Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a neurobiological condition that occurs in nearly 4% of the adult population and 5% of children across the world. In Canada, recent Community Health Surveys show that at least 2.7% of the adults, aged 20 years and older, are suffering from ADHD. According to healthcare experts, adult ADHD can reduce life-expectancy for at least 13 years. A large number of ADD/ADHD patients also suffer from associated symptoms such as clinical depression, frequent mood swings, cognitive disabilities, social phobias, panic attacks, anxiety and other psychological disorders. While medications, counseling and ADHD coaching helps one to manage the condition, medical experts nowadays also acknowledge the efficacy of medical cannabis in alleviating the symptoms. Keep reading this article to understand how cannabis strains work on the human body and brain to increase the abilities of concentration and attention as well as which strains are best for fighting ADD/ADHD.
Cannabis and ADD/ADHD
Many healthcare professionals and doctors all over the world are increasing recommending medical marijuana to treat ADD/ADHD symptoms and lack of focus in general. According to Dr. Jack McCue, MD, FACP and a medicine professor at the University of California, marijuana helps in treating ‘hyperactivity and impulsivity’. A UK clinical trial in 2017 has found that controlled use of cannabinoids can reduce symptoms of inattention, cognitive impairments, hyperactivity associated with ADHD. According to some theories, ADD/ADHD disorder is caused by a lack of dopamine, a neurotransmitter chemical responsible for transmitting nerve signals, in the brain. Reduced dopamine-level in the brain, therefore, means disabilities in learning and attention.
A marijuana ‘high’ helps ADHD patients to focus their mind by stimulating dopamine secretion in their brains. According to a scientific study published in the Nature journal, it is tetrahydrocannabinol or THC, a psychoactive compound present in cannabis plants, which increases the dopamine level in the brain. While usual ADHD medicines such as Ritalin or Adderall are meant to do the same thing, they can have some serious side-effects. Medical cannabis strains, many patients and doctors believe, are relatively safer.
Many users claim that it’s not THC, but the presence of CBD or cannabidiol that makes marijuana very useful for ADHD patients. Being a nonpsychoactive compound that produces a relaxing ‘body-high’, it helps them to fight the restlessness and anxiety associated with the disorder by binding with the adenosine receptors in the brain. A 2016 medical study has found that 25% of the cases using CBD helped in alleviating ADHD symptoms. CBD has the same dopamine-boosting effect on the brain without the psychoactive effects of THC. You need to try the CBD dominant cannabis strains if you want to be calm, clear-headed and focus your attention. The cannabinoids also help to alleviate associated symptoms like nausea, loss of appetite or sleep disorders which are also very common in ADD/ADHD patients.
6 best cannabis strains to increase focus and fight ADD/ADHD
We bring to you a selection of THC-dominant, CBD-dominant as well as balanced cannabis strains that are highly effective in counteracting attention deficiency and other ADD/ADHD symptoms.
• Sour Diesel
One of the highest-rated cannabis strains across the world, Sour Diesel is THC dominant (26% THC-2% CBD). With a distinctive earthy and sour smell, SD gives you an extremely stimulating and uplifting cerebral high. According to cannabis reviewers, this particular strain produces a creative high by working on the frontal lobe of the brain and helps one to treat depression, anxiety and inattention.
• Green Crack
Another popular THC-dominant strain (19-25%) in the market, Green Crack is extremely useful in increasing focus and sensory concentration. The rich terpene profile of the strain gives it a unique tropical citrus aroma which helps in uplifting the mood and fighting depression. Green Crack is very popular among ADHD patients for its energetic effect on the mind.
Among the CBD dominant cannabis strains, Harle Tsu is undoubtedly one of the favorites among the patients suffering from ADD/ADHD or lack of focus in general. Due to its high cannabidiol content (20-24% CBD and 1% THC), HarleTsu is very useful in keeping the mind steady and focused without losing calm. Providing a little high and a full body relaxation, this strain is very effective in treating anxiety.
One of the parent strains of HarleTsu, Harlequin is another favorite CBD strain of the marijuana users who consume it to increase focus or treat ADHD symptoms. It is a 75% sativa heavy strain that has a piney, fruity and peppery flavor. Harlequin is extremely effective in treating anxiety or paranoia associated with ADHD patients. It also gives you a focused mind full of creative energy without the intoxicating effects of THC. This makes the strain a perfect choice for daytime use.
• Blueberry Headband
A 50/50 hybrid between sativa and indica, Blueberry Headband is a strain with balanced THC and CBD contents. It produces a mixed effect that combines a cerebral high with full body relaxation. With a unique sweet and spicy aroma, Blueberry Headband helps one to focus by reducing stress and anxiety. The THC content in it ensures waves of creative energy, while the CBD helps to intensify concentration by clearing away the unnecessary thoughts.
Whether suffering from ADD/ADHD or not, we all lack focus sometimes. There is an increased belief among many that cannabis strains can help one to self-motivate and concentrate better. However, not all cannabis strains can have the desired effect on everybody. Every human body and brain react to the same cannabis strain quite differently. You need to find out which strain is most suited for your unique biological and psychological makeup. Before you start taking marijuana to increase your focus or treat ADD/ADHD symptoms, it is always better to consult a healthcare expert or a medical professional. Self-medication on cannabis strains, if properly guided and regulated, can work wonders on ADD/ADHD symptoms and conditions involving lack of focus.