ADHD & More: Lesser Known Benefits of Cannabis Use

In 1996, California passed landmark legislation that legalized the use of medical marijuana, also known as cannabis. In 1998, a few more states followed suit; within ten years, 11 of the 50 states had legalized medical marijuana. Over 20 years later, as of 2019, 33 states have legalized medical marijuana use, with ten states plus the District of Columbia fully legalizing its use.

The legalizing of marijuana began as its startling effectiveness in alleviating a variety of medical conditions became popularized. While marijuana’s effectiveness in alleviating pain, nausea, seizures and increasing appetite are well known, here are a few lesser known benefits of cannabis that may surprise you.

Improves Lung Capacity

According to a 2016 study on the Effect of Cannabis Smoking On Lung Function and Respiratory Symptoms for the NPJ Primary Care Respiratory Medicine Journal, marijuana smoking is associated with an increase in the lungs’ forced vital capacity. The cause for this is unclear, but may be due to inhaling and holding smoke in the lungs, as is commonly done by smokers of marijuana.

Increases Motivation

There is a growing number of people using cannabidiol (CBD) to manage symptoms of panic, anxiety, and depression. Delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) has long been the most well-known cannabinoid in marijuana since it causes the infamous “high”. However CBD, another naturally-occurring cannabinoid in marijuana, doesn’t cause a “high” but does provide other positive effects to its users, including a decrease in symptoms of panic, anxiety, and depression, while providing an increase in motivation.

Helps Alleviate Symptoms of ADHD

For people with ADHD, it may be difficult to focus on tasks. People with ADHD may feel restless or have difficult sitting still. Marijuana use has been an effective treatment option for some sufferers of ADHD. The medications typically prescribed to people with ADHD helps correct the levels of dopamine in their brain, and marijuana is believed to have a similar impact on the brain as its prescription counterparts.


While there are a myriad of health benefits to potentially gain from the use of cannabinoids, nothing is risk-free. You should always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

Are you struggling with an ADHD diagnosis and looking for support and coping strategies? A licensed mental health professional can help. Call my office today and let’s schedule a time to talk.

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