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Anales de la Facultad de Ciencias Médicas (Asunción)

versión impresa ISSN 1816-8949


TORALES, Julio César; BARRIOS, Juan Iván  y  NAVARRO, Rodrigo Eduardo. Cannabis use and attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder: a systematic review. An. Fac. Cienc. Méd. (Asunción) [online]. 2020, vol.53, n.1, pp.41-48. ISSN 1816-8949.


Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder is a neurodevelopmental disorder with a prevalence of 5% in children and adolescents and 2.5% in adults and is associated with high comorbidity with cannabis use disorder, other substance use and other psychiatric disorders.


To determine the current scientific evidence on cannabis use and the development of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.


This was a systematic review of the literature. An online search of relevant publications was conducted in PubMed, CICCO and Web of Science databases. The search was limited to articles written in English or Spanish, between 2008 and 2019. The search syntax included: "cannabis AND ADHD", "Attention-deficit/hyperactivity AND cannabis".


229 related publications were found. Most of the excluded texts corresponded to studies that did not report a causal relationship between cannabis and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, which was the objective of this systematic review. Those full texts that presented cannabis as a treatment for the disorder or because they reported that people with this diagnosis were more prone to substance use were excluded.


Cannabis use reduces levels of striatal dopamine synthesis and is associated with deficits of executive function and synergistic reduction of dopamine, causing an exacerbation of the cognitive deficit related to attention deficit disorder or the use of cannabis itself. Also, cannabis use leads to the use of other drugs, which in turn produces an increase in symptoms of attention deficit disorder. The causal relationship of cannabis use and subsequent development of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder should be studied further, since research on this particular aspect is few and inconclusive.

Palabras clave : Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder; cannabis, children; adolescents; adults..

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