The Best Marijuana Strains for ADHD [Busting the Myths]
With many states now allowing patients to access medical marijuana, and others even permitting recreational use, there is a lot of misinformation out there. Well-meaning proponents of cannabis report that particular strains have helped their symptoms for all manner of conditions.
Sadly, there is little research on marijuana for medicinal use. Only a handful of medical conditions have been studied, so it can be difficult to know which conditions marijuana could help.
One such condition that is often left out is ADHD. Some cannabis users report that cannabis has helped to manage the condition, leading to various lists on the internet declaring the best strains for ADHD. However, it’s crucial to note that cannabis cannot cure ADHD.
That said, there is a ray of hope. Cannabis strains produce different effects, and there are hundreds of strains in the world today. Many of them, particularly high-CBD strains, may heighten focus and help those with ADHD get through their daily tasks.
It’s vital to note that cannabis strains affect everyone differently, and so a focus-enhancing strain for one user might be an anxiety-inducing strain for another. Generally, high-CBD strains are the safest bet.
Next, we explore an overview of ADHD; then, we’ll provide a list of five strains that users report as focus-enhancers.
What Is ADHD?
Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, also called ADHD, is a behavioral disorder. It’s characterized by impulsive behavior, inattentiveness, and hyperactivity. In most cases, those with the condition are diagnosed between the ages of 6 and 12; ADHD becomes most noticeable when children are in school.
For some children, the symptoms improve with age. However, others experience ADHD well into adulthood. The symptoms may also cause effects such as anxiety and trouble sleeping.
ADHD can make it difficult to function normally. Impulsivity and inattention can make it impossible to get through a list of chores. This is why marijuana strains that help focus could be of some use.
Current non-pharmacologic treatments revolve around educational support and advice. These tools are directed at both the children affected and their parents. Progressing into adulthood, grown-ups with ADHD may be offered cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) as a way to manage some of the symptoms. Also, some medications can help increase focus; many of them are stimulants.
What Causes ADHD?
The precise causes of ADHD are unknown. Research is ongoing, and experts have identified several risk factors that may contribute to the onset of ADHD. These include:
- Premature birth (before the 37th week of pregnancy)
- Low birth weight (considered to be 5 lbs or less)
- Smoking, alcohol use, or drug abuse during pregnancy
These are not the only factors, and none of these will necessarily lead to ADHD. The condition can occur in people with any intellectual ability but may be more common in those who suffer from learning difficulties.
ADHD symptoms fall into two categories:
- Hyperactivity and impulsiveness
Most people with ADHD experience both of these problems, but some sufferers may exhibit just one type of behavioral problems.
Inattentiveness involves a short attention span that can lead to being easily distracted, forgetful, or having difficulty organizing or staying focused.
Hyperactivity involves fidgeting and being unable to sit still, excessive physical movements or talking, and acting without thinking. As a result, those with hyperactivity may find themselves being impatient and unable to wait their turn, interrupting conversations, and becoming irritable. Furthermore, sufferers with hyperactivity and impulsiveness may have little or no sense of danger, which can become a concern.
The symptoms of ADHD can have numerous knock-on effects. Not only may it be difficult to work effectively, but it can also lead to social problems, anxiety, and trouble sleeping.
As mentioned above, cognitive behavioral therapy or medications may help. Both of these things can target specific problem areas. In the section below, we outline five marijuana strains that might help increase focus.
[DISCLAIMER: Cannabis strains affect everyone differently, and there is no guarantee that any of these strains will help you with your ADHD.]
Best Strains for ADHD: Strains That Help You Focus
You may have seen other guides outlining the best weed strains for ADHD. However, it’s vital to be aware that there is no scientific evidence cannabis can help those with ADHD. All we have to go on are anecdotal stories that describe how some who struggle with ADHD have found solace in cannabis.
Technically speaking, you could use certain strains to target specific symptoms. For example, some strains are renowned for causing sleepiness, so if you have trouble sleeping, these strains could be ideal. Others reduce anxiety and increase calm, which could be necessary for those who experience social anxiety as a result of ADHD.
In this guide, we examine marijuana strains for ADHD that could improve focus. However, these strains can affect users very differently. If you’re looking for a safe bet, opt for a high-CBD strain like ACDC (#2). If you do select a THC-heavy strain, make sure you go low and slow until you know how it will affect you.
Remember, there is no guarantee that any of these strains will help. And even if they do, they will not cure ADHD. Nevertheless, we hope this guide is helpful.
#1 – Sour Diesel
- Flavors: Diesel, citrus, skunk
- Effects: Increases creativity, uplifts mood, may improve focus.
- Cannabinoid Profile: 22% THC | 0% CBD
The Sour Diesel strain is perhaps one of the most famous marijuana strains in the world. It has been likened to a shot of espresso due to the burst of energy it provides – some users say it’s a better morning pick-me-up than a cup of coffee!
Even if you’re not struggling for energy, Sour Diesel offers mood-boosting positivity and a beautiful wave of creativity. Therefore, if you have some creative tasks to accomplish, Sour Diesel might be the strain for you!
Users of this strain adore Sour Diesel for its multi-purpose effects. You get to enjoy uplifting energy, creativity, and focus all rolled into one. While Sour Diesel isn’t the most focus-enhancing strain around, it allows you to get on with your day just fine with a slight buzz in the back of your head thanks to the sativa-dominant effects.
With a THC content reaching up to 26%, Sour Diesel is not a strain to mess around with. Make sure you go low and slow; a little goes a long way with this strain. Take too much, and you could find yourself much too euphoric to achieve anything.
#2 – ACDC
- Flavors: Spicy, citrus, sweet
- Effects: Improves focus, uplifts mood
- Cannabinoid Profile: 0.85% THC | 20% CBD
The current cannabis market is flooded with high-THC strains that aim to get users intoxicated. But this isn’t what everyone wants. Medical cannabis users, in particular, want to use strains that will help them without leaving them locked to the couch.
Enter ACDC. The ACDC strain is renowned for turning the tables – this strain has a high CBD content, but barely any THC to speak of. As a result, you can take ACDC without becoming intoxicated, allowing you to experience the effects that you desire without ruining your schedule.
One of the most-reported effects of ACDC is heightened focus. Users say that they feel happier, uplifted, and focused. It may be the perfect strain for ADHD sufferers experiencing a low mood as a result of their condition. ACDC can uplift you while also ensuring you get on with the task at hand.
Worth noting, however, is that users also say the effects are subtle. You might not notice anything drastic after taking ACDC, and that’s part of its charm.
#3 – Cannatonic
- Flavors: Citrus, pine, sour
- Effects: Uplifting, relaxing, improves focus for some.
- Cannabinoid Profile: 7% THC | 12% CBD
Cannatonic is another high-CBD strain, but this one features a little more THC than ACDC. The Cannatonic strain may provide a mild buzz on account of its THC content, which varies between 7% and 15%. However, it contains more CBD than most strains, at around 12%.
This unique cannabinoid profile makes it likely that users experience a mild head high, but without experiencing anxiety and paranoia. You may feel relaxed, but not so much so that you’ll experience couchlock. Several users have reported feeling more focused, too.
#4 – Harle-Tsu
- Flavors: Citrus, earthy, spicy
- Effects: Focus, relaxation
- Cannabinoid Profile: 1% THC | 10% CBD
Another one with a high CBD level, the Harle-Tsu strain, has significant amounts of CBD. While the average is about 10%, some samples have tested at 38.78% CBD! The ratio is about 20:1 CBD to THC, so you can rest assured that you aren’t likely to get intoxicated.
Harle-Tsu is said to provide a quick pick-me-up, all without causing a buzzy high. As a result, it gives you the energy and focus you require to complete your daily tasks. Please note, however, that if you take this strain in the evening, you may drift off into a deep sleep. As such, this strain is better enjoyed in the morning or early afternoon if you’re trying to get things done.
#5 – Zkittlez
- Flavors: Grape, strawberry
- Effects: Calm, euphoria, focus
- Cannabinoid Profile: 14% THC | 1% CBD
Unlike the other strains on this list, Zkittlez is a sweet one. The flavors it contains are strawberries, grapes, and other fruity flavors you might find in a bag of Skittles. It’s also another THC-heavy strain, although it contains 1% CBD as well.
You have to be careful with the Zkittlez strain. The THC content can overwhelm you if you take too much, leaving you spaced out and euphoric. If you’re trying to complete tasks, we recommend taking only a tiny amount of Zkittlez and seeing how you feel. Again, high-THC strains tend to be better for focusing on creative tasks rather than paperwork. If you’re attempting the latter, perhaps opt for a CBD strain instead.
Having problems staying focused and concentrated? Here's our review on the 5 best marijuana strains for ADHD symptoms and side effects.
The best cannabis strains for focus and ADD/ADHD
Whether or not you’ve been diagnosed with ADD/ADHD, sometimes we need a little help concentrating. You’ve probably noticed that certain varieties of cannabis help you stay focused and productive while others can send your mind completely off the rails. We’re still waiting for research to provide more guidance on why cannabis might or might not help someone with ADD/ADHD; for now, we’re primarily limited to personal anecdotes.
Finding that perfect focusing strain requires trial-and-error, but this list provides a few starting points. First, ask yourself what sort of experience you’re looking for:
- THC-dominant strains can be focusing for some and distracting for others. If you find THC strains are causing your mind to be overly racy or foggy, try switching up the strain or experiment with a smaller dose. Find THC-dominant varieties below by looking for strains composed of diamond shapes.
- A CBD-dominant strain contains only trace amounts of THC and is unlikely to produce a euphoric high. For CBD-dominant varieties, look for strains composed of only circles below.
- Balanced THC/CBD strains are known to provide only a mild high, making them a good choice for someone who wants just a little bit of cerebral activation. To find a balanced THC/CBD variety, look for strains made up of both diamonds and circles below.
As you work your way through this list, also pay attention to a strain’s colors, which indicate the terpenes found in that strain. Terpenes are aromatic compounds that shape your experience by influencing a strain’s aroma, flavor, and possibly even effects. Knowing which terpenes (or colors) you gravitate toward can help you find similar strains—more strains that help you achieve that coveted mindset of relaxed focus.
Primary terpenes: Limonene, caryophyllene, pinene
Cannabinoid profile: THC-dominant
Cinex is the strain you reach for when that cup of coffee didn’t do the job. Providing wired euphoria that feeds creativity, this strain can rekindle interest in tasks that may otherwise be a drag. Take caution with this one if you’re prone to anxiety and racing thoughts; Cinex can start to feel a little racy, especially to those sensitive to THC.
Find Cinex nearby
Primary terpenes: Caryophyllene, limonene, myrcene
Cannabinoid profile: THC-dominant
It’s famous for a reason. Sour Diesel is one of the highest-rated strains on Leafly for focus, quite possibly due to its ability to shine a new, engaging light on activities and tasks. Speedy euphoria lets your mind stay nimble, but remember that dosing is key. Overdoing a potent strain like Sour Diesel can have the opposite of your desired effect.
“It makes your frontal lobe act in ways you could never have imagined. It’s almost like Sour Diesel is a key, a key that opens up whole realms of your mind that you were once ignorant of.” —Dr. Zimbardo, Leafly reviewer
Find Sour Diesel nearby
Primary terpenes: Myrcene, terpinolene, pinene
Cannabinoid profile: CBD-dominant
A cross between Sour Tsunami and Harlequin, Harle-Tsu is a high-CBD strain that contains only trace levels of THC. It eases you into clear-headed calmness with little to no intoxicating effects, so you can keep your cognitive faculties intact. If you’re having trouble finding Harle-Tsu near you, try finding its high-CBD parent strains or close relative, Canna-Tsu.
“A good herb for relaxation. Not much of a cerebral high, but what little high you do get is focused and energetic but calm.” —medicineman7, Leafly reviewer
Find Harle-Tsu nearby
Primary terpenes: Myrcene, caryophyllene, ocimene
Cannabinoid profile: THC-dominant
According to lore, this strain was dubbed Green Crack by Snoop Dogg because its effects were so intensely stimulating. Green Crack sharpens the senses and brings vibrancy to the dull, all with an enticing tropical citrus flavor.
Find Green Crack nearby
Primary terpenes: Myrcene, pinene, caryophyllene
Cannabinoid profile: Balanced THC/CBD
Calming physical sensations coupled with agile cerebral focus, Harlequin is balanced CBD/THC strain that should be on your radar if concentration is hard to come by. Although this ratio can fluctuate, Harlequin typically expresses a 5:2 ratio of CBD:THC, so expect at least a little euphoric stimulation in the mind.
Find Harlequin nearby
Primary terpenes: Myrcene, limonene, caryophyllene
Cannabinoid profile: THC-dominant
Sometimes what you need to concentrate isn’t a strain that speeds your brain up—it’s one that can slow the mind down. True OG is touted among reviewers for knocking down stress and distractions for easier focus.
“Comes on kind of slowly. Is a chilling high, but you can easily focus and do things like schoolwork, cleaning, etc.” —alittleweird7, Leafly reviewer
Find True OG nearby
Primary terpenes: Terpinolene, caryophyllene, ocimene
Cannabinoid profile: THC-dominant
Black Jack captures the perfect synergy of its two parents. From Jack Herer, it inherits a supercharged cerebral effect that lends a spark of creativity. The Black Domina parent passes on a mellow, full-body experience that allows your thoughts run at a more manageable pace.
Which cannabis strains can help you stay focused and productive whether you're fighting ADD/ADHD or just in need of a concentration boost?