I've been getting more and more questions about whether or not CBD is a good treatment for ADHD and, since it's considered a supplement, it is often one that adults are thinking about adding to their treatment regimen without talking with their doctor.  Is that a good idea?

A recent article published by the Harvard Medical School on CBD provides a good overview of what is - and is not- known about the effectiveness of CBD.  Here is what stands out to me as relates to ADHD:

  • A PLUS - It may help with both sleep and anxiety, both of which are a struggle for many with ADHD
  • A BIG MINUS - it interacts with other meds in the same way that grapefruit juice does - il.e changes the rate at which your body absorbs medications).  This is an issue with ADHD meds, since taking vitamin C with ADHD meds is known to change their effectiveness for the worse
  • A MINUS - as an unregulated supplement, you don't know what you are getting - and when you are basing your life (and relationship) on regular, predictable dosing and effectiveness of your treatment, this poses a problem.
  • A 'SORT OF' A MINUS - its regulatory status is up in the air amnd varies state to state - though not much enforced

Bottom line - so far, to the best of my knowledge, CBD has not been shown to improve symptoms of ADHD, though it may impact co-existing conditions.  It has, however, been shown to interfere with stimulant medications.  If you wish to consider trying it, please make sure to talk with your doctor first.

P.S.  On a related topic, there is no research so far that suggests that marijuana (vs. CBD) is a good treatment for ADHD, either (in spite of what the marijuana industry would have you believe.)  its addictive potential outweighs its benefits and, for kids, additional side effects (such as stifling growth, interfering with medications, etc.) SIGNIFICANTLY make using marijuana a bad idea.  See this article for a brief overview on marijuana and ADHD.