Many patients report that CBD can have profound positive effects on the symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) CBD has a long list of well-documented health benefits — but can it help with ADHD? What are the best CBD oil brands for ADHD symptoms?
CBD and ADHD: 4 Benefits of Using CBD Oil for ADHD
A chief chemical compound found in the hemp plant, cannabidiol, or CBD, has begun to attract attention for its medical and therapeutic effects. And though the research is in early stages, many patients report that CBD can have profound positive effects on the symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). If you think cannabidiol might help with your ADHD symptoms, it’s important to know what the current research says about everything from potential benefits to side effects. We’ll walk you through some of the documented benefits of using CBD to treat ADHD so that you can have an informed conversation with your doctor about what’s right for you.
4 Benefits of Using CBD Oil for ADHD
- Relaxed Feelings
- Reduced Impulsivity
- Increased Dopamine
- Improved Sleep
It’s important to remember that CBD is just one of the key compounds found in the hemp and cannabis plants. If you’re worried that using CBD to treat ADHD symptoms can have psychoactive effects or produce a feeling of being high, it should ease your mind to know that the psychoactive effects of the cannabis plant are associated with a different compound—tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC. Unlike THC, which is the active compound associated with marijuana, cannabidiol does not produce a high or have any hallucinogenic or psychoactive properties.
What CBD does offer is an interaction with the body’s endocannabinoid system , which helps maintain a sense of balance within the body and regulate the production of several key brain chemicals. In fact, the endocannabinoid system is a key player in many physiological functions that underlie symptoms of ADHD, like memory, cognition, mood, concentration and more. According to some ADHD patient reports, using CBD can help stimulate the body’s production of its own endocannabinoids, which may help reduce everything from anxiety and pain to inflammation and even some of the common symptoms associated with ADHD, like hyperactivity and impulsivity.
One thing is clear from the medical community: cannabidiol treatment at this time should be confined to the treatment of adult ADHD symptoms. Because of the lack of research into the specific mechanism of action, along with long-term effects, CBD is not recommended to treat ADHD symptoms in children.
Can You Take CBD Oil for ADHD?
Yes, you can. CBD products are widely available, and you do not need a prescription in order to purchase them. While the research on the medicinal benefits of CBD is in the extremely early stages, there is documentation that some ADHD sufferers find a therapeutic effect from using CBD.
In most patients, ADHD causes an inability to pay attention or maintain focus, sometimes along with an intense physical restlessness that may make it difficult to concentrate on work or school. Because cannabidiol has been shown to relieve feelings of anxiety in some patients, there may also be reason to explore CBD’s effects on the similar symptoms of ADHD.
Though not much research on treating ADHD with CBD exists, one 2012 study showed that mice with symptoms of hyperactivity, including a reduced attention span, began to exhibit “normalized” behavior when treated with CBD. Another study from 2020 showed that higher doses of medical cannabis were associated with a decreased use of ADHD stimulation medication in adults.
It’s important to note that much of the connection between CBD and ADHD has historically come from the reports of individuals with ADHD who self-medicate with cannabidiol. It’s also important to keep in mind that ADHD often goes hand in hand with other challenges, like anxiety and restlessness, both of which have been shown, at some level, to improve with CBD treatment.
While this offers hope that more research will show a more direct link between CBD use and improved ADHD symptoms, it’s wise to talk with your physician before treating ADHD symptoms on your own. This is especially true if you’re currently taking medication for any other medical condition, some of which may react adversely with cannabidiol.
4 Benefits of Using CBD Oil for ADHD
Let’s take a closer look at some of the reported benefits of using CBD to treat symptoms of ADHD.
1. Relaxed Feelings
It’s no small thing that ADHD is often accompanied by anxiety. Some studies have shown that CBD has great promise in treating a wide variety of anxiety disorders, including generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, and social anxiety disorder. In addition, it has a bit of an antidepressant effect. These combined effects can help generate overall feelings of calm and well being.
2. Reduced Impulsivity
One of the key symptoms of ADHD is extreme impulsivity, which may be reduced by using CBD as a treatment. One study of ADHD subtypes , conducted in 2013, showed that out of nearly 3k participants, those who did not self-medicate using cannabis reported a higher incidence of hyperactive-impulsive symptoms, which may indicate that participants who used marijuana to self-medicate found relief from symptoms of hyperactivity and impulsivity.
In addition, a 2017 pilot study of 30 adults with ADHD found that cannabidiol was associated with small improvements in hyperactivity/impulsivity and inattention among participants. Continued research may reveal additional details about how CBD helps reduce impulsive behavior.
3. Increased Dopamine
Dopamine is an important neurotransmitter produced by our brains. It activates the brain’s pleasure center and leads to feelings of satisfaction, reward, and wellbeing. In addition, dopamine helps regulate mood, improve memory and focus, and support learning, planning, and productivity.
Some patients with ADHD also have lower than typical levels of dopamine, which can greatly affect focus and concentration. Because CBD can encourage the production of anandamide, a naturally occurring cannabinoid found in the body that helps regulate both dopamine and serotonin, cannabidiol treatment ultimately can help increase a patient’s dopamine levels .
4. Improved Sleep
While sleep is essential for overall good health and wellbeing, patients who deal with anxiety, ADHD, and other mental health issues often can find it difficult to relax and fall asleep at night—or they may find it difficult to stay asleep once they fall asleep, failing to get the deep and restorative sleep they need for optimal health.
Studies have found that CBD may have an overall calming effect on the nervous system, which not only helps with feelings of peace and wellbeing during the day, but also can help the nervous system transition into a stage of deep, restful sleep. And while research remains in early stages, there is some indication that CBD therapy may help patients overcome sleep issues such as excessive daytime sleepiness , insomnia , or REM sleep behavior disorder .
And in addition to better overall health and wellbeing, improved, more restful sleep often can help patients with ADHD better manage symptoms , such as poor focus, impulsivity, and hyperactivity during the day.
What Forms of CBD are Used for ADHD?
CBD oil is generally the most common form of treatment, though CBD also is available in a supplement or capsule form, or even as CBD gummies . There is no current research comparing the efficacy of different types of CBD delivery methods. If you’re trying CBD for the first time, oil is a good way to begin, since it allows you to know exactly what dosage you’re getting, and you can start with the smallest dose possible and work up until you find the dose that provides a therapeutic effect without adverse side effects.
Before buying any CBD product, be sure to make sure the company has a positive reputation. Look for products
- Clearly labeled as to be free of herbicides or pesticides
- Registered or certified by a State agency to verify potency
- Clearly labeled with a reference to third-party testing to back up the safety of the CBD
While CBD also can be inhaled, we recommend avoiding this delivery method. Inhaling CBD puts the compound into the bloodstream faster, which might not be a good idea if you’ve never used it before. Also, in general, the medical community has significant concerns about the inhaling or vaping of CBD— including the likelihood of breathing difficulties, long-term lung damage, and even death. It is much safer to take CBD orally, through either an oil, a CBD tincture , or a capsule.
What is the Recommended Dosage for ADHD?
It’s important to keep in mind that because CBD is not an FDA-approved medical or therapeutic ADHD treatment, the FDA has issued no guidelines when it comes to effective dosage. And remember that research into treating ADHD with CBD is scarce and still largely in early stages, though one 2018 study has suggested that a single 300-milligram dose may be enough to reduce anxiety. In addition, CBD has been shown to be well tolerated at doses of up to 1,500 milligrams per day.
The best way to find your ideal CBD dosage is through a process known as titration or stepwise dosing. Starting with a minimum baseline dose, you’ll gradually increase your dosage (usually every three days) until you find your most effective dose. The most effective dose will be the dose that provides the most therapeutic effect with the least amount of adverse events or side effects. A good place to start is with a five to ten milligram dose, one to two times per day, providing a total daily dose of 10 to 20 milligrams. After a seven-day base period, gradually increase dosage by five milligrams every three days until you reach the effect that’s best for you.
It’s important to remember that everyone responds differently to CBD treatment, so you may have to experiment a bit to find the dosage—whether pure CBD oil, CBD soft gels , or CBD capsules—that is ideal for your body and your particular symptoms. There is no standard CBD dosage for every person or for every condition. As always, it’s important to speak with your doctor about your desire to treat your ADHD symptoms with CBD, and to work with them to develop a plan to find your ideal dose.
CBD is a Promising Option for Those Living with ADHD
While there is certainly optimism around CBD’s ability to manage the symptoms of ADHD, more research is needed to fully understand the relationship between CBD and ADHD. Until then, make sure to talk with your doctor if you’re considering treating ADHD symptoms with CBD. They can help you understand the legal requirements of your state and talk with you about proper dosing.
If you’re ready to try CBD for ADHD, consider shopping FarmerAndChemist.com. We offer a wide variety of high quality CBD products that could provide a bit of relief for your ADHD symptoms. Our pharmacists and pharmacy technicians are more than happy to help if you have any questions! Just visit our store in Midvale, Utah or call us at 385-900-8997.
CBD Oil for ADHD: Does Hemp Oil Help as Alternative Treatment?
CBD stands for cannabidiol — an active (and non-intoxicating) compound in the cannabis plant. CBD oil has recently become popular amongst a lot of people in recent years for supporting symptoms such as anxiety, seizures, pain, and inflammation.
Some anecdotal evidence suggests that CBD can also relieve the symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), but the scientific research in this topic still remains in its infancy.
Anyone thinking of using CBD oil for ADHD, or giving CBD to their children, should be aware of the local regulations and never experiment with CBD oil without prior consultation with a doctor.
In this article, I’ll cover the current research on CBD and ADHD and give you my personal recommendations for the best CBD oil brands on the market.
Best CBD Oil for ADHD (Top Brands for 2022)
CBD is everywhere right now and there’s a large degree of difference when it comes to the quality of CBD products. In fact, no two CBD oils are made the same.
The best CBD oils are sourced from organic hemp, extracted with CO2, and backed with lab reports to prove their potency and purity. Here are the top brands I trust and regularly buy CBD from.
1. Royal CBD (Winner)
Get 15% off all Royal CBD products. Use code “CFAH” at checkout.
- Made with organic hemp plants grown by US farmers
- Contains full-spectrum CBD
- Available in 4 potency options: 250 mg, 500 mg, 1000 mg, and 2500 mg
- High dose per serving — up to 83.3 mg CBD/mL
- 4 flavors to choose from: Natural, Mint, Berry, and Vanilla
- Third-party tested for potency and purity
- Slightly more expensive than other brands (but made with only premium ingredients)
About Royal CBD:
Royal CBD is a Nevada-based company founded in 2018 by a group of young cannabis advocates with a mission of elevating the industry’s quality standards.
Royal CBD offers a range of organic solutions for wellness-focused individuals — you can find regular CBD oil drops, as well as softgel capsules and convenient THC-free gummies.
The Royal CBD oil is available in three different concentrations: 250 mg, 500 mg, and 1000 mg. The strongest version contains 33.3 mg of full-spectrum CBD contained in premium MCT oil for improved absorption. The oil tastes surprisingly neutral, unlike many other full-spectrum products I’ve tried so far.
Royal CBD also runs a blog for new CBD consumers, with an FAQ section for addressing common problems its customers may have.
2. Gold Bee (Best Organic Formula)
- Unique product selection
- Gold Bee uses non-GMO, Colorado-grown hemp
- The oil contains full-spectrum CBD
- The company’s products are extracted with CO2
- You’re getting up tp to 1200 mg of CBD per bottle
- The oil is sweetened with organic honey
- Third-party lab tested for potency and purity
- No high-strength oils
- Not available in-store
About Gold Bee:
If you’re looking for all-organic CBD products that combine cannabidiol with other superfoods, Gold Bee is a great choice. The brand offers full-spectrum CBD oil as well as CBD-infused honey sticks, gummies, and high-potency capsules. The Gold Bee CBD oil comes in two flavor options: natural and kiwi, the latter being sweetened with organic honey.
I’ve been taking the oil for 5 weeks now and I can tell a difference in how my body responds to stress. I feel less anxious in the morning and can easily get through my daily duties without that pesky tension at the back of my head. I was surprised by the quality of this CBD oil. Although I generally benefit from lower potencies due to my weight, with this oil, I’ve noticed that I need even less than with some apparently stronger products from other brands.
Considering the quality of Gold Bee’s products, and how they perform in the long-run, this is also one of the most affordable brands that sell organic CBD oils out there.
Gold Bee is a true maverick when it comes to CBD extracts. This Nevada-based brand offers a unique selection of products, including full-spectrum CBD oil that is sweetened with organic honey and CBD-infused honey sticks for the flavor chasers. The entire product line up is sourced from organic hemp, extracted with CO2, and third-party lab tested for potency and purity.
I’ve been taking the 1200 mg kiwi flavor for prevention and to ease the migraine pain once it has kicked in. I’ve noticed similar results to what I’ve been getting with some more potent oils from competitor brands, which already tells much about the oil’s quality. The kiwi flavor also does a great job in masking the earthy aftertaste of full-spectrum CBD, and most importantly, both flavorings and the sweetener are all-natural.
Gold Bee offers a 30-day money-back guarantee for its products, allowing customers to return their products for a full refund if they decide they are not satisfied with the results; it’s a great sign of the brand’s confidence about their quality.
3. CBDPure (Runner Up)
- Made with organic hemp grown in Colorado
- Extracted with CO2
- Contains full-spectrum CBD
- Third-party tested for potency and safety
- 100% Satisfaction Guaranteed — full refund within 90 days
- Only two product types available
- Less potent than Royal CBD
CBD is a Colorado-based brand specializing in making premium CBD products from organic hemp. The company’s product selection is very narrow — only oil drops and capsules — but it seems that CBDPure values quality over quantity, which is great in my opinion. There are already enough low-cost, low-quality CBD companies on the market. We don’t need anymore.
The oil is slightly less potent than Royal CBD oil, but if you benefit from low dosages, then this isn’t a problem. Moreover, CBDPure sells their oils in 60 mL bottles, which is more cost-efficient for lightweight users or those using CBD to manage mild symptoms.
4. CBDistillery (Most Affordable)
- Sourced from non-GMO domestic hemp
- Extracted with supercritical CO2
- Available as full-spectrum CBD or pure oil (zero THC)
- 5 different strengths to choose from
- High potency per serving — 33 mg CBD/mL in the 1000 mg bottle
- Third-party tested for potency and purity
- Very affordable
- Not certified organic
- No flavored options available
CBDistillery is the best brand for people seeking high-quality CBD oil without breaking the bank. The company is one of the industry’s trailblazers with a well-established reputation among CBD users across the world.
The best part about CBDistillery’s product range is that you can find the same potency options as either full-spectrum CBD or 99% pure isolate. Speaking of which, CBDistillery offers five different potency options, starting from 250 mg up to 5000 mg of CBD per bottle.
The only concern I have about this oil is the source of CBD — CBDistillery doesn’t use organic hemp plants — although they’re non-GMO — so it’s not the best CBD oil out there. It is, however, the best CBD oil in this price range.
Can CBD Oil Help With the Symptoms of ADHD?
The scientific evidence that CBD can help treat ADHD is very sparse. Moreover, a lion’s share of the research regarding ADHD and CBD focuses on marijuana-derived products, which has higher ratios of THC to CBD.
Some anecdotal reports from people using CBD oil for ADHD are indicating that CBD may be effective for ADHD symptoms such as hyperactivity and restlessness. Many people with ADHD choose CBD oil to support their current treatment because it’s non-psychoactive.
A small 2017 study investigated a group of adults with ADHD who were using cannabis to relieve their symptoms. The researchers reported a remarkable improvement in brain function and symptom reduction. However, despite the vividly reduced impulsivity and hyperactivity, they also concluded that the evidence is insufficient to consider CBD more effective than placebo.
How Does CBD Work for ADHD?
When you take CBD oil, cannabidiol and other cannabinoids interact with two sets of cannabinoid receptors in your body — CB1 and CB2 receptors. They have a direct effect on specific parts of your body and brain.
CB1 receptors are mostly located in the brain and in the central nervous system and are connected with the psychological effects of cannabinoids. CB2 appears in the cells of the immune system and the peripheral nervous system (the body) — they’re responsible for pain perception and immune response.
The compounds from CBD oil make the body’s naturally produced endocannabinoids more available for use by blocking an enzyme that breaks them down. Your body doesn’t directly use any of the CBD found in the oil.
Higher concentrations of endocannabinoids may lead to a number of benefits, including reduced stress, hyperactivity, and improved focus.
How is that connected to ADHD?
While CBD isn’t an acknowledged form of ADHD treatment, it can help with the management of specific symptoms many ADHD patients experience.
Some people with ADHD suffer from recurring anxiety, which can further exacerbate their symptoms. There’s sound evidence that CBD oil may relieve symptoms of different types of anxiety.
According to a 2016 case study, CBD may help with anxiety and sleep deprivation in children. Further research is currently underway that seeks to investigate this effect in a larger study group.
In a 2013 study, researchers explored the link between ADHD symptoms and cannabis use. People suffering from subtypes of ADHD with hyperactivity and impulsivity were more likely to use cannabis on a daily basis to manage their symptoms than subjects with inattentive forms of the disorder.
Last but not least, a 2015 study on ADHD, depression, and marijuana use in undergraduate students found that some students used cannabis to cope with depressive symptoms of ADHD, although the overall effect on these symptoms was inconclusive — similar to the above study from 2013.
Although the results so far are positive, we need more CBD-focused studies to understand the full extent of benefits CBD has to offer conditions like ADHD and ADD.
CBD Oil Dosage for ADHD
It’s difficult to gauge the effective dosage for your symptoms if you’re just getting started with CBD.
Cannabinoids affect everyone differently, and factors like age, weight, gender, metabolism, and the severity of your symptoms can all influence how you react to different doses of CBD oil.
At this time, there aren’t any dosage guidelines when it comes to using CBD oil for ADHD symptoms because it’s not an acknowledged form of treatment.
If you’re new to CBD, I recommend starting at the lowest dose possible. Many people start with an initial dosage of 5 mg CBD per day, increasing by 2.5–5 mg every day or every other day until they notice improvements in their symptom management.
Once you find the dose that works for you, you can stick to using it because CBD doesn’t increase substance tolerance.
Is CBD Oil Safe for Children with ADHD?
Because of the stigma associated with cannabis, only a few studies examined the use of CBD in children. The only approved CBD-based drug thus far is Epidiolex — an FDA approved oral solution to treat rare and severe forms of epilepsy.
Most reports on CBD in children come from case studies or anecdotal evidence presented by doctors, researchers, and patients.
However, 70 to 80 percent of American children use amphetamine-based medications such as Adderall to manage the symptoms of ADHD. It’s no wonder parents are looking for natural and safer alternatives to conventional treatments.
The Side Effects of Pharmaceutical Stimulants:
- Poor appetite
- Weight loss
- Mood changes
- Dry mouth
- Trouble sleeping
- Upset stomach
The Side Effects of CBD Oil:
- Dry mouth
- Lowered blood pressure
- Mild dizziness
As you can see, the side-effect profile of CBD oil is ridiculously mild compared to commonly prescribed pharmaceutical medications. It’s also worth noting that CBD oil has been shown to be well-tolerated at doses as high as 15,000 mg per day.
However, since CBD tends to interact with certain prescription drugs, I recommend visiting a doctor and consulting your supplementation plans prior to using any CBD product for ADHD symptoms.
CBD Oil for ADHD Treatment: Key Takeaways
It’s too early to consider CBD oil as a conventional treatment option for ADHD. The majority of research surrounding this subject revolves around using cannabis for symptom management, but even those findings are inconclusive.
Before you try CBD oil for ADHD, make sure to ask your GP for advice and treat it like you would any other health supplement. CBD isn’t a cure-all, but it’s a versatile tool for improving one’s mental and physical well-being.
I hope that this article has given you enough insight into using CBD oil for ADHD. If you don’t have the time to research different CBD companies, you can follow my brand recommendations at the top of this article.
Do you use CBD to manage the symptoms of ADHD? Does it help? Let me know in the comment section below!
Nina created CFAH.org following the birth of her second child. She was a science and math teacher for 6 years prior to becoming a parent — teaching in schools in White Plains, New York and later in Paterson, New Jersey.