Does Marijuana Use Lead to ADHD Treatment?By
Substance abuse professionals have been worriedly tracking increasing rates of marijuana use amongst teens and tweens. At the same time, prescription rates for psychological stimulants, such as Ritalin and Adderall have been blowing through all previous barriers. While the early assumptions as to why this is happening are not so surprising, they are certainly alarming.
Many high school and college students find that they cannot maintain an aggressive party schedule alongside a productive academic schedule. Rather than adjust their behavior, this new and naive generation has turned to amphetamine based prescription medicine as a remedy. The stimulants, meant to treat patients with psychologically induced attention deficiencies, increase awareness and mental productivity. Though widely prescribed and perceived by many to be harmless, Adderall and Ritalin are indeed habit forming drugs with potentially fatal side effects. Unfortunately, this does not phase many kids, nor deter some college officials from dolling out the drugs.
It is not yet common for college health clinics or primary care physicians to conduct drug screening on those who seek treatment for ADHD symptoms. Nor is it practice to deny psycho-stimulant prescriptions for those who test positive for marijuana. Yet some of those institutions that do test, are finding positive results upwards of 40%.
“The irony here, is that a patient will complain of mental sluggishness, of having difficulty focusing and retaining information. They will simultaneously admit, or test positive for recreational use of marijuana -a drug known to cause these exact symptoms. Yet rather than address the obvious underlying problem, the patient seeks and is granted a prescription for an additional drug. “
It’s a very disturbing trend, and one that cries for more dialog. Many feel that the responsible role of responsible officials is to rule out underlying substance use before prescribing additional drugs to a patient, particularly those at vulnerable ages. Others argue that the clinical denial of ADHD medicines to marijuana users will only push them into the black market. While the community has not yet reached consensus on this hot topic, one conclusion is clear, parents need to take an increasingly active role in shaping their children’s perception of drugs as performance enhancers. Pscycho-stimulants have quickly become the mental steroids of the new millennium.
For more information of marijuana, Adderall or Ritalin, please visit our Drug Fact Sheets.
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