Updated Research on CBD and the Pathways of ADD and ADHD

CBD and ADHD research

 

We wrapped up our review on CBD and Nicotine addiction.

 

As you'll see below, this is incredibly relevant for ADD and ADHD.

 

There's a specific pathway that both swirl around and there may be ways to address it directly.

 

We'll also look at the current course of treatment and their effects on brain health long term.

 

It's fascinating that our best answer for ADD and ADHD is essentially methamphetamines.

 

A watered-down version of a highly addictive and Schedule 1 drug.

 

We'll get into that research as well.

 

Finally, what about CBD and ADD and ADHD? 

 

compare cbd isolate options 

 

These are the areas we'll cover: 

  • Updated research on ADHD and ADD
  • The brain and ADHD and ADD
  • Default Mode and ADHD
  • Neurotransmitters and ADHD and ADD
  • Genetics of ADD and ADHD
  • Medications currently used for ADD and ADHD
  • Research on CBD and ADD and ADHD
  • How much CBD for ADD and ADHD
  • What's the best CBD for ADD and ADHD

 

Let's get started.  There's a few decades of common practice upend.

Updated research on the ADHD and ADD landscape 

This is going to get interesting.

 

First, a landscape of what is thought to occur and then….new research.

 

There are known risk factors for ADD and ADHD with both genetic factors and environmental.

 

We'll look at the genetics later but as for the environment, clear triggers become apparent such as: 

  • Exposure to environmental toxins like lead
  • Premature birth
  • Drug Use, Smoking, or drinking during pregnancy

 

What do all these have in common?  Disturbances during brain development.

 

Infection and trauma may also play in but again, this goes to brain development and or hyperactive immune response.  

 

As we've seen in many studies, and the immune system primed to overreact can literally attack brain areas key to ADHD and ADD.

 

CBD and bipolar is an interesting example since there's a high prevalence of co-morbidity or shared basis between the two.

 

ADHD has a high prevalence of comorbidity with bipolar disorder. Rates of ADHD comorbidity in bipolar disorder have been estimated between 9.5% and 21.2%, and rates of comorbid bipolar disorder in ADHD at 5.1% and 47.1% 

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5567978/

 

You can partially think of ADHD as one-half of the bipole - the mania side in terms of what is happening behaviorally.

 

Don't discount the immune system.  This is the new Holy Grail for all things mental health including ADD and ADHD.

 

It's the key to both inflammation (which we'll cover below) and the structural changes that we'll look at below in the brain.

 

You can't talk about the immune system without bringing up the gut and our microbiome.  

 

We'll cover that as well.

 

These point to three important factors to focus on: 

  • Brain changes 
  • Inflammatory pathways including gut
  • Neurotransmitter imbalances

 

We have our marching orders.  Let's get into it!

The brain and ADHD and ADD 

We looked at how developmental exposure to damage in the brain.

 

Where exactly?

 

What's going on with ADD and ADHD?

 

There are three places to focus: 

  • The prefrontal cortex - amygdala circuit
  • The hippocampus
  • The grey matter information highways

 

Interestingly, these are all targets for toxins, hyperactive immune response, and inflammation.

 

An introduction is in order!

 

The prefrontal cortex is our rational brain.  The newest addition to the party evolutionarily speaking.

 

It's what makes us human.  All our planning, thinking, strategizing - all the things difficult with ADD and ADHD - occurs here.

 

In this role as the "adult" of the brain, the prefrontal cortex is tasked with tamping down impulses from other, more primitive parts of the brain.

 

These could come from the amygdala which is the seat of our emotional response (see CBD and mechanisms of anxiety) or the striatum which partially drives our most basic impulses (sex, food, water, etc).

 

The latter is the kingdom of dopamine and figures high into addiction and certain mental health issues (see CBD and schizophrenia or CBD and bipolar).

 

The prefrontal cortex is the last region to fully develop (ends around age 25) which explains all the impulse controls and behavior for teenagers when it's essentially off-line for remodeling.

 

See can CBD help with teen anxiety to look at the research on this.

 

As for ADHD: 

Studies have found that ADHD is associated with weaker function and structure of prefrontal cortex (PFC) circuits, especially in the right hemisphere. The prefrontal association cortex plays a crucial role in regulating attention, behavior, and emotion, with the right hemisphere specialized for behavioral inhibition. 

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2894421/#:~:text=Studies%20have%20found%20that%20ADHD,hemisphere%20specialized%20for%20behavioral%20inhibition.

 

The guards have stepped away.

 

Many things can damage the prefrontal cortex including all the risk factors for ADD and ADHD.

 

In fact, lithium big trick is to promote rebuilding here.

 

We'll explain below how to reverse this damage without the side effects.

 

Then, there's the hippocampus and ADD or ADHD.

 

This is the seat of memories and mood control.  Interestingly, it also controls the autonomic nervous system.

 

Put a note next to that for acetylcholine which is likely the key to ADHD in the new research.

 

The hippocampus is especially vulnerable to toxins, inflammation, and chemicals since it's so malleable (after all - it's changing all the time with new memories).

 

Researchers found the following: 

Another interesting finding was that the amygdala and hippocampus are smaller in the brains of people with ADHD. 

https://www.verywellmind.com/the-adhd-brain-4129396

 

Interestingly, children may have oversized hippocampus but it's not known if this is a compensation for impaired pathways or if eventual damage reduces over time.

 

Finally, the connective tracts that allow these different areas to communicate.  This is key to ADHD as well.

 

As researchers found: 

Several diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) studies in attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) have shown a delay in brain white matter (WM) development.  

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5842546/#:~:text=Several%20diffusion%20tensor%20imaging%20(DTI,proven%20to%20progress%20into%20adulthood.

 

These communication tracks are also heavily affected by toxins, hyperactive immune response, and other various insults.

 

So basically, we have reduced brain areas and communication between the very new (prefrontal cortex) and very old (amygdala/striatum) areas of the brain along key communication tracks (white matter).

 

Yes, this is a simplification but it speaks to the strongest indicators in research now.

 

Before we take a step down to the neurotransmitters, we have to look system-wide at how the brain areas communicate.

 

Welcome to the Default Mode!

The Default Mode and ADHD

We'll try to keep from getting too deep in the weed but this newer insight is important.

 

There are at least two basic "settings" for brain activity that show up in scans.

  • Default mode
  • Task-oriented mode

 

Once you get a description of these two, the relevance becomes very important to ADHD.

 

Default mode is the state you're in while daydreaming.  Reflecting on the past...thinking about the future.

 

Here's the key for ADHD:

Recent evidence suggests that attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is associated with a range of brain functional connectivity abnormalities, with one of the most prominent being reduced inhibition of the default mode network (DMN) while performing a cognitive task.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5167011/

 

This makes perfect sense.  People with ADHD may not be able to access the setting required to focus on a task (or thought, etc).  

 

We'll look at CBD's effect on this needed transition below.

 

Also, see psilocybin which has a pronounced effect on mode switching.

 

Let's drill down further into the neurotransmitters where we can really have an effect.

Neurotransmitters and ADHD and ADD (the turn to acetylcholine) 

This area is sorely lacking a revamp.

 

The story goes that ADHD is the result of too much dopamine and norepinephrine (essentially adrenalin).

 

The latter is driven by dopamine so we can lump them both together.

 

We went in-depth for dopamine (CBD and dopamine) due to its relationship with addiction.

 

It's the main currency of the "reward" circuit which drives us to focus and act on things that improve our survival.

 

Its teeth were broken on food, water, and sex but humans are complicated.

 

This can now be applied to passing a test, working hard, or even cocaine.

 

In fact, addictive drug's main side hustle is to juice up dopamine.  See CBD and addiction.

 

Rather than pleasure, it's best to think of dopamine as the "do that again" neurotransmitter.

 

So..this was a natural fit for ADHD since it drives focus and is tied impulse and mania (bipolar connection).

 

More importantly in hindsight, pharmaceutical companies could design drugs that would affect this pathway.

 

Methylphenidate (a popular ADHD medication) follows the same worn path of using an amphetamine to stimulate dopamine.

 

As we said, all addictive drugs will boost dopamine (temporarily till the brain builds tolerance).

 

In fact, Ritalin, Concerta, and all the amphetamine drugs will build tolerance for this reason.

 

So in fact, they will reduce the tonic level of dopamine that the body naturally produces as a result of the medication long term.

 

See CBD and tolerance to really understand this.

 

Let's shift gears if we want to really understand the neurotransmitters.

 

First, understand that dopamine is unique in that it only rewards novelty!

 

There was an amazing study where they gave mice food every day at 12 pm and recorded the dopamine spikes.

 

Indeed, for the first few days, there was an expected dopamine hit with the food.

 

After a while, the mice kept keeping their food but the dopamine went away!

 

The sustained focus belongs somewhere else.

 

Acetylcholine!!

 

This is the secret weapon for ADHD but there's just one catch.

 

Big pharma can't make good drugs that affect it.

 

In fact, the only drug we know that really drives acetylcholine activity is nicotine (hint hint) and we can't readily give nicotine to children (although amphetamine somehow makes the cut).

 

Caffeine also spurs acetylcholine and that may be why you can't function in the morning till you have yours

 

We did a whole review on acetylcholine and mental health because it's the new superstar in research along many lines.

 

Let's look at some of the clues for ADHD and ADD. 

  • Genes directly tied to acetylcholine
  • Acetylcholine and dopamine's relationship
  • Acetylcholine function of "sustained" focus (sound important??)
  • Where acetylcholine operates (hint hint - prefrontal cortex)
  • Acetylcholines second gig in the parasympathetic nervous system
  • Nicotine and ADHD
  • ADHD medications and acetylcholine

 

Let's look at these to understand why acetylcholine might the neurotransmitter of "flow" or "the zone".  The opposite of ADHD.

 

First, the genes.

 

Studies are starting to underpin the link with acetylcholine: 

Randy Blakely, Ph.D., and colleagues report that a variation in the choline transporter gene is associated with the “combined” type, characterized by both inattention and hyperactivity/impulsivity. 

https://www.mc.vanderbilt.edu/reporter/index.html?ID=7947

 

This is ADHD as opposed to ADD.

 

Interestingly, this gene CHRNA7 drives brain plasticity by controlling glutamate.

 

Remember that glutamate is the gas pedal and this would speak to why certain brain areas are smaller.  They're not getting the gas because acetylcholine is not apply pressure to the pedal!

 

What about the whole dopamine connection and focus?

Acetylcholine and dopamine's relationship 

Original studies looked at how dopamine is impaired with ADHD.  

 

Interestingly, serotonin drives dopamine but there's an interesting connection with acetylcholine.

 

This is going to be technical but we'll decipher the Klingon after: 

Normal basal and phasic activity of these DA neuronal systems appear to be critically dependent upon the only known cholinergic projections to DA cells in the midbrain that arise from several acetylcholine (ACh)‐rich nuclei within the pons region of the hindbrain, particularly the laterodorsal (LDT) and pedunculopontine (PPT) tegmental nuclei. 

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/j.1755-5949.2010.00142.x

 

Okay...the "sea" level of dopamine in the brain (basal) and the waves that are occasionally needed to drive focus (phasic) are driven by...acetylcholine!

 

The net-net is this...there's a dynamic and careful balance between dopamine and acetylcholine.

 

Dopamine reduction could just be a reflection of acetylcholine imbalance.

 

More importantly, look at what acetylcholine does in the brain.

Acetylcholine function of "sustained" focus (sound important??) 

Remember that dopamine is the "do that again" neurotransmitter.  It's built for survival. Our survival.

 

Interestingly, it's more tied in with salience.

 

Salience means, of all the things in your mind, what's important.

 

What acetylcholine?

 

ACh has an important role in the enhancement of alertness when we wake up,[10] in sustaining attention [11] and in learning and memory.[12] 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acetylcholine

 

"Sustaining attention".  Goodness...that's at the heart of ADHD.

 

Dopamine focuses on novelty as we saw above.

Where acetylcholine operates (hint hint - prefrontal cortex)


We saw above in the brain areas affected that the prefrontal cortex is impaired with ADHD.  

 

The acetylcholine is a power player in this brain area not only for operation but for remodeling and building.

 

If need a better heading:

 

Forebrain Acetylcholine Regulates Adult Hippocampal Neurogenesis and Learning 

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15718053/#:~:text=Forebrain%20acetylcholine%20regulates%20adult%20hippocampal%20neurogenesis%20and%20learning.,-Mohapel%20P(1&text=Hippocampus%2Dmediated%20learning%20enhances%20neurogenesis,be%20involved%20in%20memory%20formation.

 

There's the hippocampus that's so important the but forebrain is the domain of acetylcholine.

 

Acetylcholine is excitatory in these areas.  How do we contrast this with excitability of behavior (hyperactivity or shifting in thought)?

 


Acetylcholine's second gig in the parasympathetic nervous system

 

This may be the coolest part of acetylcholine.

 

It is THE currency of the parasympathetic nervous system.

 

This is the "rest and digest" part of our background system that governs everything from breathing and heart rate to the wave-like motion in our digestive tract.

 

To understand what this feels like, take the opposite...adrenaline.  The "fight or flight" or sympathetic nervous system.

 

That's more akin to ADHD.

 

This seems counterintuitive at first….excitatory in the thinking area of the brain (prefrontal cortex) but calming the in the most ancient part of the brain (autonomic nervous system).

 

Until you really think about it.

 

In order to focus and take in information...real mental gymnastics, you have to turn off fight or flight.

 

When a tiger jumps out of a bush, there's no time to think.  You think...you're dead.

 

That's how the system is built.  In order to study math or analyze a paragraph, that system has to take a back seat and acetylcholine is the main messenger of the "flow" system.

 

Very cool!

 

If you're running low on acetylcholine, you'll never get the prefrontal cortex to turn on accurately.

 

See!

 

Finally, the big clue.

Nicotine and ADHD 

Nicotine is the only good driver of acetylcholine pathways that we have.  

 

That's the issue...there aren't good meds that drive acetylcholine so they went to dopamine and other pathways.

 

As we covered in our CBD and nicotine addiction, smoking may just be self-medicating for acetylcholine and the mental health issues tied to (schizophrenia, ADHD, etc).

 

For example: 

Teenagers and adults with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are more likely to smoke cigarettes and become nicotine-dependent than their peers who do not have ADHD 

https://www.verywellmind.com/adhd-and-smoking-20773

 

Not only does smoking improve attention (duh...you now know why) but it can create a sense of calm (that parasympathetic nervous system).

 

Some people will smoke in the middle of the night to back to sleep!  That's very odd for a stimulant until you understand that acetylcholine is key to the rest and digest.

 

Don't take it from us...here's Harvard medical's take: 

Researchers are testing nicotine and related compounds as treatments for Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and other conditions. 

https://www.health.harvard.edu/newsletter_article/Nicotine_It_may_have_a_good_side

 

Finally, what about the meds used for ADHD?

ADHD medications and acetylcholine 

We touched on how the main meds are essentially discount amphetamine.

 

If we need a smoking gun: 

Methylphenidate dose-dependently increases ACh levels in the prefrontal cortex 

https://www.nature.com/articles/4001763

 

Yet, the major websites still recycle the same dopamine stuff which is decades old.

 

Of course, amphetamines will increase dopamine (temporarily)...that's why they're addictive!

 

shop and compare isolate cbd online

 

One final note on acetylcholine….there are ways to increase it naturally: 

  • Cold exposure will boost acetylcholine
  • Mindful meditation, Yoga, Tai Chi (the breathing aspect is key)
  • Deep breathing (any stimulation of the vagus nerve where acetylcholine is released really)
  • Eggs and peanuts (since organ meat isn't flying off the shelf)
  • CDP Choline supplements (buy here)

 

More detail is here: 

https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/a-possible-brain-food-that-youve-probably-never-heard-of

 

We rest our case.

 

Let's turn our attention to inflammation and our immune system.

Inflammation and ADD or ADHD


We've covered in detail how increased inflammation or the inability to repair this damage are tied to a host of mental health issues including bipolar which shares a strong association with ADHD.

 

Let's dig deeper.

 

We'll introduce you first to cytokines...our little inflammatory agents.

 

Leave it to our European counterparts to really do the research on this: 

Total symptom ratings were associated with increases of the interleukins IL-16 and IL-13, where relations of IL-16 (along with decreased S100B) with hyperactivity, and IL-13 with inattention were notable.  

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20534153/

 

IL16 and IL13 are inflammatory markers.

 

There are even associations between genes for cytokine production (immune system) and ADHD.

 

Maybe more interesting is the fact that ADHD medications reverse this inflammatory trend.

 

The above link points to a range of different studies.  Check out CBD and neuroinflammation.

 

Remember how premature birth and infection during pregnancy were risk factors? 

Among the risk factors for ADHD, preterm birth and perinatal infections are of significant relevance (15, 16). It is worth noticing that these conditions are associated with neuroinflammation marked by microglia activation. 

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5684106/

 

Think brain or nervous system inflammation.

 

That's one side of the coin...the damage side.  What about the repair side?

Neurogenesis and ADD or ADHD 

This may be the most important section of this entire review.

 

Why?  It's something we can actually influence.

 

Neurogenesis is the process of brain repair (see CBD and brain repair).

 

It's an entire system that's tasked with maintenance and growth of our brain.  

 

The main reason why SSRIs are so popular (till they stop working) is due to this effect of serotonin.

 

See CBD versus SSRIs or how do SSRIs really work.

 

Some of the gene risks tied to ADHD lie within this pathway.

 

BDNF is a big one!

 

It's our brain's fertilizer.  Check out CBD and BDNF.

 

You probably haven't heard of it but it's the key to psilocybin, exercise, mindful meditation, and yes...CBD.

 

As least as far as the brain and nervous system go.

 

Look no further than the class of ADHD medications currently used.

 

If you dig down further beyond the amphetamine status, you'll find our old friend.

 

The increase of serum BDNF levels with methylphenidate treatment after 8 weeks was significantly higher in the inattentive group (p = 0.005). The increase of serum BDNF levels with methylphenidate treatment after 8 weeks in boys with ADHD may support the potential role of BDNF in the pathophysiology of ADHD.  

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28710695/#:~:text=The%20increase%20of%20serum%20BDNF%20levels%20with%20methylphenidate%20treatment%20after,in%20the%20pathophysiology%20of%20ADHD.

 

Goodness...if only we didn't have the downside of amphetamines (tolerance, neural toxicity, etc).

 

In the end, the long term effect of these drugs is...neurogenesis!

 

As we said, neurogenesis is the most important thing you'll read about and we'll cover CBD's effect there.

 

Let's turn to genetic before getting closer to CBD.

Genetics of ADD and ADHD 

We've danced around this above in different sections.

 

We have to consider genes in light of the following: 

Family and twin studies provide estimates of heritability at around 76% (Faraone et al., 2005).  

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0012160617306887

 

Here are the highlights which reflect all the areas above:

 

Neurogenesis based genes - BDNF, etc that control connectivity and brain volume
Immune response genes - microglia which govern brain architecture

 

There's a great listing of the different genes at the link above and if you read the descriptions, it's a function of brain-building (synaptogenesis, etc), and immune response (microglia, etc).

 

This is the tug of war that goes on in any brain between insults (chemicals, infection, excessive glutamate, stress, trauma, inflammation,  etc) and repair (serotonin, BDNF, etc).

 

In ADHD (as with many mental health issues), one side is not keeping up.

 

We'll let you guess which side.

 

Even genes like acetylcholine types (CHT, CHR, etc) govern brain plasticity.

 

Think of the root system of a tree constantly growing and splintering off...but with neurons!

 

Those genes are the underpinning for many of the sections we looked at above.

 

One final look at ADHD medications before CBD.

Medications currently used for ADD and ADHD 

By now, we've also danced around the various meds available for ADHD.

 

Most of them are in the amphetamine class.

 

Ritalin, Concerta, etc all follow this basic blueprint.

 

We also saw above why these meds are even used considering the drawbacks (addiction, tolerance, withdrawal, toxicity to neurons, etc).

 

The long term side trick of these meds is...neurogenesis.

 

An increase in BDNF.

 

With animal studies...we can not directly pinpoint this effect: 

These results indicate that MPH, not ATX, can enhance cell proliferation and neuroblast differentiation in the SGZ of the DG via increasing BDNF level. 

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22841697/

 

MPH is methylphenidate (Ritalin, etc) and essentially, they are boosting brain repair growth in the hippocampus (the SGZ of the DG part).

 

A significant increase was found.

 

If we go one step up from BDNF to neurotransmitters, we see a similar effect: 

The central actions of amphetamine appear to be the primary result of interactions with dopamine neurons, but secondarily the drug also alters the dynamics of other putative neurotransmitters (e.g. acetylcholine, 5-hydroxytryptamine) in the brain. 

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17437/

 

Acetylcholine...we covered that.  It's key to brain remodeling.

 

5-hydroxytryptamine is none other than serotonin.

 

Serotonin directly drives BDNF!

 

Dopamine is a surrogate for serotonin so any boost in serotonin will cause a boost in dopamine.

 

Ah-ha!  It's coming together!

 

Here's the issue.

 

Amphetamines are a scheduled 1 drug for a reason.

 

It's highly addictive.  Even at the low dose levels of ADHD medications, that's just a slower process.

 

More importantly, is the effect on glutamate.

 

Glutamate is a very tricky beast.  It's the gas pedal of our brain but it must be finely tuned or it's akin to redlining a car engine but for neurons.

 

We have an intricate system to protect from this (see CBD and glutamate or NAC and mental health).

 

The jury's still out on whether this increase in glutamate is good or bad long term since a reduction in glutamate (or connectivity) may be at the heart of ADHD.

 

This is why it's so counterintuitive that a stimulant seems to result in a calming focus.

 

Studies show that key areas of brain structure are delayed in development with ADHD by about 2-3 years.

 

We see how the neurogenesis effect would speed this process.

 

The issue of tolerance is not in question.

 

The brain will push back from any outside and abnormal level of a chemical that affects such critical pathways.

 

This downregulation speaks to long term results of ADHD meds: 

While medication can be very effective for improving symptoms of ADHD during the first year of use, it has not been found to significantly improve the long term course of children with ADHD. 

https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT02039908

 

This effect can happen within a year: 

Tolerance to the dopaminergic effects of methylphenidate in adults with ADHD after one-year treatment with methylphenidate


http://jnm.snmjournals.org/content/51/supplement_2/329


We'll leave out the side effect profile including insomnia, nervousness, nausea, etc.


Let's move on to CBD and other tools along the same pathways.

Research on CBD and ADD and ADHD 

Finally...if you've read this far, we now have a pretty good grasp of what modern research is showing for pathways affected with ADHD.

 

Before jumping into CBD and ADHD studies, let's look at how it interacts with these pathways: 

 

Lots to cover.

 

CBD and dopamine

 

Dopamine is a powerful director of focus and action as the main driver of our reward circuit.

 

We can look to the studies on CBD and schizophrenia which is driven by an imbalance in dopamine.

 

To make it even more difficult, there's too much dopamine in one area (striatum) and too little another (prefrontal cortex).

 

The latter mirrors what we see with ADHD.

 

Studies on CBD and schizophrenia have been pretty fascinating.

 

A double-blind study looked at CBD versus a powerful antipsychotic called amulisipride: 

Either treatment was safe and led to significant clinical improvement, but cannabidiol displayed a markedly superior side-effect profile. 

https://www.nature.com/articles/tp201215 


Keep in mind that CBD affected both the positive (striatum - too much dopamine) and negative (prefrontal cortex - too little dopamine).

 

Check out our full review of CBD and dopamine.

 

Upstream, the real manager of dopamine is probably the key to this effect.

 

Let's go there now.

CBD and serotonin 

CBD's effect on serotonin is key to how it works with depression and anxiety (see CBD and depression or CBD and anxiety).

 

One very relevant study looked at how CBD was able to "rescue" depleted serotonin after injury (serotonin is key to pain sensitivity).

 

The results: 

Seven days of treatment with CBD reduced mechanical allodynia, decreased anxiety-like behavior, and normalized 5-HT activity. 

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6319597/

 

Allodynia is generalized pain, anxiety - we know all too well.  

 

The key there is "normalized" 5-HT activity.  5-HT is serotonin!

 

We went in-depth at the CBD and serotonin pathways.

 

To the gas pedal.

CBD and glutamate 

Here's the interesting piece: 

These studies have shown increased levels of a marker for glutamate in the striatum and anterior cingulate cortex of the PFC 

https://www.intechopen.com/books/attention-deficit-hyperactivity-disorder-in-children-and-adolescents/dopamine-and-glutamate-interactions-in-adhd-implications-for-the-future-neuropharmacology-of-adhd

 

Interesting...too much glutamate.  You would expect the opposite unless you dig a little deeper.

 

First, our immune system (key to inflammation) drives glutamate activity.

 

Hyperactive microglia and immune response = elevated glutamate.

 

We did a full review of CBD and glutamate for mental health since new research is pointing to it everywhere.

 

ADHD is marked by reduced brain volume so what's the connection?

 

Too much glutamate is toxic to neurons.  In fact, with too much glutamate for a long enough time, you have brain loss.

 

As for CBD and glutamate, we can look at an interesting study on CBD and autism which has glutamate imbalances in the prefrontal cortex.

 

Their results: 

Thus, CBD modulates glutamate-GABA systems, but prefrontal-GABA systems respond differently in ASD.


https://www.nature.com/articles/s41386-019-0333-8

 

We would expect this since autism has a different glutamate function than neurotypical brains.

 

The keyword there is "modulates".

 

Not boosts or decreases.  

 

Also, check out the research on NAC and ADHD here.

 

NAC is a powerful player for mental health and balancing glutamate as well as reducing inflammation.

CBD and acetylcholine 

The new kid on the block.

 

New studies on Parkinson's and dementia is showing that acetylcholine imbalances PRECEDE the dopamine reduction.

 

We're most interested in acetylcholine ADHD as we laid out the clues above.

 

As for CBD, a study on wake-promoting effects (a function of acetylcholine): 

Altogether, these data demonstrate that CBD increases ACh levels in a brain region related to wake control.  

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29876791/

 

Check out CBD and acetylcholine.  

 

Another way (besides eggs, peanuts, and organ meats) to support this pathway is CBD Choline supplements.

 

Finally, let's get to the heart of actual improvement by whatever means. 


CBD and neurogenesis 

This may be the most important section.  Something that we can actually address.

 

The key to every treatment for ADHD rests on neurogenesis or the ability to build new brain and connections.

 

  • Ritalin?  Yes
  • Mindful meditation? Yes
  • Exercise?  Yes
  • Psilocybin?  Yes
  • SSRIs?  Yes

 

CBD??

 

Yes!

 

In fact, this is the key to CBD's effects on depression and anxiety.

 

Remember how the prefrontal cortex is the critical piece for ADHD - the seat of focus, attention, and cognition?


Cannabidiol Induces Rapid and Sustained Antidepressant-Like Effects Through Increased BDNF Signaling and Synaptogenesis in the Prefrontal Cortex 

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29869197/

 

Goodness!

 

Let's break that down because it's too important.

 

BDNF - our brain's fertilizer.  Synaptogenesis?  That's building new connections within the brain.

 

One note...studies showed there was a delay in certain brain structures by about 2-3 years.

 

Synaptogenesis is how brain structures are built.

 

Finally...where is this happening?

 

Oh...just the prefrontal cortex!  Hopefully, that's familiar by now with ADHD.

 

Check out CBD and neurogenesis or CBD and brain repair for more info.

 

That's the rebuilding side...what about the various insults to brains...the other side?

CBD and neuroinflammation 

This may be CBD's 3rd greatest trick (behind serotonin and neurogenesis - the former drives the latter by the way).

 

There's a clear tie between ADHD and inflammation in the brain which we looked at above.

 

What about CBD there?

 

Looking at CBD and asthma (an inflammatory disease by default), researchers found the following: 

CBD treatment was able to decrease the serum levels of all analyzed cytokines except for IL-10 levels. 

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4458548/

 

Hmm...what's with IL-10?  Oh, it's an anti-inflammatory agent.

 

Check out CBD and neuroinflammation.

 

Let's take a quick detour to that default mode we talked about above.

 

CBD and default mode

Most of the research here come from the countering the effects of THC on the brain switching effect.

 

Here's the net net:

THC disrupts the DMN, and the PCC is a key brain region involved in the subjective experience of THC intoxication. CBD restores disruption of the salience network by THC, which may explain its potential to treat disorders of salience such as psychosis and addiction.

 https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31013455/

 

Remember that the inability to get out of default mode is tied to ADHD.

 

CBD counters THC's disruption in the key pathway called salience.

 

Salience just means that something is given more importance in our attention than everything else.

 

ADHD can be thought of as focusing on everything equally and not being able to wrangle in our attention to a given task or point.

 

Salience starts that process!  Sounds relevant?  

 

Check out CBD and dopamine as well since it's heavily involved.  


This is very heady stuff but so important!

 

What about CBD and ADHD directly? 


CBD and ADHD research 

We don't have good research here yet.

 

We looked at all the components above but let's dig deeper on this front.

 

The comorbidities or associated mental health issues with ADHD are: 

  • Depression
  • Bipolar
  • Anxiety
  • Substance use

 

The latter is really probably a reflection of the prior 3.

 

We've covered these all in detail: 

 

A great deal of research but you'll find much is overlapping with pathways in ADHD (to be expected).

 

Even shared genetics!

 

We look forward to longer-term (since neurogenesis requires time) studies on CBD by itself (no THC) and ADHD which we'll report upon here.

 

Let's look at some adjunct methods as well.

Other interesting tools for ADHD 

Check out the research on the following: 

  • NAC and ADHD
  • ADP Choline and ADHD
  • Mindful Meditation or Exercise and ADHD

 

You're hitting glutamate, acetylcholine, and neurogenesis with these and they're very safe.

 

CBD addresses the serotonin, dopamine, and inflammation side.

 

These could be powerful adjuncts.

 

Some practical questions.

How much CBD for ADD and ADHD 

We actually have interesting information here.

 

As we noted above, the key is neurogenesis.

 

Studies show that this effect peaks out at 300 mg with CBD.

 

Beyond that level, this effect starts to go down as other pathways are triggered.

 

Levels may be lower for a given person's age, weight, etc but 300 mg is the peak neurogenesis found in studies across various mental health issues.

 

Then, what type of CBD?

What's the best CBD for ADD and ADHD 

First, the basics are required: 

  • Organically grown in the US at an FDA registered farm
  • 3rd party tested (so important!)
  • CO2 processed
  • THC free (see CBD versus THC to understand why)
  • No pesticides
  • No mold
  • No solvents
  • No heavy metals

 

We test ours twice since our whole family uses it.

 

Then there's the question of full-spectrum versus CBD isolate.

 

All the research above (and countless NIH studies referenced throughout our site) are based on CBD isolate.  CBD by itself.

 

We go into CBD isolate versus full spectrum here but we follow the research.

 

More importantly, roughly 40-60% of the population has histamine or allergy issues.

 

All the plant material in full-spectrum is known to have side effects for these people.

 

Just read our reviews to see the difference.

 

Finally, there's the cost.

 

We have to be able to afford this.

 

As we noted, peak neurogenesis occurs at 300 mg.  

 

For that reason, we price our CBD at the lowest cost per mg of CBD with the 6000 mg bottle and that's before discounts (up to 30%).

 

After all, we've been there (see the founder's story) and anything that reduces suffering is our way of giving back.

 

Also, check out NAC and Choline!

 

shop cbd isolate oil online

Always work with a doctor or naturopath with any supplement!

The information provided here is not intended to treat an illness or substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment from a qualified healthcare provider.

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