The Best Cannabis Strains for ADD/ADHD
Published on 7/14/20
Updated: Mar 14, 2022
Let's face it - sometimes we can all use a little help focusing. Whether or not you've been to a doctor and were diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), entire industries have sprung up to help us extend our attention spans. After all, somebody needs to service the millions of people being diagnosed with ADHD and ADD every year, especially when those patients tend to be young. The cannabis industry is no exception to this. As research continues to delve deeper into medical cannabis, a growing number of people are turning to weed for ADD and other attention issues.
We here at Where's Weed wanted to shine a light on the facts, data, and science when it comes to cannabis and ADHD/ADD. In this article, we're going to deep-dive into what exactly ADD and ADHD are, what the symptoms and common treatments for them are, and how cannabis can be used as part of an active push for more nature, less addictive and artificial forms of medicine for those dealing with ADD/ADHD.
So with that in mind, let's get right into breaking down what exactly ADD and ADHD are and how cannabis products can ne a cornerstone of effective and natural treatment options!
So before we deep-dive into the ways that cannabis might play a role in ADD and ADHD treatment, we think it's smart to provide a brief intro to what exactly both conditions are, how they effect those dealing with them, and what current treatment options look like.
ADD and ADHD are both medical diagnoses given to people who have a hard time focusing or paying attention to specific tasks. The former refers to people who struggle with a frequently wandering mind, while the latter covers people whose attention issues manifest physically in the form of hyperactivity. Both diagnoses are generally associated with children and young people, but as technology, jobs, media, and more pull our attention in a million directions at once, adults of all age ranges are also struggling to stay focused.
It's currently estimated that about 4.5 percent of American adults deal with some type of ADD/ADHD symptoms. Other researchers have that number as high as 8 percent. Regardless of exactly what the number is, it's clear that people are dealing with the symptoms of both illnesses.
It's important to stress that the symptoms and consequences for those suffering with ADD/ADHD can be far from mild. If left untreated and undiagnosed, common symptoms of ADD/ADHD are as follows:
- Disorganization and problems prioritizing
- Poor time management skills
- Problems focusing on a task
- Trouble multitasking
- Excessive activity or restlessness
- Poor planning
- Low frustration tolerance
- Frequent mood swings
- Problems following through and completing tasks
- Hot temper
- Trouble coping with stress
- Being easily distracted
- Difficulty following directions
- Difficulty staying on task
- Losing personal items such as keys or books
- Not paying attention to details
- Problems staying organized
- Short attention span
Common Treatments for ADHD/ADD
While it's true that researchers and the overall science community has a half-decent understanding of how ADHD/ADD works and how to treat it, progress in the right direction is constant. Currently, while it's true that we still treat many forms of ADHD and ADD with stimulants, products like methylphenidate or amphetamine, researchers are constantly looking for better, more effective ways to treat illnesses like ADHD/ADD. That's where cannabis comes in.
With so many people dealing with ADHD/ADD diagnoses and the standard treatment options being so limited, it's not uncommon for patients to try to throw some stuff at the wall and see what sticks. That's why so many have self-treated their ADHD/ADD symptoms with cannabis products, often swearing by how effective they are at helping them sit still, stay on task, and keep their minds from wondering off.
"Many adolescents and adults with ADHD are convinced that cannabis does help them and has fewer side effects [than ADHD medications]," says Jack McCue, MD, FACP, an author, physician, and emeritus professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco. "It may be that they, not their doctors, are correct."
But is there any actual scientific basis here? What about weed products helps people reduce their symptoms, stay more focused and on-task exactly? Well, let's dig into what the research has to say about all that!
Does Weed Help You Focus?
One of the best things about cannabis is how versatile the plant is. And while people typically turn to pharmaceuticals like Adderall to treat attention deficit, cannabis has shown to help increase focus as well. Although clinical research into the topic has been significantly hindered outdated and somewhat racist federal prohibition, years of anecdotal evidence have spawned a new nickname for certain strains of hyperfocus bud - green Adderall.
So if you've had a hard time staying on topic and you're wondering how to focus with ADHD or spend more time wondering "how can I focus with ADD?" than actually doing your work, it might be time to try weed. When it comes to buying cannabis, there are four general classifications: indica, sativa, hybrid, and CBD. When it comes to the question of Sativa or Indica for ADHD or ADD, each category of bud comes with unique benefits.
Just like traditional attention-deficit drugs use amphetamines to help people focus, sativas have been known to keep the mind active and at attention. On the other end of the spectrum, indicas tend to have a relaxing body effect that can help some people slow down and focus on the task at hand. And in the middle, hybrid strains contain characteristics from both sides of the spectrum, often resulting in the most effective medical marijuana experience.
5 of the Best Strains to Focus
A strictly Sativa crossbreed of Tangie and Sour Diesel, Sour Tangie is a mentally-stimulating strain that is great for focus. Sour Diesel is known for its popularity in busy East Coast cities like New York precisely because it is a perfect strain to smoke all day without going into a stoned stupor. Combining those effects with the bright, citrus-heavy terpenes in Tangie, Sour Tangie is one of the best strains for studying.
A legacy Sativa strain named after one of California's most legendary pot pioneers, Jack is one of the best strains for ADD. Jack Herer is a combination of Haze, Skunk, and Northern Lights, and is well-regarded as one of the industry's bedrock Sativa strains. The earthy bud has a smell and taste of spicy pine and is perfect for people looking for a strain that feels like an all-natural blend of Adderall and weed.
If a smoothie is great brain food, weed that smells like a smoothie must be great brain bud, right? Strawberry Banana is a relatively new hybrid strain, but it packs a serious punch that will keep experienced smokers engaged for hours. So whether you're sitting down to write an essay or settling in for a three-hour movie, Strawnana is a delightful strain for any time of the day.
While Sativas tend to go to your head, Indicas like Do-Si-Dos tend to relax and calm the body. So if you're struggling with ADHD and have trouble staying still, the best weed to focus on is likely a strong Indica. And if you're looking for couchlock without the sleepy side effects, Do-Si-Dos is a perfect option.
OG Kush might be the most popular Indica strain of all time, and the potent pot is perfect for holding your attention. OG strains probably aren't the best for novices, but if you want a strain that will glue you to your seat and keep your focus on even the most monotonous tasks, it's time to fire up the Kush.
CBD For Focus
CBD won't get you high, but if full-strength indicas, sativas, and hybrids are too strong to help your focus, cannabidiol is a great option. Whether it's smoking CBD flower or finding the best CBD oil for focus, cannabidiol has an amazing ability to calm the body and mind without the sometimes overwhelming feelings of THC intoxication. If you want to improve your focus without getting stoned, look for strains like Ringo's Gift, Harlequin, and Charlotte's Web. And if smoking and vaping aren't your thing, most CBD strains are also made into tinctures, offering some of the best CBD oil for ADHD and other attention issues without the potential to agitate your lungs.
The Bottom Line
The process of figuring out exactly what strain you need and how much to take to stay focused can be a long, drawn-out process of trial and error. That's why it's so important to always consult with your PCP or your licensed, certified cannabis doctor when it comes to fugiring out what products are right for you. While it's unlikely that cannabis alone will be able to help you focus and not deal with symptoms of ADHD/ADD, the research shows that this fantastic, versatile plant can clearly have a role!
Have you used cannabis to combat problems with focus? What type of strains have been the most helpful? Give us a shout in the comments and let us know what works best for you!