Adderall is the brand name of a class of drugs that work as central nervous system stimulants. It is an amphetamine/dextroamphetamine used in small doses and is an extremely common medication for children with ADHD.
Since FDA approval in 1996, adults and children have continued to use the drug. One recent survey found that about 3.3% of children from grades 8, 10, and 12 stated that they used Adderall in the previous year.1 The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (also called the DEA) classifies Adderall as a Schedule II substance. This classification means that there is a significant risk of abuse and a potential for developing a physical dependency.2
The stimulant improves focus and decreases impulsivity. It helps those who struggle to organize and complete tasks as well as improves listening skills. Adderall works by growing the levels of dopamine and norepinephrine in the brain. While Adderall is used by adults, it is most commonly used to treat ADHD in children.
Typically, the first symptoms of ADHD appear around the age of seven. While the disorder goes away for some children, up to 60% of children continue to have symptoms of ADHD well into adulthood. As a result, many continue to require Adderall to keep symptoms at bay. Adderall is also used for other conditions, such as narcolepsy, to help an individual stay awake.3
Sometimes also referred to as cannabis, weed, and pot, marijuana is the dried leaves and flowers of a plant called cannabis. It is a mind-altering drug due to the compound THC, or delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol. It is typically taken as hand-rolled cigarettes called joints, in a water pipe called a bong, and rolled in cigar wraps called blunts.
More commonly, marijuana is taken in a food form (called edibles) such as brownies or gummies.
Marijuana is used for the relaxing effect it produces. Marijuana is the most used drug after tobacco and alcohol. In 2018, over 11.8 million adults reported using marijuana in the past year.4
Marijuana is becoming legal in more states. Some of the states where marijuana is legal include:
While it is legal and becoming more accepted, that is not evidence that marijuana is safe or harmless. According to the DEA, marijuana is a Schedule I substance, which means that it “has a high potential for abuse.” Experts also stated that there is no currently accepted medical use for marijuana.5
Prescription by a doctor does not mean that a substance is always safe. While it is helpful for those with ADHD or certain conditions, it is not harmless for everyone, and it is critical to only take a drug as prescribed by a doctor.
Some of the side effects of Adderall include:
Adderall’s half-life is about ten hours. This factor means that it takes about ten hours for half the dosage of Adderall to leave the body. It typically takes about two days for Adderall to leave the system entirely.
As a Schedule II drug, there is a risk of addiction, especially when it is not taken as prescribed. Many people take Adderall to counteract the symptoms of ADHD, as well as other conditions, without developing an addiction. However, those who regularly take Adderall without a prescription are at risk of developing an addiction.
Adderall produces high levels of dopamine, which is a “feel good” chemical. Because the purpose of dopamine in the body is to reinforce behavior, addiction and wanting to use it again can result from Adderall abuse.
Many start using Adderall without a prescription because they believe it helps them focus better. While at first it is often used to be more productive at work, some individuals might believe they must take the drug to maintain normal function. Others use Adderall for its euphoric effects.
Marijuana can cause several side effects, depending on how much is consumed and individual tolerance. Some of the short-term effects of marijuana use include:
Marijuana does have long-term effects if used heavily. Some of these include:
For those with mental health conditions, marijuana might make it worse. For example, marijuana use increases the chance of developing psychosis for those with schizophrenia. Smoking marijuana can also worsen respiratory conditions.
Marijuana effects peak about 10 minutes after use and last anywhere from one to three hours. However, it can last as long as eight to ten hours.
How long weed lasts depends on a range of factors, including:
While most people do not develop a marijuana use disorder, it does have addictive qualities. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, or NIDA, about 30% of people who use marijuana will develop a marijuana use disorder.6
Some people choose to take Adderall and weed together because the two drugs have opposing effects. This act is referred to as polysubstance use, where two drugs are mixed without medical supervision.
It is difficult to estimate the effects of mixing these two drugs. However, those who take them together report that they counteract the adverse side effects of the other. For example, weed helps reduce the agitation and distress that can sometimes come from Adderall. Likewise, Adderall improves cognitive function and reduces feelings of fatigue associated with weed. It can result in a more desirable high for those who mix the two.
It is not safe to mix these two substances. Many attest that “weederall,” as it is sometimes referred to, is safe due to anecdotal evidence. However, the mixture can have dangerous consequences.
Mixing a stimulant like Adderall with a depressant like weed can have unpredictable and serious consequences. Both can be problematic on their own, which means they could exacerbate the side effects when used together.
For example, “weederall” can cause the heart rate to increase rapidly. While that might not be dangerous for some, it can be hazardous for those with a heart condition. Additionally, it can be easier to overdose on Adderall because the weed masks some of its effects.
While there are no official statistics on mixing Adderall and weed, rates of both are rising amongst those who are college-aged students. One study found that 52% of undergraduates who participated in Adderall abuse also used it simultaneously with marijuana at some point.7
Both weed and Adderall use are high amongst college-aged adults. A survey from 2019 showed that marijuana use was at an all-time high.8 In addition, the survey showed that misuse of Adderall was at 14.6% for men and 8.8% for women in college. However, 10.1% of non-college women and 5.3% of non-college men used Adderall non-medically.
The process of detox is an important first step in recovery. For those who have both an Adderall and marijuana use disorder, both will need to be cleared from the body.
While adjusting to the lack of Adderall in the body, common withdrawal symptoms include:
Meanwhile, symptoms of withdrawal from marijuana include:
How the symptoms interact when detoxing is unique and depends on the individual.
After detox, it’s critical to get to the underlying issues that contributed to addiction. Helpful therapy types could include:
It is in these therapy sessions that individuals can come up with a unique treatment plan and get the tools they need to manage life without addiction.
If you or a loved one needs help, please call us at
623-523-4748 and our team at Blueprints For Recovery in Arizona will help.