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May-01-2009 07:29printcomments

ADD/ADHD: Ritalin and Amphetamines are Dangerous: Marijuana is Better

ADD/ADHD Drugs Have Caused Hundreds of Deaths.

marijuana plant

(MOLALLA, Ore.) - For those who frequently read my work, I think you know by now that I don’t get surprised much or often. But I had to lift an eyebrow when the Oregonian published an article Kids on ADHD drugs do better on tests, April 27, 2009.

The medicated kids did do slightly better, 3 to 5 points. Ritalin, a brain stimulant, is the most common medication. Others are very similar and presumably “help the kids to mentally focus on their work”.

The article stated that the children also received behavior therapy and tutoring but they didn’t consider that.

I myself did not have any ADD/ADHD patients but I do know of several such patients in California and a couple in Oregon. The parents were “afraid” of Ritalin and tried marijuana brownies and with their own words stated miraculous changes for the good.

I wrote a related story about this, Autism Ritalin and Cannabis on May 23, 2008 and a previous article Autism, ADD, ADHD and Marijuana Therapy.


Ritalin is a junior grade methamphetamine which is notorious for causing many cardiac deaths and Ritalin and the others CAN cause death by doubling or tripling the recommended dose.

To do further computer research on the subject of Ritalin poisoning I found several articles supporting my position: Accardo, P.J. Ritalin Poisoning, Child believed to have died from Ritalin poisoning, 3 dangerous side effects, Ritalin Poisoning, webmail: No more Ritalin, ADHD drugs Adderal and amphetamine and Ritalin can harm children, Ritalin concerta, cardiac arrhythmia side effects.

There are about 9000 articles relating to the subject of Ritalin dangers or Ritalin toxicity. I hope you get the idea!

I will recognize that there are about 6 million children on these kinds of drugs. The really strange factor is that these diseases weren’t even invented ‘til about 1970.

Before that, since about 1930, when amphetamine was discovered it has had a very colorful history. The Germans played with the structure and made methamphetamine which was used by German Blitzkrieg Soldiers to conquer Europe.

Col. Carlson’s U.S. Marine Raiders found out about it and found that Raiders could march for 72 hours before falling in a heap. Amphetamines were widely used by all sides during WWII and I’ll bet they are still used.

Long haul truckers called them “co-pilots” and felt they were better than caffeine. Yep it’s true.

After the war they were widely used as appetite suppressants mostly for slightly overweight ladies. The lethal METH crises was soon to follow. It’s one of the most addicting and lethal drugs around.

Pity, they are very close relatives of Adrenaline our natural “flight or fight” hormone.


Do you have a a question, comment, or story to share with Dr. Leveque?
Email him:
Pot Doc Answers

More information on the history of Dr. Leveque can be found in his book, General Patton's Dogface Soldier of WWII about his own experiences "from a foxhole".
Order the book by mail by following this link: Dogface Soldier

If you are a World War II history buff, you don't want to miss it.

Watch for more streaming video question and answer segments about medical marijuana with Bonnie King and Dr. Phil Leveque.

Click on this link for other articles and video segments about PTSD and medical marijuana on

Comments Leave a comment on this story.

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Mike September 29, 2011 12:32 pm (Pacific time)

"Using a drug is a weak excuse for not working on controlling your add. You only think pot makes you better because your high and you FEEL better. the drug will not help you. Only systems and learning how to cope with your disability will help you. Stop using a crutch!"

You can say whatever you wish to say about medications and the mind. But its not a weak excuse, matter of fact the only people who KNOW what it's like to have ADHD know that its hard for us to function with out meds. I did it my whole life until Senior year in High school, before than I slept in class all the time, got up to do things, and people didn't like me sometimes cause I was always talking. Adderall helped control all that, and Marijuana has helped me concentrate and think clearly.

Editor: Thanks for your comment Mike

Alex January 30, 2011 1:54 pm (Pacific time)

Ritalin/Concerta has really been a godsend for me. I struggled through school from about grade 2 until I graduated high school. I was diagnosed with adhd in the last month of high school and my marks have gone up since entering university. In reference to another comment, I don't think you can just "control" your adhd by practicing concentration or something like that, that's just stupid. Anyone who has taken stimulants know that it takes away your appetite, stunts growth, etc. Marijuana also allows you to focus, allows you to actually eat and has negligible risk or side effects. Sounds like a no brainer to me.

Reverend Loveshade November 30, 2010 2:13 pm (Pacific time)

I've been diagonosed with ADD/ADHD or whatever they're calling this week. I didn't like taking my meds because of the weird side effects, but I smoked pot. I didn't know it would help, but it does. The reason so much money is put into keeping marijuana illegal is because anyone can grow it. Megacorps won't make a penny from what people can grow in their own closet or backyard, so politicians funded by megacorps fight it.

Kate November 14, 2010 3:02 pm (Pacific time)

I have been taking Ritalin (50 mg daily) for 6 1/2 years, which has been a godsend for me (no side effects). I have Asperger's Syndrome and ME. I am considering medical marijuana--I've never previously indulged, but have a LOT of chronic pain that I have found no relief for. I've never tried marijuana, and am not interested in smoking it, but eating it. I did not know that marijuana is also good for AS or ADD until reading these posts, and also did not realize that Ritalin and marijuana can be complimentary.

mrs rmk September 16, 2010 10:27 pm (Pacific time)

Using a drug is a weak excuse for not working on controlling your add. You only think pot makes you better because your high and you FEEL better. the drug will not help you. Only systems and learning how to cope with your disability will help you. Stop using a crutch!

Editor: Well you possibly could learn a great deal more about this I think.  News flash- it is all about feeling better in this depressing world for some people, think about it.

jason April 4, 2010 7:23 pm (Pacific time)

i am 33 yrs old and have suffered through adhd my whole life. marijuana is the only thing that has ever helped me without horrible side effects. marijuana does NOT cause cancer, brain cell loss, laziness or any of the propaganda b.s. shoveled on us all our lives. everyone here needs to watch both Grass and The Union, knowledge is infectious and the truth will set you free.

Dr. Leveque March 22, 2010 12:23 pm (Pacific time)

To Joe, March 16, 2010: OK so Ritalin is not an Amphetamine. HOWEVER it is LIKE Amphetamines it its actions. It has and does cause deaths by Amphetamine-like over stimulation of the heart. You did not disagree with my Ritalin death statistics et cetera! I'll stick with my story -- Amphetamines are the MOST addicting, MOST lethally dangerous drugs out there other than Oxycontin. THANK YOU! WELCOME TO PHARCOMOLOGY!

Joe March 16, 2010 10:46 pm (Pacific time)

Are you serious? I love marijuana and I do believe it has medicinal properties. However, You clearly do not understand ritalin, or any ADD/ADHD medication for that matter. Ritalin is a CNS stimulant, but it is not an amphetamine. It is actually more chemically similar to cocaine than it is to methamphetamine. Adderal is a mix of amphetamine salts; these have been shown to have many medicinal uses. Calling anything "baby methamphetamine" (or anything to that effect) is a gross oversimplification. I am an avid weed smoker, but I believe that ampthetamines have more legitimate uses than marijuana. They help improve concentration and promote wieght loss amoung other things. They are all very safe if used at the reccomended doses; at thereputic levels they don't even have as much of an intoxicating effect as weed. I find your article to be much too biased.

Cody March 15, 2010 3:11 am (Pacific time)

Ive been on ritalin for four years. my grades never improved from a D average. Since I started smoking weed, my grades have improved exponentially to A level work. Im not saying that abusing it is bad, because abusing ANYTHING is bad for you. But taking it for mind numbing activities such as homework is a lifesaver.

michael yandell February 16, 2010 10:04 pm (Pacific time)

Hi, i have adhd and im takeing the amphetamine (string line down from meth,speed) aka adderall and it seems to work but im just not sure if its better than weed. If i dont take my pill around 6am i dont wake up till like 11am and dont sleep till like 3am, also i lost a few pounds. but i must say my grades are a bit better. Im trying to convince my mom to put me on weed cause ive been reading alot of post about adderall and most if not all are bad reports health wise. now i know weed is not the best thing if u smoke it all the time but im not going to do that. im only going to take it when i go to school or befor i do my homework. so what im asking is for somebody to please tell explain to me that weed is better so my mom can read it and get a better idea. because of right now shes like "adderall is only bad if you abuse it" and im trying to tell her that its worse health wise than weed is. ty

Jack gamboa January 15, 2010 10:07 pm (Pacific time)

I have a wicked case of ADD. I was never put on meds, but I tried meth and it did calm me down. I was institutionalized at 18 after a nervous breakdown. I failed High School and have had over twenty jobs in the last thirty years. Marijuana is the ONLY thing that has ever helped me. The fact that it is illegal is proof that large corporations are running our government. here is a link to my art: Thanks!

Devon December 6, 2009 9:21 am (Pacific time)

Alright. First of all, you have to stop ignore the links for sites like Erowid, if you even saw them. Ritalin is NOT a methamphetamine, it's an amphetamine, similar, but not the same. To be perfectly honest, Ritalin is garbage. Not because it has caused deaths (God forbid a drug causes deaths /sarcasm), but because it's a lower tier amphetamine. All drugs have ups and downs. Sure, I do drugs, I try to use every drug at least once; Weed, Adderall (Also an amphetamine), Cocaine, Salvia and Morphine are just a few. Please, don't spout stuff like this before looking at both sides of the issue. Not only do you look bad, but you make a perfectly fine drug look evil. 300 deaths is nothing to be honest, unlike the, oh, 85000 deaths that alcohol causes per year.

Katie November 19, 2009 10:05 pm (Pacific time)

I think I've tried every ADD med and Vyvanse seems to work, but my heart does seem funny all the time. I don't like taking it, but I've smoked weed like twenty times and have yet to get anything from it. Yes, I know how to smoke and inhale. It really does nothing, and then the next day I wake up extremely depressed, and I'm usually a really happy person. I always thought that ADD made weed not work, but...maybe it's just me? Weed is bad for your lungs, ADD med is bad for your heart....I feel like it's a pretty lose lose situation.

Brandon November 19, 2009 1:12 pm (Pacific time)

I my self have ADHD its hard to control. When i was younger i thought it was nothing i thought everyone had it but as i got older and finally released what it was i felt weird about it. I thought i wasn't normal, Finally they put me on this Ritalin pill i felt calmer and less agitated and i felt like I had control. But know I am worried about taking it after what i read. I only take one pill a day 35mg. I begging to question if its even helping me control my ADHD. Because i zone out 24 seven. I do think WEED does help better cause it slows me down. When I am high on weed i don't feel like my mind is going a mile a minute. I feel comfortable and in control, also believe it helps you concentrate on your work even though it kills brain cells. I rather smoke weed to come me down and lose a couple brain cells. Then take a pill that could kill me in a couple of years from taking it for to long.

Jeremy August 28, 2009 5:18 pm (Pacific time)

I was diagnosed with ADD around age 7. It has been a constant battle my whole life. They started me on ritalin when I was in 5th grade and continued to take it for 2 years. I didnt like going down to the principals office like all the other special ED looking kids so I stopped taking it. When highschool rolled around the work became harder and the attention span went out the window with all the new surroundings (girls) lol. The Dr. but me on Adderall for a year and I was 6'1" and weighed 155lbs. I looked awful! The desire to eat food was never there and I could go a whole day just eating an apple. My jaw was tired at the end of the day from clenching it. Some days I would take the medicine a little late and be up all night long. There were countless nights when I just stared out the window because I couldnt sleep. After Adderall the put me on Concerta, Straterra, and the latest was Vivance, and that was the most potent yet. I tried cocaine before and the feeling was so shocking similar to these medications it frightened me. Never tried cocaine again, and got off all these crazy drugs. I am here to tell you first hand that these drugs are terrible for you, dangerous as hell, and unhealthy. I wouldnt be suprised if later in life I had heart trouble that was linked with these medications. These are basically speed and cocaine in pill forms. I DO KNOW WHAT I'M TALKING ABOUT for anyone who reads this and thinks otherwise. Medical Marijuana would be a great idea to treat this. Options possibly in pill form, vaporized, or in foods or teas. The effect that certain Sativa strains have leave you with an attentive feeling and very motivational. This is my opinion from experience. I am now 24, in the military, and hoping something passes here in Michigan for this.

Kenneth Flat lip August 17, 2009 7:07 pm (Pacific time)

ritalin is a bad drug... being ADHD and having the experience I would gradly choose marijuana any day... and for those of you who look down on us for smoking it FUCK YOU you don't know what its like to be ADHD. being in school with teachers treating you like you're special ED is blasphemy when you end up being more intellectral then they are... it's not are fault we're like this but we're still here!!! so back off.

S.R. June 27, 2009 8:52 am (Pacific time)

Rob C: Smoking marijuana is the least medicinal way to take it. Invest in a vaporizing device, or learn how to extract it into butter or oil for normal cooking - pastries are very easy to dose. I recommend hydroponically-grown strains with a high cannabidiol-to-tetrahydrocannabinol ratio for most medicinal use to minimized unwanted psychological side-effects, and to start with a very small dose and work your way up until you reach a level of comfort. I was put on ritalin when I was 12, which stopped working so I was switched to amphetamines around 14, until I had a violent outburst at 15 because of which my parents filed an assault charge against me and I was put in a mental institution for over a week. From there the doctors continued to progressively push a slew of pill scripts on my parents until by the time I was 18 I had taken an anti-depressant, a mood stabilizer and two anti-psychotics. A heavily-drugged kid may be a tranquil kid but he is not a happy kid, and suicide was frequently at the back of my thoughts. A decade later I now know that the "ADD" I was originally diagnosed with was most likely a very mild form of autism known as "Asperger's Syndrome". Medicinal cannabis, in addition to the plethora of ailments it's already known to treat well, can also be used to treat autism/asperger's, attention deficit disorder, and can even cause cancer cells to self-destruct without being toxic to healthy cells (according to the JCI). Not to mention there are over 25,000 products that can be manufactured from the plant itself. It has made me a happy, well-functioning, productive member of society.

Rob C. June 19, 2009 11:21 am (Pacific time)

My 14-yr old nephew has ADHD (probably RBS) and is now on Ritalin. He has requested switching to medical marijuana. I have several concerns, including tar levels, and lung health. But I believe, if the dosage is controlled, and his grades stay good, it may be a better alternative to Ritalin. How and where can I look into getting low-THC medical marijuana for him in Southern California? Thank you, Rob

john May 9, 2009 9:49 am (Pacific time)

Kids on Ritalin did 3-5 points better. Dosen't sound like a very good risk reward.

Jeremy May 6, 2009 2:55 pm (Pacific time)

I'd like to know the author's opinion about the use of (methylenedioxymethamphetamine) or "MDMA aka Ecstasy" in the treatment of PTSD and other psychiatric disorders. Also what about the amphetamines for alleviating anhedonia in certain patients with clinical depression? Aren't there some valid uses for the amphetamine and it's chemically related off-shoots?

Jim Moore May 4, 2009 8:07 am (Pacific time)

Ritalin is certainly a nasty drug, I was one of the first of the 70's kids to get the ADD label. I became aggressive and would fight anyone for any slight, all that abated once I refused the drug. I am completely against criminalizing the smoking of hemp but must say that in India only the lowest cast of people will take it as a drug, and that's where the mor powerful stuff grows, and I personally became extremely paranoid on the drug twice so I am sure it has it's ill effects also.

bill May 3, 2009 6:17 pm (Pacific time)

As a life timer suffer of add I have found that it is more of the parents and teachers who can't handle the kids that have it.It turns out it used just to control there actions,or to slow them down to a speed that a parent or teacher who can never take the time to slow them down to talk.

Frank May 2, 2009 6:08 pm (Pacific time)

this is total b*&^$%#t. Ritalin is a safe medication, with millions of prescriptions since the late 1930's. Is this guy for real????

Editor: Yeah, and your integrity is crap and who the Hell do you think you are writing such disrespectful garbage.  Ritalin has killed a bunch of people moron who can't even use a last name.  Dr. Leveque is possibly one of the most experienced, highly trained and tested and proven physicians in the world especially considering that he is a Professor of Pharmacology who taught for the University of London for 20 years and trained the first doctors in Tanzania, Africa.  As a Forensic Toxicologist, he has testified in court more than 400 times.  He has saved countless lives and before becoming a doctor, he was a decorated soldier who fought and killed the Nazi's in General Patton's Army.  So take your sold-down-the-road little brain and go get your news somewhere else.  This contact is over, and the worst thing is that you use profanity like a lowlife trying to make your whiny point.  Don't bother responding; even though we'd all get a laugh out of whatever you came up with, it won't be approved. Learn to respect people in life who have done things you have only imagined in your dreams and nightmares

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