage For Children
The appropriate dosage of CBD oil for children depends on their body weight, metabolism, medical condition, overall health, and intent of use. For instance, the US FDA has approved the daily oral use of 25mg per kg of body weight for Epidiolex, the prescription drug that contains CBD (14). Its use is approved for children aged one and above.
However, this dosage may or may not be suitable for every child. So, consult a doctor or alternative medicine expert to determine the appropriate CBD oil dosage and suitable mode of use for a child.
While CBD oil has gained popularity over the past few years as a remedy for various ailments, it is important to remember that the FDA does not approve CBD oil for kids. More research is needed to support and establish the safety of CBD oils in the treatment of ailments such as anxiety, autism, and ADHD. In addition, it is advisable to refrain from using these oils if your children are on any other medications. Further, consult your pediatrician before using this oil on your child.
- CBD oil or Cannabidiol, a derivative of the cannabis plant, is reportedly used to treat certain neurological ailments, such as epilepsy, in children.
- It is essential to use this oil only when prescribed by an expert since it poses the risk of side effects such as CBD toxicity, gastric problems, and drug interactions.
- The oil is not approved for use in children in some countries. Therefore, seek professional advice before using it.
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