Self-Reported Effects of Cannabis on ADHD Symptoms, ADHD Medication Side Effects, and ADHD-Related Executive Dysfunction

J Atten Disord. 2022 Apr;26(6):942-955. doi: 10.1177/10870547211050949. Epub 2021 Oct 11.


Objective: People with ADHD are more likely to use cannabis but little is known about the effects of cannabis on ADHD symptoms, ADHD medication side effects, or ADHD-related executive dysfunction.

Method: Students (n = 1,738) completed an online survey containing measures of ADHD symptoms, cannabis use, perceived effects of cannabis on ADHD symptoms and medication side effects, as well as executive dysfunction.

Results: Participants with ADHD who have used cannabis reported that cannabis has acute beneficial effects on many symptoms of ADHD (e.g., hyperactivity, impulsivity). Further, they perceived cannabis to improve most of their medication side effects (e.g., irritability, anxiety). Finally, cannabis use frequency was a significant moderator of the associations between symptom severity and executive dysfunction.

Conclusion: Results suggest people with ADHD may be using cannabis to self-medicate for many of their symptoms and medication side effects and that more frequent use may mitigate ADHD-related executive dysfunction.

Keywords: ADHD; executive function; self-report; substance abuse.

MeSH terms

  • Anxiety
  • Anxiety Disorders
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity* / drug therapy
  • Cannabis*
  • Humans
  • Self Report