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ADHD Weekly -- CBD Oil and ADHD Management: Too Big a Leap

KarenADHDWeekly profile image

Many members of this forum and our Adult ADHD Support Community have questions about CBD oil and its effectiveness for ADHD. I heard you and took your questions to a ADHD researcher who has reviewed studies on CBD oil and cannabis products.

Read "CBD Oil and ADHD Management: Too Big a Leap" at for his answers and what the research is telling us.

What do you think is driving the interest in CBD oil?

6 Replies

In reading your article I found there to be some information that is not thoroughly vetted. CBD Oil can also be derived from Industrial Hemp (a member of the Cannabis family) which does not contain THC. The oils are not heavily refined as mentioned and are considered natural. As for it's effects on children with ADHD, I believe there is more research needed.

KarenADHDWeekly profile image
KarenADHDWeeklyAdministrator in reply to Boymom2003

Hello Boymom,

Thank you for reading the article and taking the time to ask questions. In researching this article, I spoke with an ADHD researcher who studies ADHD and substance abuse. The studies I cite are all peer-reviewed and publicly published. Please let me reassure you, the information is vetted.

You’re right that I didn’t describe how CBD oil is made, but I am happy to do that here. In the commercial process, the plant is broken into pieces and a chemical solvent, usually a grain or wood alcohol, but it can also be petroleum or naphtha, is used to extract the compounds in the plant. The whole material is decanted and the liquid is mechanically separated, drawing off the oils and resins. The solvent is then reused. There is also a CO2 process that bursts the plant cells and captures the oils and resins from through a series of chambers. Other extraction methods use heated oils that “cook” both the oil and plant.

The oils and resins are then further refined to separate the CBD from other compounds; this could be a combined mechanical and chemical process. It must also be tested to make sure all THC has been removed, even products that use hemp – several companies have been reprimanded by the FDA because THC was still present in the final products.

The entire process relies on heavily refining the product to make it suitable for human consumption. And the more “pure” the product, the greater the amount of refining it must go through. As Dr. Mitchell says, the more “pure” the product, the less natural it is – the final product does not exist in a natural form. Additionally, as an unregulated supplement, it is possible the product is not as potent as advertised or is combined with additional products that are not listed on the label.

You’re correct that the effects of CBD have not been tested on children; so far, the only direct studies regarding CBD oil and ADHD have been very-small scale studies on adults and those studies are inconclusive. There is no research on CBD oil and children. The information there is for adults does not show a benefit for ADHD. It would be unethical to study this product on children for a variety of reasons. We do not know what the midterm and long-term effects on children would be. Extreme caution is called for when children are involved. There are too many related risks for children.

Best regards,


The National Resource Center on ADHD

Spend your time on getting your school to implement the Pax Good Behavior Game in elementary grades. Pax allows and encourages children to exercise their prefrontal cortex, strengthening their ability to self-control and self-regulate. Pax also teaches acceptance of others and has many many benefits. The PAX Good Behavior Game is based on multiple “gold standard” studies of classrooms and teachers in the US, Canada, and Europe. PAX GBG may be the most effective strategy a teacher can currently use in his or her classroom to protect children from lifetime mental, emotional, and behavioral disorders while also increasing lifetime academic success.

Everything in PAX was invented by teachers at one time or another, and then tested by fire by some of the world’s best prevention or behavioral scientists. You will find references for replicated scientific studies—most of which can be found at (the National Library of Medicine).

Here are just two citations:

NIDA Notes. “Good Behavior Game Wins 2012 Mentor International Best Practice Award.” November 2012. National Institute on Drug Abuse.

Bates, Mary. “Calm Down Boys, Adolescent Girls have ADHD, too.” Psychology Today, June 2012.


Thank you so much for this article. I have learned so much about this subject. I wish we could "pin" this so any time asks about this topic we can copy and paste this. There are so many people who need to be educated about this subject and I am so glad I have an amzing summary of it.

Keep writing...

While I concur with the Duke PhD regarding lack of any solid, prospective, properly run research on CBD in ADHD patients, I have the following concerns:

1. CBD oil is not CBD. There are no standards, no FDA quality controls, and several firms in different States found to have negligible amounts of CBD when tested.

2. I strongly disagree with the opinion that CBD could be a gateway to MJ.

3. FYI, the highest tested amounts of CBD are actually from Hemp (genetically enhanced) and not from Marijuana. Reminder, that both are "Cannabis Sativa", and the separation is based upon <0.3% THC (Canada origin, may vary by State in US).

4. Specifics on Volkow and MJ; numerous solid, well run, peer-reviewed studies (many countries) associate THC with incidence of schizophrenia in the under developed brain (< 25yrs old).

Thanks for posting a nice summary of CBD and ADHD.

Thank-you for the additions to the article written on CBD oil.

Could you explain #2?

If CBD oil "could" contain any THC ( when JAMA researched it they found many online products contain THC) in it and THC is an additive substance why would this not lead to more drug addition or desire to use more real THC, with is in MJ?

I did not realize the relationship to between CBD and schizophrenia.

I appreciate the description in your comment.

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