Marijuana Being Used To Treat ADHD–Really?
Yes, it’s true. Apparently parents and doctors are using marijuana on kids who have been diagnosed with ADHD. It seems that this use was discovered by accident when teenagers who were supposedly ADHD seemed to be calmer and be able to focus better when they started smoking pot.
From that, word has spread that marijuana is a useful treatment for ADHD. California allows for the medical use of marijuana which has been found to be helpful for nausea from chemotherapy. Now it seems they’ve found another medical use. I can certainly understand parents wanting to use a safer treatment than the current ones we have.
Marijuana and Ritalin—Both Controlled Addictive Substances
Perhaps marijuana is an improvement over the first and primary drug used for ADHD, Ritalin. Ritalin or methylphenidate is nearly identical to cocaine. Researchers report that methylphenidate goes to the same receptor site in the brain as cocaine and it causes the same high when taken in the same manner. Cocaine and methylphenidate are actually used interchangeably in medical research.
Adderall, another ADHD drug, is nothing more than straight amphetamines. That’s all it contains. Both drugs are controlled substances because they are addictive. Yet, with all this information about Ritalin, Adderall and the other ADHD drugs, they are still heavily prescribed.
Some say marijuana is safer than the drugs currently used to treat ADHD. That might be true but it hasn’t been studied for that use. Marijuana has been touted as an entry way drug, one that leads to other and potentially more serious and dangerous drug use in the future. I don’t know if that is the case either but there are studies indicating that methylphenidate (Ritalin) is an entry way drug. That would make sense to me because it is so much like cocaine.
Treating ADHD WITHOUT Drugs
As far as I’m concerned the entire subject is moot. In my opinion we should not be using marijuana or any other drugs to treat ADHD. We should be taking the time to find the real medical and/or educational cause of the problems and treat those.
ADHD is a subjective psychiatric disorder. The diagnosis is made from a checklist. Where else besides psychiatry does medicine make diagnoses with a checklist and without doing any medical work-up? Your doctor doesn’t decide you have high blood pressure or high cholesterol by a checklist. No, she takes your blood pressure and draws your blood.
Find and Treat the Underlying Causes of ADHD
Instead of Covering Symptoms with Addictive Drugs
I don’t make medical diagnoses with a checklist. I do a full medical and educational work-up on my patients to determine what is wrong with them, to hopefully find the underlying cause of their symptoms and then treat them for that cause. My goal is to get them well, not to just cover symptoms with prescriptions.
Because I do a thorough medical and educational evaluation on children and adults who have trouble focusing, concentrating and often misbehave, I actually have never found anyone who actually has ADHD. There is always a medical or educational reason for and a cause of the symptoms. Treating and fixing the cause allows them to have a full and successful life without a psychiatric label and without a psychiatric drug.