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Can Marijuana Help You Focus Better?

Bring up marijuana consumption in any discussion, and it usually conjures up the mental image of an unfocused — and therefore unproductive — person. Interestingly, however, recent studies on the effects of weed on the human brain reveal that marijuana can actually enhance your capacity to stay focused, especially if you’re suffering from attention deficit disorder (ADD) or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

People who have ADD display behavior that is overly impulsive, hyperactivity, or a severely diminished attention span. ADD is typically found in children, but that doesn’t mean adults don’t suffer from it as well. In fact, there are millions of recorded cases of ADD worldwide.

Due to the effects of these conditions, ADD and ADHD patients are unable to properly focus or maintain their attentiveness for an extended period of time. While medication is currently available in the market to combat this effect, the typical side effects from taking such medication, such as anxiety, dizziness, and restlessness, can also pose a problem.

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How Does Cannabis Affect Attention Span?

When cannabis is consumed, it affects the dopamine levels in the brain. Dopamine is the chemical neurotransmitter that many of us associate with happiness, but that’s not the only aspect of our thought process that it influences. It also impacts our mental awareness, ability to remember things, and capacity to stay focused.

Cannabis has a calming effect because it can increase dopamine levels in the brain, thereby regulating the person’s mood. This is particularly helpful for people experiencing anxiety, worry, fear, or any other extreme emotion. Furthermore, dopamine is also strongly associated with feelings of gratification or reward. These, in turn, influence the body in terms of overall mood, appetite, learning aptitude, and yes, attention span. 

Unsurprisingly, medical marijuana has been deemed helpful for children and adult patients suffering from ADD.

Weed for Dealing with ADD, ADHD, and Anxiety

When scientists at Vanderbilt University examined the brains of test mice, they found cannabinoid receptors in the amygdala, the specific region that monitors both anxiety and the survival (fight or flight) response. According to the researchers, this was the first time they were able to spot these receptors in that area of the brain.

How is this relevant? A component in cannabis, CBD, almost completely eliminates anxiety and insomnia due to its effect on the receptors in our brain. When CBD is released into the body, they hinder the performance of the receptors involved in fight-or-flight. Given that these receptors are the same receptors from which chronic anxiety disorder and ADD originate, this delaying effect actually allows patients to temporarily overcome their ADD-induced state.

However, this is not a be-all end-all cure for ADD, nor is it a guaranteed ticket to better focus. It is still important to find the right strain to help you focus better, as well as the proper level of THC to successfully deal with your ADHD. On the other hand, if you wish to use cannabis to get over your feelings of anxiety, you would want to make sure that the weed you will consume has low THC levels and high CBD levels. This is because high THC levels have been known to lead to heightened feelings of panic and CBD inhibits anxiety instead of causing it.


Ultimately, the use of the right kind and quantity of marijuana can be quite effective in maintaining or enhancing your ability to focus. Remember that having the right dosage is key to better productivity and greater concentration. Additionally, if you’re averse to smoking, you can simply infuse cannabis oil, which has a host of benefits for your health and well-being, into your recipes.

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