“ADHD brains are like a race car that suddenly has to drive on the same roads as regular cars, instead of on a race track. Sometimes they are going too fast, so they miss stop signs or directions.”
“Having ADHD is a lot like putting all of your information neatly into files….and having someone come and move everything around while you aren’t looking.”
If you or someone you know was recently diagnosed with ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) or ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder), then you are probably drowning in research and treatment options. This article is going to mainly focus on children, but please know, that I fully support adults expanding their treatment options, also.
What is ADD/ADHD?
ADD is one of the most common neurodevelopmental disorders of childhood. It is usually first diagnosed in childhood and often lasts into adulthood. Children with ADD may have trouble paying attention, controlling impulsive behaviors (may act without thinking about what the result will be), or be overly distracted. ADD exists on its own, however, it can also be combined with hyperactivity (ADHD). For research purposes, this article is focused on ADHD.
What are the symptoms of ADHD?
It is normal for children to have trouble focusing and behaving at one time or another. However, children with ADHD do not just grow out of these behaviors. The symptoms continue, can be severe, and can cause difficulty at school, at home, or with friends.
A child with ADHD will probably have some of these symptoms:
- daydream a lot
- forget or lose things a lot
- squirm or fidget
- talk too much
- make careless mistakes or take unnecessary risks
- have a hard time resisting temptation
- have trouble taking turns
- have difficulty getting along with others
Once you get a formal diagnosis from a doctor, the hard work begins. Finding the right treatment is crucial, since untreated ADHD is among the most debilitating disorders to live with. The risks of not treating ADHD include academic, social, and emotional problems in childhood. The problems may follow a person into adulthood impacting job performance, marital and family relationships and overall mental health. Children with ADHD who are not treated are more likely to self-medicate with drugs and alcohol.
ADHD Behavior Therapy Options
Children with ADHD often benefit from behavior therapy, social skills training, parent skills training and counseling, which may be provided by a psychiatrist, psychologist, social worker or other mental health professional. Some children with ADHD may also have other conditions such as an anxiety disorder or depression. In these cases, counseling may help both ADHD and the coexisting problem.
Examples of therapy include:
- Behavior therapy. Teachers and parents can learn behavior-changing strategies, such as token reward systems and timeouts, for dealing with difficult situations.
- Social skills training. This can help children learn appropriate social behaviors.
- Parenting skills training. This can help parents develop ways to understand and guide their child’s behavior.
- Psychotherapy. This allows older children with ADHD to talk about issues that bother them, explore negative behavior patterns and learn ways to deal with their symptoms.
- Family therapy. Family therapy can help parents and siblings deal with the stress of living with someone who has ADHD.
ADHD Medication Treatment Options
Medication is often an important part of treatment for a child with ADHD. However, it can be a difficult decision to make as a parent.
To make the best choice, you and your child’s doctor should work together to decide if medication is a good option. If so, ask the doctor whether your child needs medication during school hours only, or on evenings and weekends as well. You and the doctor should also determine what type of medication might be best. The two main types of ADHD medications are stimulants and nonstimulants.
Central nervous system (CNS) stimulants are the most commonly prescribed class of ADHD drugs. These drugs work by increasing the amounts of the brain chemicals called dopamine and norepinephrine. The effect improves your child’s concentration and helps them focus better.
Your child’s doctor may consider nonstimulant medications when stimulants haven’t worked or have caused side effects that your child finds hard to handle. Certain nonstimulant medications work by increasing levels of norepinephrine in your child’s brain. Norepinephrine is thought to help with attention and memory.
Side Effects of ADHD Medications
These side effects can include:
- trouble sleeping
- stomach upset
- weight loss
- dry mouth
The more serious side effects of these drug types are rarer. These serious side effects in children can include:
- increased blood pressure
- allergic reaction
- suicidal thoughts or actions
Can CBD Help Treat ADHD?
Yes and no. Yes, it can treat it, but no, it cannot cure it. Because this “cure” factor is nonexistent, that means the oil or CBD will eventually wear off and you’ll begin to feel those negative symptoms again.
Much like a medication (like aspirin when you have a headache), you’re going to need to use that CBD oil again if you’re experiencing horrible anxiety or need more focus. The primary role of CBD when it enters our bloodstream is to restore homeostasis—basically getting our body back into normal order. This effect is certainly promising as it relates to ADHD, as well as a variety of other syndromes and disorders.
As a matter of fact, a study shows that some people who self-medicated using CBD believe it helped in the management of impulsive and hyperactive behaviors. This has compelled researchers to suggest that CBD can help in the therapeutic aid of the hyperactive ADHD. A German research study examined the effect of CBD on 30 patients that could not respond to Ritalin or Adderall. The result was the majority of subjects experienced improvement in sleep and concentration, as well as reduced impulsive behavior. That is a huge win in the quest for ADHD relief.
In most cases, the prescriptions given to ADHD and ADD patients are stimulant medications like Adderall and Ritalin. However, these have side effects. CBD on the other hand, has shown its ability to relieve ADHD and ADD symptoms as well as the side effects of stimulant medications. For instance, stimulant drugs cause sleep problems, loss of appetite, and nervousness. CBD, on the other hand, potentially relieves all of these issues.
Those who have ADHD have a hard time of both dealing with anxiety and staying focused or concentrated on a certain task. Simply put, CBD oil can help with both of these common issues. Not only does it decrease some of those negative symptoms that those diagnosed with ADHD experience, but it also helps increase one’s ability to focus and concentrate on a specific task at hand. However, because it helps to level out your brain, you’ll soon be wishing you discovered CBD a long time ago.
The Future of CBD And ADHD
CBD oil makes it easier for your brain to “level out” and run more smoothly. That means less distraction and more focus. But if you stop taking CBD oil or the CBD oil you took wears off, your brain will revert to its original mode of operation (e.g., chemical imbalance that leads to anxiety), and the ADHD symptoms will return.
That means that once you start taking CBD oil, you may need to continue taking it indefinitely. Don’t read into that statement and assume that CBD is addictive—it’s not. But if you want to live your life without ADHD symptoms, you’ll have to keep taking CBD in one form or another. You can always choose to stop, and you’ll feel no ill effects other than a return of your ADHD problems.
That may seem like a bleak outlook, but many who suffer from ADHD already deal with taking medications of one sort or another for the rest of their lives. And most of these medications have significant side effects that make them worse than the ADHD itself.
People with ADHD are at a higher risk for also having anxiety, depression, mood swings, drug or alcohol abuse issues, interpersonal problems, school problems during childhood, as well as some long-term medical, legal, and employment problems during adolescence and adulthood.
What Are the Benefits of CBD Oil for Children?
CBD is a highly versatile supplement that has a special relationship with our endocannabinoid system.
If you’re giving CBD oil to your kid for general supplementation purposes, you can expect the following benefits:
- Improved focus
- Better memory
- Higher alertness throughout the day
- Better quality of sleep (more details)
- Boosted immune function
On a practical note, CBD is easy to use, has long shelf-life, and you can administer it to your child in many different ways.
What’s the Best Way to Use CBD With Children?
It goes without saying that your kids won’t be vaping CBD oil or dabbing CBD concentrates because first, they’re too potent; and second — the very consumption method is out of the question for children.
Most parents choose the sublingual method, which involves placing a few drops of CBD oil beneath the kid’s tongue. Once there, they need to hold it for about 30–60 seconds until the oil gets absorbed into the bloodstream, and swallow.
It may happen that your tot isn’t a fan of CBD oil’s distinct taste and will turn its head away each time you try to administer it sublingually.
If that’s your story, I recommend CBD gummies. Each gummy comes with a fixed dose of CBD — you can skip that nasty dropper part — and they are sold in many delicious flavors.
I don’t need to tell you how much children love gummies, so this form of cannabidiol is a great way to give your little one the best of both worlds.
The kicker with how to take CBD is that it may take longer to go into effect. Sublingual application under the tongue takes about 30 minutes to begin helping, while gummies can take a little over an hour. Of course, this always depends on size and metabolism of the child.
CBD Oil Dosage Guidelines for Kids
The optimal dosage for any given CBD user — including children — depends on their weight, metabolism, unique body chemistry, and desired effects.
For the pediatric population of CBD users, experts suggest starting with 0.5mg of CBD per pound and taking this dose three times a day. Starting low and slow allows you to adjust the dosage to how your child reacts to CBD without causing any side effects such as lightheadedness.
Choosing the Right CBD
Of course, I am going to tell you to do your research when selecting a product for your child. You must look for some very important points when choosing your CBD. You will want one that has been third party tested. Too many companies take a little bit of hemp oil and mix it with something else…then they label it as CBD. Make sure to check the lab test results to confirm that you are getting pure CBD.
Also, know where it comes from. You will want to know where it is grown and how it is harvested. Lastly, make sure the company stands behind their products with a money back guarantee. You can find more information on CBDPure here.
CBDPure is my CBD of choice for all the reasons listed above. They are third party tested, organically sourced out of Colorado and they offer a full money back guarantee. You can read more about them here.
There are many different treatments for ADHD. Therapies, medications, relaxation techniques and now, CBD. Every child is different and will react to each therapy in their own way. But, if it were your child, wouldn’t you want to try a treatment that had the fewest side effects before starting a new prescription?
The most important thing is that once you receive the diagnosis, do not let it define your child. Embrace their special gifts. Fall in love with their creativity. Envy their endless energy. And love their beautiful spirit. CBD can help tame some symptoms, while letting their true self shine.