The Best Strains for ADHD

Is sativa or indica better for adhd
By Halla Mannering Updated March 8th

Fact-checked by Alexandra Arnett, MS

Medically reviewed by Dr. Brian Kessler, MD

Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a common disorder that impacts nearly 11% of children and 8.7% of adults. Because ADHD is so common, it’s important to understand the signs of it, as well as the various treatment options.

There are many different treatment options for ADHD, with some people choosing medication or behavioral modification methods. Another option that some people try for ADHD is cannabis. When it comes to using cannabis for ADHD, patients report that some strains are better than others. If you’re considering using cannabis to treat ADHD, then it’s important that you’re aware of all your different options and how they might impact you.

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Does Weed Really Help With ADHD?

There is some controversy surrounding ADHD treatment. Some people find it to be very hard to find the right treatment options for their ADHD, while others have a routine that works well for them.

If you were recently diagnosed with ADHD, then you may be wondering if cannabis could help with symptom management. While there is limited research in this area, the current research points to cannabis as a potential treatment for some ADHD symptoms, as well as side effects that can occur from medication.1

There is some conflicting evidence about the symptoms that cannabis can help treat when it comes to ADHD. Some report that cannabis directly improved their ADHD symptoms, while others found more general benefits.2 Unfortunately, it’s not possible to predict how someone will react to cannabis. If you’re concerned about trying cannabis or want to know about all of your options, consider reaching out to your doctor and asking for more information. This is a great way to be sure that you’re on the right track and making decisions that are evidence-based.

It’s difficult to make definitive claims about how cannabis can impact ADHD. Whether or not it’s the right option for you will likely depend on a variety of factors, including your symptoms, any medications you take, and the cannabis products that you use.

While there is sparse research in this area, anecdotal reports are promising that cannabis could be an effective treatment for ADHD. Many people report that cannabis helps them feel more calm and more regulated, two things that some people with this diagnosis struggle with. Some people find that cannabis is an incredibly effective way to manage their ADHD, but there’s a large need for more research to be done in this area in order to understand how this plant can impact symptoms fully.

Possible Risks in Using Cannabis for ADHD

Cannabis for ADHD risks

Individuals who are considering using cannabis for ADHD should be aware of the potential risks that they’re taking.

One of the biggest risks is simply that there’s still a lot that’s unknown about this combination. The hope is that more information will be uncovered as research continues so that doctors and professionals can make accurate recommendations for the health and well-being of their patients. 

It’s not possible to predict how someone will respond to using cannabis for their ADHD. Some people might notice a significant symptom reduction, while others may feel that their symptoms stay the same or worsen. Because of the lack of knowledge surrounding this combination, it’s important to do your own research and ensure that you’re making informed decisions.

Another risk that’s important to note is the potential impact on memory and motor skills. Individuals often experience both impaired memory and motor skills when they use cannabis, which means that it’s not a great option if you want to go about your day or complete a serious task like driving. This is one of the reasons why some turn to traditional pharmaceutical options for the treatment of their ADHD instead of cannabis use.

There are various methods of cannabis consumption, and they come with their own risks. For example, products that are smoked can have a negative impact on the lungs, and edibles have the potential to stay in your system for long periods of time. If you’re new to using cannabis either on its own or for ADHD, consider doing some research to learn more about the different consumption options and which one could be the right choice for you.

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Is Indica or Sativa Better for ADHD?

Understanding the different types of cannabis is important, which brings about the question of whether indica or sativa is more beneficial for ADHD.

First, as a reminder, the terms ‘indica’ and ‘sativa’ are incorrect terminology for accurately defining the effects of a cannabis strain. Many patients with ADHD will claim that strains labeled as a ‘sativa’ help their symptoms, but there are equally as many who would say that ‘indica’ labeled strains helped. 

Research has found that patients using medical cannabis for ADHD were using strains high in cannabinoids like THCV, CBD, CBG, CBC, and CBN, and terpenes like farnesene, linalool, limonene, pinene, beta-caryophyllene, myrcene, humulene, and more. The researchers of this particular study found that the frequency of ADHD symptoms was decreased with the use of strains containing CBN.3

When picking between a strain labeled as indica or sativa, one of the best things to consider is the symptoms you’re experiencing. ADHD can present differently in some people, and some people are more concerned about specific symptoms than others.

If you notice that you typically feel restless and anxious, then strains higher in linalool and myrcene might be the right option for you. However, if you want to feel awake and more alert, then strains high in limonene and terpinolene could be what you’re looking for.

Because there hasn’t been much research in the area of ADHD and cannabis, it’s still not possible to make evidence-based claims about which strain is best for you. In addition to this, not every individual is the same and can react differently to cannabis.

Whether indica or sativa is the right choice for you will depend on a variety of different things, but the terpene and cannabinoid profile of each strain is one of the most important. If you’ve tried cannabis products in the past, consider thinking about how they impacted you and if you would like to replicate those effects. Another important thing to consider is your goals and what symptoms you would specifically like to target. If you’re not sure which cannabis product is right for you, consider trying out a few different options and taking note of how your symptoms are affected.

Best Terpenes for ADHD

Best Terpenes for ADHD

Terpenes are compounds that naturally exist in cannabis. There are a variety of different terpenes that are worth noting, and some of them may be better for ADHD than others, according to the latest research. 

Linalool: This terpene is known for its ability to help people relax and have beneficial cognitive effects, making it a potential candidate for individuals with ADHD. If you find that you have an overactive nervous system, this may be the right terpene for you. Another interesting aspect of this terpene is that it may have the potential to positively impact memory, making it a potential option for people still looking to get things done while treating their symptoms.4

Limonene: This is a popular terpene because it has a variety of different reported benefits. This is just one of many options if you want to reduce your anxiety levels or improve your mood and increase your natural dopamine levels.5,6 Another important aspect of this terpene is that it smells great – especially if you like the scent of lemon essential oil!

Pinene: If you notice that your ADHD hits its peak at night, then this could be the right terpene for you. Researchers note that pinene may promote sleep and relaxation, making it a potential option when individuals want to calm down. It’s possible that consistent use of these terpenes could positively impact an individual’s attention span.3

What Are the Best Strains for ADHD?

At this point, you’re probably wondering about the best strains for ADHD. Let’s go over some specific strains that many people have reported using for ADHD. As always, it’s important to do your own research and speak with a professional if you’re not sure which cannabis products are right for you.

Ash: This strain has a berry aroma, and many users report that it makes them feel uplifted and relaxed. One great feature of this strain is that it has a variety of reported effects. While it is calming and relaxing, it’s also somewhat stimulating. This could be the right strain for you if you want to feel awake and alert while still calm. Myrcene is the dominant terpene in this strain. Pinene (mentioned above) is also featured.

Supernatural: Supernatural is an award-winning option. This strain is fruity and also very uplifting. Negatives of this strain reported by users include dry eyes and dry mouth. Myrcene and pinene are the two dominant terpenes in this strain. Overall, this strain is popular and has great reviews.

Electric Lemonade: Electric Lemonade not only has an amazing name but is also reported by patients to be very helpful with anxiety and nausea. This blend is known by consumers for mental stimulation as well as for offering an energetic feeling. If you’ve tried cannabis in the past and didn’t like that it made you feel drowsy, then this could be the right strain for you. Many people report that they feel the effects of this strain strongly in the face and eyes. Myrcene and ocimene are two of the most dominant terpenes in this strain.

Sweet Diesel: Sweet Diesel is a strain that has an earthy taste. Known by many users for helping to focus and reduce stress, this may be an excellent option for individuals who are looking for ADHD symptom relief. This strain is also reported to be a great choice if you’re new to cannabis. The terpenes featured in this strain are myrcene and limonene. 

Piña Colada: Piña Colada is a strain that’s CBD-dominant. This strain is known for and reported by many for both its energetic and focused effects, making it a popular choice for those who have specific goals for their cannabis use.

Tips for Using Cannabis for ADHD

weed strains for adhd

If you’re going to be using cannabis for ADHD, there are a few different things you should know. Firstly, it’s important to remember that everyone has different experiences and different biology. What works well for one person might not be the right choice for another, so it’s important to give yourself time and be patient as you find what works well for you.

Another important thing to consider is any ADHD medications you’re taking, such as Ritalin, Adderall, or Vyvanse. It’s always a good idea to speak with your doctor about your various health and wellness options, as well as to make sure that you can safely use cannabis alongside any other medications.

If you’re using cannabis specifically for ADHD, consider an edible option. Edibles are easy to dose and convenient to consume.7 Another benefit of edibles is that their effects can last for longer, providing you with extended benefits.8 If you’re going to be buying edibles, make sure to check out how much CBD or THC they have. This can give you a better idea of the effects you may feel and any intoxicating effects you may experience.

Microdosing is a popular option for individuals with ADHD. When someone microdoses, they take an extremely small amount of cannabis, around 2.5mg - 5mg. While that amount may not be enough for someone to experience a traditional high, it typically is enough to get the benefits of cannabis. The correct amount of microdose depends on someone’s tolerance, their cannabis history, and the goals that they have.

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  1.  Stueber A, Cuttler C. Self-Reported Effects of Cannabis on ADHD Symptoms, ADHD Medication Side Effects, and ADHD-Related Executive Dysfunction. Journal of Attention Disorders. 2021;26(6):108705472110509. doi:
  2.  Mitchell JT, Sweitzer MM, Tunno AM, Kollins SH, McClernon FJ. "I Use Weed for My ADHD": A Qualitative Analysis of Online Forum Discussions on Cannabis Use and ADHD. PLoS One. 2016;11(5):e0156614. Published 2016 May 26. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0156614
  3.  Hergenrather JY, Aviram J, Vysotski Y, Campisi-Pinto S, Lewitus GM, Meiri D. Cannabinoid and Terpenoid Doses are Associated with Adult ADHD Status of Medical Cannabis Patients. Rambam Maimonides Med J. 2020;11(1):e0001. Published 2020 Jan 30. doi:10.5041/RMMJ.10384
  4.  Weston-Green K, Clunas H, Jimenez Naranjo C. A Review of the Potential Use of Pinene and Linalool as Terpene-Based Medicines for Brain Health: Discovering Novel Therapeutics in the Flavours and Fragrances of Cannabis. Frontiers in Psychiatry. 2021;12. doi:
  5.  Eddin LB, Jha NK, Meeran MFN, Kesari KK, Beiram R, Ojha S. Neuroprotective Potential of Limonene and Limonene Containing Natural Products. Molecules. 2021;26(15):4535. Published 2021 Jul 27. doi:10.3390/molecules26154535
  6.  Song Y, Seo S, Lamichhane S, et al. Limonene has anti-anxiety activity via adenosine A2A receptor-mediated regulation of dopaminergic and GABAergic neuronal function in the striatum. Phytomedicine. 2021;83:153474. doi:10.1016/j.phymed.2021.153474
  7.  Spindle TR, Bonn-Miller MO, Vandrey R. Changing landscape of cannabis: novel products, formulations, and methods of administration. Curr Opin Psychol. 2019;30:98-102. doi:10.1016/j.copsyc.2019.04.002
  8.  MacCallum CA, Russo EB. Practical considerations in medical cannabis administration and dosing. European Journal of Internal Medicine. 2018;49(49):12-19. doi:

The information in this article and any included images or charts are for educational purposes only. This information is neither a substitute for, nor does it replace, professional legal advice or medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any concerns or questions about laws, regulations, or your health, you should always consult with an attorney, physician or other licensed professional.

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