CBD Vs Adderall: Understanding Their Differences And Effects

CBD and Adderall are continuing to gain more attention due to their provided beneficial relief for various conditions.

CBD and Adderall are two distinct substances with different purposes, sources, mechanisms of action, and side effect profiles. CBD is a non-intoxicating compound from the cannabis plant that interacts with the endocannabinoid system, providing benefits like mood-boosting, stress relief, relaxation, and mild pain relief. Adderall is a prescription drug, that primarily treats ADHD and narcolepsy by stimulating the central nervous system and boosting attention, focus, and motivation. Side effects of CBD may include liver damage and mood changes, while Adderall’s side effects can range from irritability to serious health risks. It’s best to consult a doctor before making changes to treatment protocols.

Understanding the differences between CBD and Adderall is vital for anyone aiming to make an informed decision regarding the future and safety of their health and well-being for themselves and their loved ones.

Today, we’ll explore the difference between CBD and Adderall, similarities and differences, and the benefits of each.





Interacts with the endocannabinoid system

Stimulates central nervous system

Legal Status

Legal in most areas (with restrictions)

Legal in the U.S., not in Europe

Side Effects

Liver damage, mood changes, possible addiction

Irritability, insomnia, serious health risks

Common Benefits

Mood-boosting, stress relief, relaxation, pain relief

Attention, focus, motivation, wakefulness


Various purposes for well-being

ADHD, narcolepsy

Let’s dive in and explore the differences between CBD and Adderall.

What Is CBD?

Cannabidiol, also commonly known as CBD, occurs naturally as a chemical compound found in the medical cannabis flowers.

This molecule is a non-intoxicating substance that does not get you high and is one of over a hundred compounds manufacturers derived from the plant to use in various CBD products.

CBD works in the body through interactions with the endocannabinoid system (ECS), a complicated system of receptors located throughout the body.

The ECS consists of various receptors that CBD can interact with, including CB1 and CB2, plus other peripheral receptors, including serotonin receptors, vanilloid receptors, G protein-coupled receptors, and more.

In recent years, CBD continues gaining popularity for its wide range of benefits, and it is found in various products available to purchase locally or online.

Common CBD products include tincture oil drops, pills, creams, vapes, raw flowers, edibles, and many more as manufacturers continue to produce creative methods of consuming CBD.

What Is Adderall?

Adderall is a drug only available through a prescription from a licensed healthcare practitioner and is most commonly used for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy.

According to the FDA drug fact sheet, Adderall contains a wide range of ingredients, with the primary active compounds being a concoction of amphetamines.

How Adderall works in the body is thought to block various complex processes in the central nervous system (CNS) to provide it with stimulating activities.

The exact dynamic for how Adderall helps is not known; however, those diagnosed with ADHD before the age of seven indicate symptoms including hyperactive-impulsiveness or inattentiveness.

This drug aims to alleviate symptoms, including.

  • Lack of attention to detail

  • Carless mistakes

  • Pool listening

  • Avoiding tasks requiring sustained attention

  • Not following through on tasks

  • Easily distracted

  • Forgetful

  • Fidgeting

  • Intrusive

  • And more.

Side effects can be as serious as sudden death, stroke, myocardial infarction, and many more potential issues.

The FDA document on Adderall provides several pages of potential side effects and warnings for drug interactions, the emergence of new psychotic symptoms, seizures, premature birthing, amphetamines excreted in human breast milk, and much more.

CBD Vs. Adderall: Differences

CBD and Adderall are two very distinct substances with different purposes, created from different sources, differing mechanisms of action, and side effect profiles.

As of November 2022, StatPearl explains how the medical community has not fully clarified CBD’s mechanism of action. What’s known is that CBD has a low attraction to the CB1 and CB2 receptors, which can inhibit or initiate a response. In addition, CBD also interacts with numerous other receptors, including serotonin, vanilloid, and potentially more. 

Side effects of CBD can include dose-related liver damage, drowsiness, interactions with drugs, mood changes, and may have addictive properties. CBD is legal in most areas, with certain restrictions typically involving the levels of THC.

Since Adderall is an Amphetamine, StatPearl explains the mechanism of action that stimulates the CNS by boosting the total amount of serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine. While there are a handful of other complex interactions that trigger the release of these feel-good brain chemicals, once the chemicals are released, they go through an even more complex mechanism within the various brain cells. 

Common side effects of Adderall can include irritability, insomnia, dry mouth, headache, increased systolic blood pressure, slowed growth in children, seizures, blurred vision, stomach ache, decreased appetite, nervousness, and dizziness. 

Adderall is legal in the US but not in Europe. Before travelling with any substance, it’s best to check the updated laws of the local region you’re visiting.

CBD Vs. Adderall: Similarities

Even though CBD and Adderall have different mechanisms of action, both substances affect the central nervous system. Where Adderall triggers the release of various feel-good brain chemicals, one possibility researchers explain how cannabinoids work on the CNS is by enhancing dopaminergic transmission.

Since Adderall is used for ADHD and narcolepsy, the question is, can CBD also help these two areas or even offer support to various symptoms that pop up?

According to the European Neuropsychopharmacology journal, following the use of cannabinoids (not specifically CBD), Adults experienced a symptom reduction without the sensation of impaired cognitive functions.

The journal mentions that adults with ADHD have a high use of cannabis while also explaining how stimulants and atomoxetine are not always effective and are not always well tolerated.

While it is difficult to say which substance is better, it’s best to consult your doctor before making any rash changes in your protocols. 

In terms of side effects, cannabinoids may have a clear advantage over Adderall in terms of their safety profile; even in large long-term doses, up to 1500mg per day is well tolerated, according to the Journal of Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research article titled An Update on Safety and Side Effects of Cannabidiol.

Critical factors to consider when deciding between CBD and Adderall begin with safety, potential side effects, drug interactions, medical history, and severity of the condition.

What Are The Most Common Reasons People Use CBD?

Currently, CBD is only prescribed by doctors for two rare issues, while many people over the last several years have been experimenting with CBD for various purposes to enhance their overall well-being.

The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health provide additional information on several areas where drugs containing cannabinoids might be helpful.

By exploring the ClinicalTrial.gov website, we can browse more than 400 studies at different stages of research.

Common reasons people are using CBD products, including weed strains high in CBD, include.

  1. Mood-boosting effects

  2. Stress relief

  3. Relaxation properties

  4. Normal sleep enhancement 

  5. Mild pain relief

While CBD continues to be used for many body and mind areas, most users experience an overall boost in their general outlook on life and well-being.

What Is Adderall Used To Treat Other Than ADHD?

Doctors primarily prescribe Adderall to treat ADHD and narcolepsy.

ADHD and Narcolepsy can have a wide range of potential symptoms in the conditions constellation, and Adderall can be used to treat them.

Taking the proper dosage of Adderall can do the following.

  1. Boost Attention

  2. Improve Focus

  3. Reduce impulsive behaviours

  4. Promote wakefulness

  5. Reduce excessive daytime sleepiness

  6. Aid motivation

It’s critical to discuss with a specialist doctor to help you determine if taking Adderall is the best option for your situation.

Final Thoughts On CBD Vs Adderall

In general, the choice between CBD and Adderall depends on the individual’s unique body chemistry, the severity of their condition, and the potential side effects and interactions of each substance.

While CBD and Adderall are used to address different conditions, they both affect the central nervous system and can provide some similar benefits. 

Ultimately, it is crucial to consult with a specialist doctor experienced in using either option for the specific situation. 

The legality of each substance may vary depending on the region, so it is essential to be aware of local laws before using either CBD or Adderall. 

By making an informed decision and working with a medical professional, individuals can find the optimal course of action that best suits their needs and overall well-being.