"I would recommend a strain which has a ratio of CBD to THC of about 1 or slightly above 1 [for ADHD]. Because it comes from the flower, it will contain terpenoids. These three constituents of grass will act in
what I call an ensemble effect to give you the relief you seek."
– Lester Grinspoon, Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry, Harvard University (USA, 2014)
Many people believe that cannabis cannot possibly
be a medicine for ADHD however they do not have all the information. There is a common misconception that all cannabis provides a heavy "stoned" feeling, which is not true. This myth is due at least in part to the fact that the cannabis flowers available in
most countries are often indica strains designed to get you stoned and locked to the couch.
The prevalence of these strains is also due in part to the fact that they are quicker to grow and shorter plants, and are therefore less risky and more
profitable for illegal growers. These strains contain high amounts of sedatory terpenes such as Myrcene that can make it more difficult for ADHD sufferers to focus. Indica and indica-dominant strains are therefore not ideal for use in ADHD.
To provide focus in ADHD anecdotal evidence suggests ideally using sativa and sativa-dominant strains high in the primary cannabinoid Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), but low in sedatory terpenes so the THC is able to do its work as a stimulant effectively.
Just as ADHD is a spectrum from hyperactive to combined to inattentive, so too the cannabis plant contains a spectrum of medicines in various concentrations depending on each plant's particular genetic background. Anecdote suggests that while a broad
spectrum of cannabinoids and terpenes may provide efficacy for all ADHD sub-types, fine tuning prescriptions tailored to each individual patient's position on the ADHD spectrum will be of most benefit to patients.
Also of particular interest for
ADHD are cannabis strains which are high in the cannabinoid Cannabidiol (CBD), usually from Ruderalis-derived plants with little or no THC, which anecdote suggests may be useful for controlling hyperactivity and situational anxiety that would otherwise inhibit
concentration. Among other cannabinoids, Cannabigerol (CBG) is also of interest as it inhibits GABA in a similar fashion to THC, so should also hold promise for ADHD.
Strains that are high in CBD, CBG and other important cannabinoids can be used separately
or in combination with strains that are high in THC in order to provide the unique neurochemical balance required so that each individual ADHD patient can concentrate.
Various aromatic terpenes found in different strains of cannabis are also of
significant interest due to their ability to modulate the effects of the cannabinoids, such as Pinene (which enhances memory abilities) and Lemonene (which is an antidepressant).
I personally use high-THC sativa strains containing Pinene for
focus and high CBD strains for calmness, ether separately or together. Somewhere in between them is perfect focus. I almost never use an indica strain except to encourage sleep.
Anecdote suggests that many other ADHD patients are the same, though
the ratio of THC to CBD needed for each ADHD sub-type and possibly each individual to be able to concentrate appears to be different.
"I greatly support the use of cannabis extracts for ADHD. I think high-CBD strains with small levels
of THC would benefit most people optimally, but some people may need even more THC."
– Justin Kander, webmaster of PhoenixTears.ca and author of the Comprehensive Report on the Cannabis Extract Movement which
examines the mounting evidence in support of cannabis extracts as medicine. He presented his findings at the 2013 International Drug Policy Reform Conference. (USA, 2015)