UK Patients Seek Relief from ADHD Pill Shortage by Turning to Medical Cannabis Clinics

With a shortage of stimulant-based drugs for ADHD affecting patients in the UK, there’s been a notable surge in individuals exploring medical cannabis as an alternative for relief. This trend underscores the increasing demand for medical cannabis in addressing ADHD symptoms amidst medication shortages.

Reports from The Guardian in September highlighted the directive to doctors in England, advising against prescribing ADHD medications to new patients due to a national shortage. Among the impacted medications are four out of the five top stimulants prescribed for ADHD treatment in the UK, including methylphenidate, lisdexamfetamine, guanfacine, and atomoxetine.

The situation has drawn parallels to the Adderall shortage experienced in the US, where generic versions of popular ADHD drugs struggle to meet demand despite efforts by brand-name drug manufacturers.

In response to these shortages, some individuals have turned to medical cannabis as an alternative. BBC’s coverage indicates an 86% increase in ADHD patients seeking assistance from medical cannabis clinics across the UK over the past year.

Research suggests that cannabis may offer relief for certain ADHD symptoms, prompting patients to explore this option amid medication shortages. While medical cannabis was legalized in the UK in November 2018, its availability remains limited, primarily in the form of oils and flower. However, the UK’s status as a leading exporter of legal cannabis highlights the contrasting availability for medical use domestically versus internationally.

Dr. Simon Erridge, a research director and practitioner at Curaleaf Clinic, noted the natural inclination of individuals to seek alternative options amidst medication shortages.

Although cannabis has shown potential in alleviating ADHD symptoms, research indicates a complex relationship between cannabinoids and terpenoids, with no one-size-fits-all solution. Studies suggest that whole-plant cannabis may be more effective than purified THC:CBD formulations, highlighting the need for further exploration in the medical cannabis research field.

Brooke Alpert, a licensed cannabis practitioner, emphasized the importance of ongoing research to understand the efficacy of CBD and cannabis in managing ADHD symptoms. She emphasized the need for more comprehensive studies to guide recommendations for individuals with ADHD.

Additionally, specific strains of cannabis, such as Sour Diesel, Jack Herer, and Green Crack, have been reported to provide calming effects for individuals with ADHD, highlighting the potential for personalized treatment approaches.

As patients navigate the challenges posed by medication shortages, the exploration of medical cannabis as an alternative underscores the importance of continued research and access to diverse treatment options for managing ADHD.


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