ADHD patients are known to take cannabis to cope with problems related to their ADHD, yet, until now there has been very limited data to evaluate whether this is truly helpful. Researchers at the Institute of Psychiatry in London led by Professor Philip Asherson have now published the first randomised placebo-controlled study to examine the potential benefits of a cannabinoid medication on objective markers and subjective symptoms of ADHD.1
The primary outcome measure of the study was improvement in objective markers provided by the ADHD Test, QbTest. Although the study showed some improvements in self-rated hyperactivity and impulsivity, no clear statistically significant improvements were seen in the objective markers.
QbTest has been used extensively to evaluate treatment effects in research and in clinical practice and the larger effects observed for self-rated symptoms could according to the authors be prone to bias. The authors conclude that the study provides the first preliminary evidence supporting the self-medication theory of cannabis use in ADHD, but they stress that the findings are not definitive and that larger studies are needed.
We believe that future studies of all ADHD treatments, including pharmacological and alternative treatments, should include objective measures. And that when it comes to managing ADHD treatment, clear objective evaluation is needed for every patient, regardless of treatment choice to achieve the best possible result.
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European Neuropsychopharmacology(2017), http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.euroneuro.2017.05.005