“I’d have no hesitation giving a youngster with ADHD a trial of oral marijuana. For some kids, it appears to be more effective than traditional treatments. And marijuana
certainly has fewer potential dangers than Ritalin.”
– Lester Grinspoon, Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry, Harvard University (USA, 2013)
Many patients experienced fantastic benefits from the legal narcotic stimulant medications widely prescribed for ADHD, however myself and many other long-term users of the pharmaceutical medications have found them to have unacceptable, potentially
life-wrecking side-effects (such as anxiety, depression, tics, ulcers, seizures, hallucinations, psychoses and heart attacks), as well as high potential for abuse, addiction and negative life outcomes such as suicide.
I found that the efficacy
of the tablets wore off after an couple of hours so I would have to take more in order to concentrate again or become exhausted and unable to focus at all. The problem with the pharmaceuticals is that the side-effects are cumulative and don't wear off anywhere
near as quickly as the main effect, so by the end of a day after my prescribed intake I was nervous, jittery and completely dysfunctional.
"Ritalin is an amphetamine - we have all of these youngsters
running around on speed."
– Keith Stroup, spokesman for the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (USA, 2004).
The side effects of the stimulant medicines cause many patients to also be prescribed antidepressants, which can bring their own additional unwanted side-effects. Finding themselves torn between being able to function in society on the prescribed medications
or going unmedicated and suffering the consequences in a competitive world, many ADHD patients feel trapped in a viscous cycle.
This situation causes many patients to abandon the pharmaceutical medications in favour of an unmedicated state, while others
choose self-medication using cannabis. Some patients also report using cannabis in combination with the pharmaceuticals as they say it enhances the effects of the other drugs, so less of them is needed and therefore less side-effects are experienced.
"Nobody can deny that the safety profile of cannabis is far more impressive than that of stimulants, which have many potential problematic side effects. The interplay of neurotransmitters in the brain is complex. The number
of patients who report to me that the use of cannabis has allowed increased focus in school and on job related milestones consider it an unqualified blessing. It has helped plenty of folks – by their own report – to get job promotions and university
– Estelle Goldstein, MD and Psychiatrist (USA, 2013)
You can access a very easy to read summary of this issue by Psychiatrist Dr. Estelle Goldstein.
U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) researchers analyzed data from 49 clinical studies conducted by makers of the drugs Ritalin, Focalin XR, Adderall XR, Daytrana patch,
Concerta, Strattera and Metadate CD and found that they can cause psychosis and mania in some patients, including some with no obvious risk factors. In some cases, children hallucinated that worms, bugs or snakes were crawling on them, which Reuters reported
as 'Drugs for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder can cause children to have hallucinations even when taken as directed'.
"[After analysis of clinical trials of many commonly
prescribed ADHD medications it is evident that] patients and physicians should be aware of the possibility that psychiatric symptoms consistent with psychosis or mania might arise in the course of treatment."
– Dr. Andrew Mosholder and colleagues in the journal Pediatrics (USA, 2009).