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  1. #1
    Guerilla Urbanist Brendan's Avatar
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    Default ADD and Marijuana

    Let me start out by saying: I have never been diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder, but reading a list of symptoms can sound like a recitation of my school and professional career.

    Let me start out by also saying: I smoke marijuana regularly.

    My main purpose with this thread is to gain information, references, and relation of personal experience not personal opinion on the acceptability of drug use.

    I enjoy smoking; the act itself, the effects of being "stoned" (I hate the word "high" in reference to marijuana. Sometimes I feel high, other times I couldn't feel lower). When I do smoke, it is primarily in the presence of close friends or in solitude.

    Consistent effects are as follows:
    • My thoughts speed up, if you will.
    • I will forget what I was talking or thinking about all of five seconds ago.
    • Extreme difficulty following through; tasks, conversations, trains of thought.
    • A remarkable ability to follow multiple lines of music at a single time.
    • Visual effects (patterns, trails) reminiscent of my past psychedelic experiences. A "shadow" of the effects, if that makes sense.
    • Difficulty maintaining a mental and emotional equilibrium.
    • A noticeable downturn in frequency of verbal communication.


    When going without smoking, after a couple days I notice the following:
    • Improvement of communication skills; I become sharper, "wittier," more succinct.
    • Improved ability to concentrate and follow through (as opposed to when not stoned during periods of regular marijuana use.)
    • Feeling overall "brighter" and "quicker".



    I suppose it's possible that all of the effects listed above are simply of the placebo variety, then again, maybe not. Does marijuana exacerbate or negate the symptoms of ADD/ADHD? Is it a blanket exacerbation or negation? Does it depend on strain? Does it depend on individual brain chemistry? My guess on that last question is an overwhelming "yes."


    Sound familiar? Have ADD/ADHD? Smoke marijuana? Have experience with those who would answer yes to any of the preceding questions?
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  2. #2
    (☞゚∀゚)☞ The Decline's Avatar
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    Does marijuana exacerbate or negate the symptoms of ADD/ADHD? Is it a blanket exacerbation or negation? Does it depend on strain? Does it depend on individual brain chemistry?
    It all depends, I suppose. The effects of weed vary greatly, especially depending on the proportions of different cannabinoids found in the different strains.. in general there's the sativa and indica high, the erratic and mind-expanding buzz and the deep, sedating stone, respectively. Contrary to decades of misinformation, cannabis has been found to aid in combating mental disorders when used in helpful, pleasant settings.

    However, your personal findings in the effects of weed are quite spot on. Read this abstract: Arch Gen Psychiatry -- Abstract: Neuropsychological Performance in Long-term Cannabis Users, October 2001, Pope et al. 58 (10): 909 During the week afterglow of heavy use, smokers are subpar in their testings. You could easily mistake someone like this as not being able to pay attention to the matter at hand (unless it was about Doritos ).

    You piqued my interest, so I continued looking for more material on the link between cannabis and ADHD. I came upon this finding:
    Interestingly, acute administration of a cannabinoid agonist (WIN 55,212, 2 mg/kg s.c.) normalized the impulsive behavioural profile, without any effect on WKY rats. Thus, two distinct subpopulations, differing for impulsive behaviour and specific neurochemical parameters, were evidenced within adolescent SHRs. These results support the notion that a reduced cortical density of cannabinoid CB1 receptors is associated with enhanced impulsivity. This behavioural trait can be positively modulated by administration of a cannabinoid agonist.
    They essentially gave a synthetic cannabinoid (which has effects very similar to cannabis) to the impulsive ADHD rats, which became an effective treatment for the impulse behavior. It seems ADHD sufferers may find release in such a drug treatment, and I've seen other studies back up this claim. Another study showed that psychoactive drugs such as DXM are effective treatments as well.

    I found this as well:

    The cannabinoid receptor gene (CNR1) is a positional candidate gene due to its location near an identified ADHD linkage peak on chromosome 6, its role in stress and dopamine regulation, its association with other psychiatric disorders that co-occur with ADHD, and its function in learning and memory.
    I think you're correct in thinking that there's a link between ADHD and marijuana's effects. Certainly, receptor sites in the brain play roles here, not to mention that ADHD patients seem to react to cannabis positively.

    This is an interesting topic that hadn't occurred to me before, thank you for bringing it up. You might find it useful to use scholar.google.com and search for the terms ADHD + cannabinoid or cannabis or THC

  3. #3
    THREADKILLER Prototype's Avatar
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    I was diagnosed with ADD while I was a teen, smoking pot definitely heightens my ability to concentrate on music, art, writing, and verbal communication, all the while, my overall demeanour changes slightly, I tend to open up more... My creativity, libido, and confidence is increased dramatically... Although I'm usually quite stoned, I feel normal, or regular while on marijuana,...??

    Strangely, that is the opposite of what 20mg's of Ritalin did to me, which made me feel like a psychotic zombie for 5-6 hours.(Speed had a similar affect on me) ...

    However, I too believe that brain chemistry, and different personality types(brain chemistries and types could be linked??)will have different affects upon smoking weed, as The Decline stated before, different strains will have different affects. Personally, I prefer a sativa stone, for concentration purposes(like a second wind), where as indica just makes me too lazy, or exaggerates my ADD.

    Whether this is true, or not, I read it somewhere(can't recall where)that some drug companies are making THC tablets,...?? To me that's a Godsend for somebody with ADD/ADHD.

    BTW, great post!
    ... They say that knowledge is free, and to truly acquire wisdom always comes with a price... Well then,... That will be $10, please!

  4. #4
    Senior Member avolkiteshvara's Avatar
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    I had a buddy that was totally ADHD in college...........all over the place wired. Getting high slowed him down to the point he could actually concentrate and focus. He'd get high before taking midterms/finals and actually got pretty good grades.

    But as Decline states, it probably depends on the strain. I mean one strain is supposed to be good for asthma.
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  5. #5
    Branded with Satan murkrow's Avatar
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    It depends on the weed.

    My ADD has sometimes kept me from being able to understand really annoyingly written texts, and a nice dose of BC Kush helps me understand them the first time.

    I get the shadow of my hallucinogen patterns when I smoke weed too. Also if I get way too stoned I have some of the negative effects of this one terrible bad trip I had.

    overall I have decided that smoking weed which isn't of a variety I find stimulating is pretty much a waste of cash and time.
    wails from the crypt.

  6. #6
    Member Nyota's Avatar
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    Amazing post. I have thought a lot about Marijuana and it's effects on the brain of different personalities.
    Weed has a similar effect on me as Brendan. BY NO MEANS would I ever be able to focus good enough to study or do anything significant if it calls for a lot of cognition. And I've tried several [hundreds, probably] of different strains.
    I'll go ahead and throw out my theory here to get some feedback. I am doing an unofficial study this summer with some friends. Basically, I think the main difference in how weed effects the brain is the S/N split. For me, THC heightens my senses. Almost makes me a sensor. My intuition slips, and I find myself completely engulfed in my 5 senses. A friend of mine that I normally smoke with is a sensor. She reports not feeling much of a change to the 'sensor mindset' while for me it's a total worldview shift. Let me know your opinions/thoughts on this theory!
    Back to the OP, I'm pretty sure I have ADD, while never been diagnosed. Weed speeds up my thought processes incredibly, but it's very difficult to follow.
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  7. #7
    Branded with Satan murkrow's Avatar
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    ooh, I think my senses might turn up too.

    especially touch.
    wails from the crypt.

  8. #8
    EvanTheClown (ETC) Clownmaster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by murkrow View Post
    It depends on the weed.
    Definitely true. I'm completely healthy, no ADD, and in the past there have been strains of weed that have turned me into a zombie, and other strains that brightened my day and made my daily tasks in general more enjoyable.

    It also depends on the amount and frequency smoked. My mother for example, only smokes out of a pipe, and smokes about a half of a bowl at a time, but stays slightly stoned all day. I'm sure someone with ADD would react to this differently than blowing through an ounce in 4 sittings in a day.

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  9. #9
    Senior Member Heart&Brain's Avatar
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    Interesting thread. My own experiences with marijuana stopped more or less in puberty (a bad trip scared me), but I have a very dear and quite troubled uncle, and would like to tell his story.

    He is nearly sixty now, and was always sweet, bright and charming. But he has lived a life with a very strong, textbook-evident ADHD, and unfortunately he has never been diagnosed and helped, which has ruined so much for him.

    He has been a proud smoker of weed for 40+ years and the rest of the family tends to identify this as the cause of his problems. When it dawned on me that ADHD was behind all these famous stories of him as a child (circulated in the family as funny) and all his adult defeats concerning short but allconsuming obsessions while never sticking long enough to any real education or a job, I tend to see his use of marijuana as his lifelong attempt to self-medicate, thus a symptom, not a cause.

    These days he lives alone in an isolated area, is depressed (diagnosed, but he won't accept antidepressants) and has become more and more socially scared and avoidant. His days and nights are a mess due to terrible nightmares (he considers 3 hours of uninterrupted sleep a victory) and he has to be constantly under influence from marijuana and beer to take the edge of anxiety.

    I have of course told him about my theory that he suffers from ADHD and given him a lot of reading material. I even got hold of some ritalin tablets and made him try them at a family party. He reported that he felt calmer and more able to follow the conversation, not needing to withdraw from overload. He came over to me and said with a big smile, that he believed I had diagnosed him correctly. But he doesn't follow up, doesn't want to see a doctor to get a proper diagnosis and treatment.

    He is paradoxically suspicious towards medicine (with years of controlled experiments and supervised use behind it, unlike the different and unpredictable quality of black-market weeds he happily subjects him self to). The weed only seems to numb him, not help him substantially. He is stuck and it makes me so sad to see.

    PS. A non-ADHD author I know is very succesful with his best selling books, and he only writes when under influence of his homegrown marijuana. So I'm not saying it can't be beneficial to people with no underlying serious problems. Just that this desperate kind of use as self-medication can get in the way of the needed real medication, and will likely go as wrong as selfmedicating a depression with, say, alcohol.
    Last edited by Heart&Brain; 06-05-2009 at 07:13 AM. Reason: spelling

  10. #10
    Member Aurora James's Avatar
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    I have ADD and I've never smoked anything. Overall, I think ADD + weed = bad idea
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