CBD Oil for ADHD – What we Know so Far

12th November 2019

Many people are starting to talk about using CBD for ADHD. This article is a breakdown of the research into CBD and its uses for helping to treat the symptoms of ADHD in children and adults.

Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a complicated neurological condition that is often diagnosed in children. ADHD symptoms can be visible from about 4 years old and are caused by excessive motor activity resulting in restless and impulsive behaviour. Later in life, ADHD symptoms can develop into mood instability and often those with ADHD can experience depression or anxiety.

Scientific research has been conducted into using cannabidiol (CBD) as a treatment for the symptoms of ADHD. CBD for ADHD might seem strange but people are having good results with it apparently. We will break down that research in an easy-to-digest manner, with the aim of helping both adults with ADHD and parents looking to treat their child who has been diagnosed with ADHD.

Can CBD Oil Help With The Symptoms of ADHD?

There is currently very little scientific study that confirms that using CBD is good for the treatment for people with ADHD. Most of the research currently available focuses on cannabis in general, instead of CBD itself. The majority of the studies conducted show that while cannabis may help with impulsivity and hyperactivity, it isn’t significant enough to warrant becoming a medication.

Anecdotal evidence suggests that while CBD does not cure ADHD, it can help dramatically reduces certain symptoms:

Low frustration tolerance

CBD activates the 5HT-1A serotonin receptor in the brain, causing a reduction in frustration behaviours.


Studies have shown that both THC and CBD can be used to reduce impulsiveness.

Problems focusing

CBD slightly elevates the levels of dopamine in the body, which has been shown to increase focus levels.


Anxiety in ADHD sufferers can exacerbate the symptoms. CBD’s aide in reducing anxiety, which in turn will help with restlessness and lack of sleep.

Is CBD Safe To Consume?

CBD facts WHO

CBD has been declared by the World Health Organisation as completely safe for human consumption, with no potential for overdose or abuse. CBD is non-intoxicating, so won’t cause the user to feel ‘high’.

Multiple studies into CBD’s safety profile have declared it safe for daily use in high doses, with potentially mild damaging effects on the liver when taken in excess.

Introduction To CBD

CBD products are alternative medicine and health and wellness supplement that has recently gained lots of notoriety around the world due to its medicinal benefits. CBD is extracted from the cannabis plant and belongs to a group of compounds called cannabinoids.

People associate cannabis with its intoxicating properties, for which people consume cannabis recreationally in order to achieve a ‘high’. However, this property is caused by another cannabinoid in cannabis, called tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). CBD is non-intoxicating and completely safe to use.

What is CBD?

Is It Legal?

CBD comes from the cannabis plant, and in the UK, cannabis is illegal. What makes cannabis illegal is the intoxicating compound THC, which is tested for in drug tests.

There is a grey area surrounding the legality of some CBD products, however, CBD oil that contains no THC is perfectly legal in the UK and can be purchased online and in stores across the country.

Side Effects of CBD

Side Effects of CBD

Some side effects may be apparent for both adults and children who are looking a treatment to ADHD in CBD. The side-effects are not apparent in everyone and generally only minor, but can include: –

  • Drowsiness
  • Change in appetite
  • Sickness and Diarrhoea

CBD, like some other pharmaceutical medications, is metabolised by enzymes in the liver and intestine. Because of this, it may interact with other medications you take. Always speak to a medical professional before consuming CBD if you are already on medication.

Ways To Use Cannabidiol Oil

CBD can be consumed in many different ways, all with different associated pros and cons. There’s no one way that works best for everybody; the amount of CBD you take and the way you take it strongly depends on the individual’s personal preference and condition suffered.

Different methods have different time frames in which their effects can become apparent and how long it takes to wear off. Different methods also have different associated bioavailabilities, meaning how much of the CBD stated on the product actually enters your bloodstream.


Hemp flower that is rich in CBD can either be used in a dry herb vaporizer, or the CBD can be extracted into an e-liquid and used in an e-cigarette.

CBD vape oil is growing popularity as its a simple and effective way of taking CBD. The effects of vaping are instantaneous, although they can be quite short-lived compared to other methods (3-4 hours). Vaping has a bioavailability of between 50 – 90%


CBD that has been extracted from hemp flower and placed into a carrier oil can then be placed into capsules (similar to cod liver oil capsules) to be swallowed.

These are similar in effect to edibles. However, the protective casing stops the stomach acid from breaking down the CBD straight away so most of the CBD from the capsules are absorbed slowly through your intestines. 20% bioavailability.


Cannabinoids can be dissolved in fat. CBD oil or CBD butter can be used as a culinary ingredient for making items of food and drink. Products available are CBD coffee, CBD lollipops, CBD gummy sweets and CBD brownies.

CBD edibles can take up to 2 hours for the effects to be apparent but they can last half a day. However, the stomach acid can break down the CBD and hence the bioavailability is around 5 – 20%.

CBD Edibles


CBD can be extracted from hemp flower and placed into another medium, such as oil or alcohol. This can then be placed under the tongue for up to 10 minutes to allow the CBD to be absorbed into the bloodstream via the vessels underneath the tongue.

The effects can take 10-20 mins to be fully apparent and can last up to 6 hours. The bioavailability is 60-90%.

Dosage Guide For CBD

CBD Dosage

The general consensus on taking CBD for any ailment is to start small and gradually increase your dosage until the desired effects are observed. Starting at 5 mg for 3 days and then increasing to 10 mg for another 3 days, increasing every time by 5 mg until the desired effects are reached. Most people find that a regular dose of 20 mg per day is enough for symptom relief. If you want more details, check out our CBD oil dosage guide.

CBD Oil Benefits

Key Takeaways

The research for using CBD oil for ADHD is still in its infancy. Anecdotal evidence suggests that CBD may be better used to help control the symptoms of ADHD, as well as the side-effects of conventional pharmaceutical medication used as a treatment for ADHD.

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