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Kevin’s Story – Treating ADHD with Medical Cannabis


Constantly in motion, restless, lacking in focus, being inattentive, impulsive. Individually each of those traits would be a challenge to work with in our lives. What if you had all of them, at once? Kevin did, and it took him decades to find the happy place he now exists within.

Kevin Tam was always a little different. When he was young his parents decided that he was simply an “energetic” kid and made sure he was in plenty of sports to keep him occupied. That restless energy was and is, simply part of who Kevin is, and like so many others, he found ways to make it work, for a time at least.

ADHD

Kevin was in his thirties, the owner of small business, when he decided that he couldn’t make it work by himself anymore. He needed help.

“My life started getting really, really busy,” Kevin recalls. “When you own a business there are a lot of little things that you just can’t forget. My clients started to get choked at me because I was forgetting things, leaving things behind. I started thinking I might have some memory issues.”

Eventually Kevin was able to consult a psychologist, who diagnosed him with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), and confirmed that Kevin likely has had the condition since childhood. Finally Kevin had an answer, but he still needed a solution.

Treatment for ADHD is usually medication and/or behavior therapy. Kevin’s solution was medication, and he was prescribed an amphetamine commonly used to treat ADHD. While it may seem odd to use a stimulant to treat a person with this condition, the drugs actually help to increase dopamine and norepinephrine in the brain, which allow for increased attention and calm in patients with ADHD.

Unfortunately, as with many conventional medications, there are inevitably side-effects. For Kevin that meant a number of things: a supressed appetite and that he was emotionally distant, unable to experience anxiety or joy. But for him the trade-off was worth it, for a time.

“I was willing to tolerate them because of how well I was doing on the drug,” says Kevin. “Fast forward three and half years later, the effectiveness was wearing off.”

Kevin had begun to find that the drugs that had once helped him take control of his life wouldn’t last through the day. By noon he would be exhausted, and unable to focus, moody, and generally worse than he was before he went on the medication. The control that Kevin had reclaimed in his life was beginning to slip away.

Determined to find a new solution, Kevin visited his doctor. Unfortunately the physician did not have a solution that would allow for Kevin to remove himself from the conventional medication, which was what Kevin was hoping for.

While Kevin was trying to figure out what to do next he got a prescription for medical cannabis, with the intent of using a high THC product to help him deal with the sleeplessness that also came from the medication. It was then that he began to learn about CBD, and the positive effects the cannabinoid can have. He wondered if a high CBD oil might be the thing to help him with his ADHD.

While there exists a considerable amount of anecdotal evidence showing that medical cannabis can help ADHD patients with their symptoms, very little has been completed in the way of clinical studies. Unfortunately, anecdotal evidence does not provide the proof physicians need to include medical cannabis as a treatment option for ADHD. Peer-reviewed, double-blind clinical trials are necessary for physicians to start prescribing cannabis for ADHD patients.

One study worth noting was published in 2015 by a German research team. They gathered 30 adult ADHD patients who had developed a resistance to standard medications – or couldn’t tolerate the side effects – and gave them medical cannabis to treat their symptoms. All of the patients saw an improvement in symptoms, including improved sleep and concentration, as well as reduced impulsivity. The researchers concluded that cannabis was an effective alternate treatment option for ADHD patients. The positive results of this and similar studies, along with the anecdotal accounts, makes it clear that more research needs to be done.

For his part Kevin had decided that he did want to try CBD oil to see if it could help manage his ADHD symptoms, while at the same time reducing the amount of medication he was taking. He chose CanniMed because of the quality of our product and consistency of supply. After all, you don’t want to choose a medication and then not be able to access it.

“That’s the challenge that we have as patients,” says Kevin. “What happens if you find a strain that you enjoy that acknowledges your symptoms precisely, but then two weeks later that product is gone? That doesn’t happen with CanniMed.”

The first time Kevin tried the medical cannabis oil he felt… something. He describes it as a “brain tingle,” the same feeling he used to get when on his medication. He knew he was on to something, and carefully monitoring his condition he proceeded to take a very small amount every day for a month, while at the same time reducing the amount of conventional medication he was taking. At the end of that month Kevin generally felt better, and decided he was ready to increase the dosage of medical cannabis oil he took, and stop taking his medication.

Another side-effect of the drug Kevin had been taking was that it is addictive. He was concerned about his ability to stop taking the pills, and how he may react. For those with ADHD there can be a tendency towards addiction, and Kevin had certainly had his own battles with addictions over the years, but when the time came to finally quit, he was fine, it was easy.

“There’s something to this,” he thought at the time. “It’s not just for people in pain or with epilepsy.”

More than just fine, Kevin suddenly found that all the little impulses and cravings he had been struggling with were gone. He was calm and focused, able to concentrate and remember things. His ADHD was under control, and he felt great!

“After years and years of not feeling like myself, I suddenly did.”

Months later Kevin still feels like himself. In fact he still feels great! His life is back in order, and he’s in control of it. He also has a new perspective on both medical cannabis and mental illness, shedding preconceived notions held for decades.

“After 1200 days of being on conventional medication, I’m living proof that CBD can help mental illness,” Kevin shares. “In fact, this has changed my perception on mental illness. I used to think that most people that were depressed or anxious, it was due to a lack of discipline or maybe a lack of training, or just because they were weak. But after taking this product and seeing the changes in my own state of mind and wellbeing I’m a lot more understanding and sympathetic. I understand that mental illness has a root in poorly functioning brain chemistry, and in my case the CanniMed 1:20 oil has helped to improve that chemistry.”

That new outlook on life is evident when you talk to Kevin. He is brimming with energy and is eager to share his experience with you, because he wants you to feel as great as he does.

“This was a big-time game changer… it was a godsend, no doubt about it!”