Combining CBD with Adderall: What You Need to Know
Recently, many have wondered if CBD may be able to help treat some of the symptoms of ADHD or potentially help relieve the side effects of medications like Adderall.
Here’s what you need to know before combining CBD and Adderall.
What is CBD?
CBD (cannabidiol) is one of the dozens of naturally-occurring cannabinoids found in the cannabis Sativa and hemp plants.
CBD can interact with the cannabinoid receptors found in our body’s endocannabinoid system (also called the ECS). The ECS is made from a group of endogenous (meaning ‘inside the body’) cannabinoids and cannabinoid receptors. These receptors are located almost everywhere in the body, including the brain, skin, and nervous system. The ECS is responsible for regulating many biological functions, such as sleep, mood, appetite, and immune response.
CBD is known for its many therapeutic and potential medicinal properties, thanks to its interaction with the ECS. It may potentially relieve symptoms of anxiety, chronic pain, and insomnia.
Although the other popular cannabinoid THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) has intoxicating properties, CBD does not cause you to feel high.
What is Adderall?
You may find the term Adderall and Amphetamine used interchangeably to refer to the same prescription medicine. However, there is a difference between the two.
Amphetamines are a class of psychostimulant drugs used to increase neural activity by affecting the central nervous system.
Adderall is one type of amphetamine. In simple words, Adderall is the brand name that refers to a drug that combines amphetamine and dextroamphetamine, another nervous system stimulant.
This type of amphetamine is typically prescribed to control symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy.
ADHD is a common neurodevelopmental disorder. Some of the most common symptoms of ADHD may include:
- difficulty focusing
- getting lost in daydreams
- excessive talking
- trouble with motivation
- issues with organization
Whereas narcolepsy is a neurological and chronic sleep disorder that causes extreme daytime sleepiness and sudden attacks of sleep.
Being a psychostimulant, Adderall creates a sense of euphoria, wakefulness, and enhanced focus and awareness.
However, there are also many side effects associated with psychostimulants like Adderall, especially when they are taken without a prescription in unregulated doses. These negative side effects may include agitation, paranoia, increased heart rate, and a high potential for abuse.
How CBD May Interact with Adderall
Adderall has psychostimulant properties, whereas CBD acts as an antipsychotic. This means that they might have opposite effects on the nervous system.
But what happens when you combine CBD with Adderall?
Potential benefits of taking CBD with your Adderall prescription
The studies that focus on the interaction between CBD and Adderall are limited, animal studies, or anecdotal. While more research is needed to fully comprehend the long-term effects of this interaction, so far, science points to some potential benefits of taking CBD with your Adderall prescription.
CBD may reduce the side effects of Adderall
The use of Adderall is often accompanied by some negative side effects, which can range from mild to more serious ones.
The more common and mild side effects of Adderall are anxiety, nervousness, headaches, difficulty sleeping, and heart palpitations. Whereas CBD has potential anxiolytic effects, and as such is often used as a relaxant to provide relief from symptoms that are similar to the side effects of Adderall.
In addition, since CBD may have an antagonistic interaction with Adderall, it can potentially decrease its effectiveness. On the one hand, this might prevent one from fully benefiting from Adderall. On the other hand, it might be a good thing. Many of the Adderall effects that CBD may counteract are the mentioned negative side effects.
Therefore, by reducing the (negative) effects of Adderall, CBD might provide a more balanced feeling.
CBD may reduce ADHD symptoms
According to a 2013 review study, ADHD antipsychotic and psychostimulant combination treatment is becoming increasingly more common. As we established, CBD has potential antipsychotic properties, whereas Adderall is a known psychostimulant.
The study found that this combination therapy is recommended as a third-line of treatment for ADHD patients and does not exhibit any worse side effects compared to psychostimulant and antipsychotic-only treatments.
However, it’s important to note that the reviewed studies did not focus specifically on the use of CBD as an antipsychotic.
CBD may alleviate Adderall addiction
Growing concern about prolonged psychostimulant usage is its potential for abuse, which can lead to developing an amphetamine addiction and even overdosing. That’s because Adderall makes our brain release dopamine. And when that surge of dopamine runs out, people will experience a low and will crave it again. This dopamine craving can lead to an addiction.
This concern is intensified with the recreational use of Adderall. Given Adderall’s ability to increase focus, many students misuse it as a study drug.
Currently, there are no approved treatments for amphetamine addiction. However, several studies have shown promising results in the usage of CBD for the treatment of addictions, including the prevention of amphetamine relapse, which is considered the most difficult factor to control during addiction treatment.
Moreover, a recently published pre-clinical study also suggests that CBD has therapeutic potential to alleviate amphetamine addiction.
Is it safe to take CBD and Adderall together?
While CBD is a natural compound and generally safe to use, special caution should be taken when it’s combined with other drugs like Adderall.
Studies show that at times, the use of CBD may provide relief from the side effects of Adderall. However, we don’t completely understand the potential long-term effects of using both Adderall and CBD at the same time.
There are also other risks involved anytime you mix your prescription medication with other drugs.
For instance, research shows that CBD inhibits the functioning of enzymes like CYP2D6, which is the main enzyme responsible for the breakdown of amphetamine. This means that Adderall may remain for longer periods in the body, which could potentially increase your chance of overdosing.
Ultimately, it’s best to talk to your doctor if you’re considering mixing CBD and Adderall.
Adderall is a commonly prescribed medication for the treatment of ADHD and narcolepsy. However, it’s not uncommon for people who use Adderall to experience some unwanted side effects like anxiety and restlessness. Since CBD is known to potentially combat these symptoms, many people add CBD to the mix to negate the negative side effects of Adderall or even to seek relief from some of the symptoms of ADHD.
While there are not many human studies that focus on the long-term interaction between CBD and Adderall, it’s safe to say that this combination is not without risks.
If you’re already prescribed Adderall and are suffering from some of its side effects, consult with your physicians to see how CBD may be able to help.