Marijuana Abuse and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorders (ADHD)

ADHD and Marijuana abuse is a double-edged sword for those who have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. According to studies published in the journal Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, those with ADHD who are also habitually Marijuana abusers are very likely to suffer from cognitive and executive deficits, which may have to do with how they receive their medications. This study also shows that those with ADHD are more likely to smoke Marijuana than those without the disorder, and they even most likely start at a younger age 

When ADHD occurs together with addiction or marijuana abuse, the individual struggles with a dual diagnosis, frequently, people diagnosed with two or more mental health disorders will seek out rehab treatment from clinics that can provide extensive treatment for the two disorders at the same time.

ADHD is quite common, and it affects nine per cent of children between the ages of 13 and 18 in America’s united states. It sometimes carries on even when the person reaches adulthood, as is evident because 4,1% of adults are affected. Marijuana abuse is very common in America, among all widely abused drugs marijuana it is the most commonly used illegal drug. Using them together can lead to severe results.

The research was carried out by the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. It was discovered that while 7% of teenagers in the United States with an average age of 17 use marijuana, an even greater 13% of teenagers with ADHD and Marijuana abuse.  Marijuana can be used as a self-treatment, a temporary remission for some of the symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

Those who advocate for Marijuana as an ADHD treatment claim it can help those with the disorder manage some of its more severe symptoms, including anxiety, agitation, restlessness, and depression. On the other hand, medical marijuana is known to have fewer side effects than traditional ADHD medications.

ADHD Symptoms

ADHD is classified as a childhood condition since signs typically appear about the age of seven, and it is usually diagnosed before the age of twelve. ADHD is described as a behaviour pattern that includes both inattention and hyperactivity and disrupts normal development and functioning in two settings: at home and school. At least six of the following symptoms are required for an ADHD diagnosis:


  • fidgeting and squirming
  • Talking excessively
  • Climbing or running around inappropriately
  • Unrest
  • Problems of quiet tasks 
  •  remaining seated


  • Having difficulty taking or waiting for a turn.
  • Interrupts frequently.
  • Doesn’t wait for questions to be completed before responding.
  • Frequently interrupts other people’s events or sports.


  • Organizational issues.
  • When talked to, he does not seem to be paying attention.
  • Distracted easily.
  • There’s a problem with information.
  • He is prone to misplacing his belongings.
  • ineffective follow-up.
  • Instructions are difficult to execute.

When an ADHD diagnosis is being made, six symptoms need to be present and constant for six months or more for an ADHD diagnosis was indeed made. People with ADHD can be hyperactive, impulsive, or inattentive. Marijuana Abuse symptoms are overt, which is why parents and medical professionals can readily distinguish them from those associated with autism.

Marijuana Abuse Signs

Marijuana abuse is very tricky to detect; Marijuana is gotten from a plant called Cannabis Sativa. The seeds, flowers, and dried leaves contain THC levels, a psychoactive chemical. Marijuana may be smoked or turned into edibles or baked goods. It alters the brain’s chemistry by stimulating cannabinoid receptors, many of which are involved in pleasure, giving users a “high” sensation. Marijuana abusers are often defined as having the following characteristics:

  • Lack of concentration
  • Lack of coordination
  • Increased appetite or cravings
  • Redness or Irritation of the eyes
  • Short-term memory loss
  • Dry mouth
  • Random actions or thoughts

SAMHSA reports that 18.9 million Americans are using marijuana, 7.3% of the population and 2.1 million battle Marijuana abuse

People with ADHD Turning to Marijuana for Relief

It’s no wonder that ADHD is one of the most common conditions in childhood, and Marijuana abuse is widely common. People with ADHD, on the other hand, could be attracted to marijuana use. This may be because of their propensity for rash actions and impulsive acts. ADHD and Marijuana abuse may have hereditary origins, and environmental factors may play a role.

Teenagers are prone to peer pressure, impulsivity, and making negative or risky decisions and are likely to have issues with Marijuana abuse. ADHD-affected adolescents are also more vulnerable. These teenagers may be affected differently than their peers by tension and stressful environments, making drugs and alcohol more attractive. Marijuana has a relaxing or calming effect, which is why many people use it to relieve restlessness or to treat ADHD symptoms. This also prompts marijuana abuse

Marijuana works by stimulating some of the brain’s receptors, increasing pleasure in very similar ways to ADHD medications.

Ritalin, a popular ADHD drug, boosts dopamine levels throughout the brain, boosting good feelings. People with ADHD can use marijuana to self-medicate and improve positive feelings while decreasing anxiety

What are the Benefits of using Marijuana for ADHD?

There are many comments from people on online forums claiming that they treated symptoms of ADHD with marijuana. People who have ADHD also claim to have few or no additional issues with marijuana abuse, so they claim I can’t entirely agree with that statement. However, they aren’t showing the study on adolescent use of Marijuana and Marijuana abuse. Additionally, there is concern regarding the development of a brain and its capacity to learn and remember new information.

According to McCue Jack, FACP, MD, physician, resigned professor of medicine at the University of California, and an author, San Francisco, “many teenagers and adults with ADHD are convinced that cannabis helps them and it has little or no side effects and Marijuana abuse (compared to medications).” “It’s possible that they, rather than their physicians, are right.”

Dr. McCue says he has seen patients with the typical symptoms and benefits of marijuana use. For example, they report intoxication (or “high”), appetite stimulation, sleeping or anxiety relief, and pain relief. According to Dr. McCue, these individuals also experience side effects that are common with traditional ADHD treatments.

“According to the limited literature on how cannabis helps people with ADHD symptoms, it is most effective for hyperactivity and impulsivity. It can be less beneficial in the case of inattention, “According to Dr. McCue.

Any of these online threads or forums were investigated by Trusted Source in 2016. Twenty-five per cent of the 286 lines examined by the researchers came from people who said that cannabis use was therapeutic. Just 8% of posts mentioned adverse effects like marijuana abuse, 5% mentioned both positive and negative effects, and 2% said marijuana has no impact on their symptoms. This recognition is essential, as the comments and forums are not clinically meaningful. These studies are not without evidence, however. Furthermore, they should not be considered medical advice regarding marijuana abuse.

“There are narrative accounts and various demographic surveys that indicate that individuals with ADHD use marijuana as a treatment as if they are losing their attention, concentration, hyperactivity, and impulsivity,” says Elizabeth Evans, MD, psychologist and assistant professor of psychiatry at Columbia University Medical Center. Dr Evans adds, however, “there is no sufficient evidence to support the conclusion that marijuana is a safe or effective treatment for ADHD and few individuals might be at a risk of Marijuana abuse.”

Risks of Marijuana Abuse

Two states have already legalized marijuana for commercial use, sparking a nationwide debate. Many people believe that since medical marijuana is becoming more common, it must not be harmful or addictive. The National Institute of Drug Abuse says that 9% of marijuana abuse patients become addicted, and that number rises to 17% if they start using it late in life. The number is anywhere between 25 and 50% for regular users.

Some of The Side Effects of Marijuana Abuse Are:

  • Blood pressure and heart problems
  • Breathing issues.
  • Depression
  • Migraine.
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea or throwing up
  • dryness of the mouth
  • Convulsions
  • Weak immune system,
  • diminished mental abilities
  • Marijuana abuse

Those are just a few of the issues that marijuana abusers can encounter. An individual with ADHD and a comorbid condition is said to have a comorbid disorder, and they are more likely to experience negative side effects. ADHD can exacerbate inattentiveness and memory loss on its own. When the disease is combined with Marijuana, which has similar products, brain chemistry is altered, making school and work even more complicated. Marijuana abuse could worsen ADHD symptoms and complicate care.

Some researchers believe that marijuana abuse, specifically among children, may exacerbate ADHD symptoms. Since those who have ADHD have trouble thinking through their decisions, they are at risk of marijuana abuse without knowing the implications.

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What can I do to Assist?

It’s also unclear if stimulant use contributes to existing marijuana abuse in ADHD patients. Other courses of treatment include non-stimulants or extended-release stimulants(they are not as misused by patients). Immediate-release motivations can deliver faster and more potent high. Therefore they have a higher abuse rate.

If you or somebody you care for struggles with marijuana abuse and ADHD, you should seek therapy. Many facilities only treat the specific condition, but people with this syndrome need Dual Diagnosis care. This form of therapy concentrates on the advanced treatment required to treat both conditions simultaneously.

Marijuana abuse or addiction cannot be treated independently from the ADHD, and relapse chances are higher if they are both not treated together. Dual Diagnosis care helps understand the unique pressures and issues those with comorbid disorders face.

Individual and group therapy may help people move through personal triggers and learn to cope in new and successful ways.  Professionals are uniquely qualified to simultaneously assist with both ADHD and marijuana abuse problems, so an individualized treatment plan is essential. Families who work together have a higher success rate.

If you’d like to learn more about how Dual Diagnosis care can help you or your loved one recover from ADHD and marijuana abuse, please contact us.