Friday, February 26, 2010

Marijuana For ADD/ADHD Adults?

A client of mine who is classically ADHD, told me that he stopped his stimulants for ADHD because they made him more anxious and moody. Was this because the dose was too high, or because some ADDers don’t respond positively to stimulants? I don’t know the answer, but he turned to a regular use of pot which he claimed made him more alert and focused, and did not make him anxious. This is surprising, since usually one thinks of pot as making one less focused. He did say, however, that if he took pot in an unstructured situation and was not goal oriented, he was unfocused. But when there was a structure, routine and a passion for his work, pot enhanced his performance. Is this phenomenon possible?

Since marijuana has been legalized for medical use in several states, it has been tried by professionals for emotional and behavioral disorders, and as a substitute for stimulant use in ADHD. Some doctors report fewer side effects from pot and less anxiety. With stimulants, ADHD adults who are high strung, can become more anxious. According to some reports, pot, like the stimulants can have a paradoxical effect in ADDers, leading to heightened alertness and enhanced focusing. However, as we know, with pot, there are concerns about quality control of the drug in terms of its purity and potency. Moreover, there are many systematic studies documenting adverse effects of pot on the brain, particularly in the area of memory.
Whatever happened to cognitive-behavior therapy or coaching for ADDers as the initial intervention, before entering the world of stimulants and marijuana?

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