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How Cannabis Helps This Patient’s ADHD

Cannabis is like sound-proof padding in a room whose echoes make it impossible to hear one train of thought at a time.

This patient profile features a Monmouth-born, Oregon-dwelling being by the name of Alyn Moncsko.

Around 2012, while pursuing the arts as a freshman in college, Moncsko began consuming Cannabis. “Discovering weed at that time was like looking through a kaleidoscope! It allowed new and different perspectives and ideas to flourish,” she says.

These days, you can still find her “creating just about anything,” from photography to landscaping. But Cannabis has taken on a new meaning since her 2014 diagnosis and today, Moncsko is exploring the plant’s properties as a complementary and (occasionally) alternative tool for ADHD.

Can you tell me a little bit about how ADHD affects your daily life?

Many people don’t know that ADHD consists of sub-types and that not every patient is stereotypically hyper. I’m a combination of hyperactive-impulsive and inattentive, with an emphasis on the latter. I often find myself consumed in the chattery multitude of my thoughts while, for example, staring in the mirror and twirling a piece of hair for 30 minutes. I find it hard to focus on things that don’t utterly seize my attention, which means my school books are filled with more doodles and creative ideas than class notes.

How do you feel Cannabis use affects your ADHD?

The effect of Cannabis on the stage of my conscious mind is like sound-proof padding in a room whose constant echoes make it impossible to hear one train of thought at a time. These new ‘acoustics’ also help absorb and level my anxiety in ways that have been paramount to my mental health.

How do you incorporate Cannabis use into your life?

Because ADHD brains tend to have less dopamine and fewer dopamine receptors and transporters than other brains, I need all the help I can get when it comes to motivation. Most days I use Cannabis as my end-of-the-day treat. It’s an indicator that I’ve finished daily tasks or work, and that ‘me time’ has begun. On free days, it helps me focus on my creative endeavors and personal projects.

What would you say to other folks interested in exploring Cannabis as an alternative or complementary medicine?

Some qualitative analyses have shown Cannabis to be effective in place of various ADHD medications, and even indicate that Cannabis use is effective in reducing anxiety and depression in people with ADHD. Specific cannabinoids and terpenes have also been identified as having higher positive results than others. There is so much more room for conversation and study on this topic! All of the studies I’ve found have shown decent (though qualitative) self-reported evidence that Cannabis could be (or is) very effective for many people with ADHD. In order to build quantitative data (instead of qualitative, self-reports), we need more conversation and studies.

If you’re interested in reading more about the Cannabis and ADHD studies mentioned above, check out the following list:

I Use Weed for My ADHD: A Qualitative Analysis of Online Forum Discussions on Cannabis Use and ADHD” published by PLOS ONE

Cannabinoid and Terpenoid Doses are Associated with Adult ADHD Status of Medical Cannabis Patients” published by Rambam Maimonides Medical Journal  

Subtypes of Attention Deficit-Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and Cannabis Use” published by the Department of Psychology at the University at Albany

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