The majority of teenagers diagnosed with Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) often indicate that cannabis is their drug of choice. Many report that cannabis helps them calm down and focus. However, there have been concerns on whether there is any neurological basis to this claim. There has been a debate as to the reason why cannabis is so often cited as the drug of choice among the population. According to Strohbeck-Kuehner, Skopp and Mattern (2008), evaluating the performance or cannabis users’ impairment is generally difficult due to the absence of comprehensive proof of linear dose-value link between the delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) concentration in blood and the induced impairment of THC. The cause of such absence of that kind of relationship has not been established (Strohbeck-Kuehner et al., 2008). While these issues exist, this research paper asserts that cannabis has no neurological basis in addressing ADHD amongst the victims.
Research has shown that people suffering from ADHD which is a dysfunction showing a symptomatic alteration in levels of activity could occasionally get benefits from treatment using cannabis. This is essentially because it seems to regulate the levels of activation to degrees which could be taken as optimum for normal performance. There is some evidence from studies that the use of cannabis has a positive effect on behavior, mind state and performance. The impact of cannabis in patients could be disparate from the healthy users. Well, there is still much communication needed that highlights the key inputs of cannabis to functioning abilities of ADHD patients.
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Essentially, cannabis, though illegal is the most commonly used drug in most developed nations and states. Its usage and adoption in a medical process give it some value in the healthcare system especially with ADHD patients. A good number of young adult ADHD patients smoke cannabis and there is an utmost belief that it is very useful (Latimer, 2009). Though, there are some challenges in using it and that it has produced some benefit, the impact felt with the use of cannabis cannot be said to be substantial. According to Latimer (2009), most of these users do not have a source of employment. Normally, they appear to be drifting without a clear direction and a purpose in life. Most of these young people are involved in addictive things like video games and most of their time is spent on doing unproductive work. Therefore, cannabis is a way of steeling the ADHD patients from the realities of what they are facing in life. Well, the question is how the difference between their view and the objective state of their individual lives can be described.
There is a lot of confusion based on the fact cannabis could only make them care little about what is happening in their environment. Some of them have a mellow feeling, with the effect that cannabis has on their coping, cognitive and problem solving capabilities. The main characteristics of ADHD are related to response inhibition, attention, executive functioning, impulse control and concentration. The only way to agree to the predisposition that cannabis is useful to ADHD patients is to analyze its impact on such abilities impaired by this condition. Latimer (2009) has not yet seen any positive impact made by cannabis on ADHD especially with such abilities as listed above.
There is a belief that stopping the use of cannabis for ADHD patients can make them feel better than if they continued using it. The cannabis users are deemed to function and feel good on making such kind of a transition from cannabis use. According to Latimer (2009), studies on the neuropsychological effects that come through the use of cannabis has overly produced negative reports on attention and memory functions as well as verbal learning. This is even evident with moderate users. The heavy cannabis users have shown greater effects and have persisted for longer period of time after the use of cannabis was discontinued. There is enough evidence to make us believe from both human and animal studies that the effects of cannabis are greater on these young adolescents with young developing minds than in the case with adults. Clinging onto cannabis for ADHD treatment is a mere fantasy to the users. It only works for a short term benefit and may not necessarily produce any significant long-term help to the user.
Studies on brain imaging have presented proofs that the enormous use of cannabis is linked with structural abnormalities of the brain. This includes small bits of hippocampus and amygdala in both animals and humans. The early use of cannabis before the age of 17 years have been found with smaller volumes of the whole brain, high quantity of white matter and lower amount of cortical grey matter (Latimer, 2009). A thorough literature review on the subject has gathered conclusions that, impaired memory continues past the time of acute intoxication with the use of cannabis. Deficits become large with the regularity, time, age and dosage of the start of cannabis use (Latimer, 2009). These deficits have been found to last for long weeks following cannabis discontinuation although whether they are permanent has not yet been established. Therefore, cannabis use only worsens the patient’s condition. For the patient to survive in that remedial state there must be a continuous use of the drug which has very harmful consequences to them.
There has been a lot of growing interest in the relationship that cannabis has with the treatment of ADHD. The debate is still on although many people including adults and the young are in agreement with the idea that cannabis deals with ADHD symptoms (Ellison, 2009). The claim is that cannabis has helped them in slowing down the quickly firing thoughts that plagueADHD patients and hinder them from staying focused. Despite all these claims, it is scientifically proved and there is no neurological evidence to approve the use of cannabis for ADHD patients. It is very important first to know the main causes of ADHD as either a result of the following factors or a combination of a number of them: brain injuries, food additives, environmental factors, genetics and sugar. The lack of understanding of the main cause of ADHD has facilitated the absence of understanding of its impact and then has translated to the lack of enough knowledge on how to treat it (Grotenhermen and Russo, 2002; Glick, 2001). There have been quite a number of treatments employed like Metadate ER, Dextrostat and Adderall XR among others.
Now, the problem associated with cannabis reaches far and wide. There is empirical evidence that links cannabis users to high susceptibility of trying out harder drugs like heroin and cocaine. Even though this could be a factor related to social issues rather than chemical factors, there is no evidence that proves it to be a risk worth to take. The opinion that cannabis cannot be addictive is just a myth. There is categorical proof that cannabis is addictive. Studies have realized withdrawal symptoms with the discontinuation of cannabis use. Cannabis cannot be a safe treatment for ADHD. It is only considered in the common imagination to be less detrimental than alcohol or cigarettes. Ideally, it is a false stand point. Cannabis is highly toxic regardless of the means of usage; either through inhaling or smoking. Cannabis has many poisonous substances that can be dangerous to the users.
There is no sound evidence that connects cannabis to effective medicinal value. Oppositely, cannabis has been found to cause short-term loss of memory and inattention (Glick, 2001). These are the same symptoms that are evident with ADHD patients. Therefore, it is funny how the same causative agent of the same symptoms could be used as a treatment for ADHD. Regardless of a contradictory effect taking place and attention and memory are temporary improved, the lasting effects are proven. Cannabis is not effective in treating ADHD since it burns the brain out (Ellison, 2009). The drug only suppresses the symptoms of ADHD and has no significant medical help to the users. Cannabis is categorized as a hallucinogenic depressant. Based on the person, cannabis can cause auditory and visual hallucinations and probably those of touch, smell and taste. Cannabis users sense the things that merely do not exist or distort the things that are actually there (Ellison, 2009). The depressant issue can be a huge issue particularly for ADHD patients.
Depression and anxiety usually exist together with attention deficit disorder, regardless of whether they are as a result of brain chemical changes or through the pressure of dealing with disorder and the response of it by other people (Glick, 2001). Cannabis has been found to cause depression and anxiety over a long time period together with disturbances. It can also expose young people to very dangerous risks linked with drunkenness and immorality. In fact, cannabis has much more negative impact than the alleged benefit by ADHD patients. Cannabis has far reaching consequences like effectively masking other conditions that could exist together with ADHD. Disabilities of learning, bipolar disorder, conduct disorders, oppositional disorder and Tourette’s syndrome are some of these conditions. The masking of such conditions can make it hard to diagnose them differently and recommend treatment.
Looking at the potential issues posed by cannabis and comparing them with those of ADHD, the choice of cannabis as a remedy for ADHD does not count. Cannabis is largely used by ADHD patients. However, this is not a proof to guarantee its success in the treatment of the condition. The symptoms of ADHD cannot be medicated through the use of cannabis drug. Many health practitioners do no recommend the use of cannabis for ADHD patients (Grotenhermen and Russo, 2002). It is not worth the risk. Many people have realized a lot of losses compared to the gains that they consider to have been brought about through the use of cannabis. There is a lot to be desired in the usage of cannabis as a treatment of ADHD. If it were to actually treat ADHD, then the patients would not be addicted to it as the case has been realized with most of them.
After looking at the literature from different scholars and medical practitioners, the use of cannabis in ADHD treatment is essentially a misconception. There is no positive effect realized with ADHD patients with the use of ADHD. Patients who have been diagnosed with ADHD have regularly been found smoking cannabis. They have found the drug self medicating as it is alleged to reduce hyperactivity and to some level could help with the symptoms of anxiety as clinically observed. The most important fact to note is that cannabis does not enhance concentration and focus based on scientific literature. Occasional use of cannabis drug only impairs the memory of the user and tasks of finding words (Grotenhermen and Russo, 2002). It worsens the functioning of the brain. It is therefore prudent to consider cannabis use as a health risk.
There are enough evidences that show the dangers associated with cannabis use as treatment for ADHD. It would thus be unsuitable to prescribe cannabis for use by the ADHD patients. It is a very important and crucial engagement to carry out a managed, double-blind, panacea well managed trial of cannabis for the treatment of ADHD, to address this matter thoroughly. Such kind of research would actually be very feasible and less difficult to recruit for. There would no be difficulties sourcing for participants who are willing for such kind of a trial. It is only after these results are found that we would incline to a cannabis treatment for ADHD. Thus, there is no enough evidence to validate the use of cannabis as an appropriate and efficacious treatment of ADHD.
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