ADHD Is Highly Prevalent in Patients Seeking Treatment for Cannabis Use Disorders

J Atten Disord. 2020 Sep;24(11):1487-1492. doi: 10.1177/1087054716640109. Epub 2016 Mar 31.


Objective: To estimate the prevalence of ADHD and determine an effective screening test for ADHD in a population-seeking treatment for cannabis use disorders. Method: The Conners Adult ADHD Diagnostic Interview for Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition (DSM-IV; CAADID) was used to generate sensitivity and specificity data for ADHD screening tests, which were then administered to 99 participants seeking treatment for cannabis use disorders to estimate ADHD prevalence. Results: The prevalence estimated from the Wender Utah Rating Scale (WURS) was 45% (sensitivity = 0.88, sensitivity of 0.75), from the Conners Adult ADHD Rating Scale (CAARS) 34% (sensitivity = 0.80, specificity = 0.91), from the WURS + CAARS 36% (sensitivity = 0.71, specificity = 0.95), and from the Adult ADHD Self-Report Scale (ASRS) 46% (sensitivity = 0.61, specificity = 0.86). Conclusion: The prevalence of ADHD in adults seeking treatment for cannabis use disorders is estimated to be between 34% and 46%. The WURS paired with the CAARS provides excellent sensitivity and specificity for the diagnosis of ADHD in this population.

Keywords: ADHD; adult ADHD; coexisting disorders; screening; substance abuse.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity* / epidemiology
  • Cannabis*
  • Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders
  • Humans
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Utah