© International Association for Cannabis as Medicine
Cannabis improves symptoms of ADHD
Peter Strohbeck-Kuehner, Gisela Skopp, Rainer Mattern
Institute of Legal- and Traffic Medicine, Heidelberg University Medical Centre, Voss Str. 2, D-69115 Heidelberg, Germany
Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is characterized by attention deficits and an al-tered activation level. The purpose of this case investigation was to highlight that people withADHD can benefit in some cases from the consumption of THC. A 28-year old male, who showedimproper behaviour and appeared to be very maladjusted and inattentive while sober, appeared to be completely inconspicuous while having a very high blood plasma level of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Performance tests, which were conducted with the test batteriesART2020 and TAP provided sufficient and partly over-averaged results in driving related per-formance. Thus, it has to be considered, that in the case of ADHD, THC can have atypical effectsand can even lead to an enhanced driving related performance.
ADHD, cannabis, performance, driving
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Peter Strohbeck-Kuehner, firstname.lastname@example.org
Assessing the performance or impairment of cannabisusers is generally problematic as there is no stringent proof of a linear dose-effect relationship between theconcentration of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)in blood and THC-induced impairment. The cause of the absence of such a relationship has not been identi-fied. In this context it is rarely considered that the miss-ing correlation may be due in part to a conceivable positive effect of cannabis on the behaviour and per-formance of individuals. Recently, Adriani et al. gave evidence that cannabinoid agonists reduce hyper-activity in a spontaneously hypertensive rat strain,which is regarded as a validated animal model for at-tention deficiency hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).There was also a significantly better treatment retentionof cocaine dependent patients with comorbid ADHDamong moderate users of cannabis compared to ab-stainers or heavy users .ADHD was long considered a disorder limited to chil-dren and adolescents. It has now been proven thatADHD symptoms may persist into adulthood [3,4].Individuals suffering from ADHD characteristicallyhave an increased drive to move around and are unableto calm down. They are lacking in directed planning of their actions and the ability to assess the impact of their decisions. Their ability to organize day-to-day activi-ties is reduced, they usually have a poor short-termmemory, are forgetful and tend to work in a chaoticand inefficient way. Emotionally, they are prone toimpulsive outburst, excessiveness and instability [5,6].This present case study describes a male, 28 years of age, who was diagnosed with attention deficit hyperac-tivity disorder (ADHD), and whose response to THCsuggests that such a positive effect may exist. Consid-ering that the subject applied for the reinstallation of his driving licence gives particular significance to psy-cho-physical performance deficits caused by ADHD. Numerous studies have shown that various perform-ance functions, such as divided attention, selectiveattention, long-term attention and vigilance are im- paired .
The subject had a record of several violations of theGerman drug control law. He also had a record of nu-merous violations of traffic laws, including speeding,running of a red traffic light and driving under theinfluence of cannabis during which a high THC con-centration in blood had been detected.Seven years ago, the subject had been diagnosed withADHD (ICD 10 F90.0) for the first time, and that diag-nosis had been assessed repeatedly and independentlysince by several psychiatric units. There was some