“Definitely works for focus and calming, kids also seem to be sleeping better.”
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a complex condition that affects millions of children around the world. As the name suggests, ADHD results in difficulty sustaining attention, hyperactivity and impulsive behaviour. Often diagnosed in children under 12 years old, ADHD can continue through to adulthood.
While there is no cure, there are a number of recommended medications as well as behavioural therapies to help manage the symptoms. For many parents, however, the negatives of prescription medication far outweigh the positives, which is why CBD is generating interest as a natural and safe alternative.
ADHD presents in three ways – predominantly inattentive; predominantly hyperactive and a combination of the two. If not properly managed, ADHD can so easily impact every aspect of a child’s life, from their performance at school to their friendships and even their emotional wellbeing and self-esteem.
While anti-depressants are sometimes recommended, up to 80% of children diagnosed with ADHD are prescribed stimulants. As with other allopathic medication, these come with a host of side-effects – think poor appetite, mood swings and insomnia. While scientific research on CBD as a treatment for ADHD is limited, there is growing anecdotal evidence that points to this plant-based medicine as a viable alternative, boasting the same benefits as mainstream medications without the side-effects.
A 2018 study involving 53 children and young adults between the ages of four and 22 points to CBD’s therapeutic potential for ADHD patients. Parents were asked to administer CBD for 66 days and observe the effects. The study reported that hyperactivity dropped in 68% of the participants, self-injury and rage improved in 68% and anxiety improved in 47% of the children. Equally important to note is that the side-effects were mild.
CBD’s effectiveness is linked to its ability to influence the endocannabinoid system, which is responsible for regulating everything from mood to memory. By interacting with particular receptors in the brain and the immune system, CBD encourages the body to produce more of its own natural cannabinoids, which in turn creates more balance in the body. For those suffering from ADHD, this means lower levels of anxiety and hyperactivity. Equally important, CBD has been shown to boost levels of dopamine, which helps to improve cognitive processes such as learning and attention.
While behavioural therapies are still valuable, adding CBD to your child’s ADHD treatment toolkit offers benefits beyond just improving day-to-day symptoms. If you are curious to try it, consider the severity of your child’s symptoms before deciding on a dosage – always start on a lower dose and increase it slowly. While there are a number of ways to administer CBD, an oil or tincture may be the best choice.