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The best cannabis strains for focus and ADD/ADHD

January 12, 2016
(Gillian Levine for Leafly)

Whether or not you’ve been diagnosed with ADD/ADHD, sometimes we need a little help concentrating. You’ve probably noticed that certain varieties of cannabis help you stay focused and productive while others can send your mind completely off the rails. We’re still waiting for research to provide more guidance on why cannabis might or might not help someone with ADD/ADHD; for now, we’re primarily limited to personal anecdotes.


7 cannabis strains perfect for daytime use

Finding that perfect focusing strain requires trial-and-error, but this list provides a few starting points. First, ask yourself what sort of experience you’re looking for:

  • THC-dominant strains can be focusing for some and distracting for others. If you find THC strains are causing your mind to be overly racy or foggy, try switching up the strain or experiment with a smaller dose. Find THC-dominant varieties below by looking for strains composed of diamond shapes.
  • CBD-dominant strain contains only trace amounts of THC and is unlikely to produce a euphoric high. For CBD-dominant varieties, look for strains composed of only circles below.
  • Balanced THC/CBD strains are known to provide only a mild high, making them a good choice for someone who wants just a little bit of cerebral activation. To find a balanced THC/CBD variety, look for strains made up of both diamonds and circles below.

As you work your way through this list, also pay attention to a strain’s colors, which indicate the terpenes found in that strain. Terpenes are aromatic compounds that shape your experience by influencing a strain’s aroma, flavor, and possibly even effects. Knowing which terpenes (or colors) you gravitate toward can help you find similar strains—more strains that help you achieve that coveted mindset of relaxed focus.


How I consumed cannabis in college without losing focus


cinex cannabis strain

Primary terpenes: Limonene, caryophyllene, pinene

Cannabinoid profile: THC-dominant

Cinex is the strain you reach for when that cup of coffee didn’t do the job. Providing wired euphoria that feeds creativity, this strain can rekindle interest in tasks that may otherwise be a drag. Take caution with this one if you’re prone to anxiety and racing thoughts; Cinex can start to feel a little racy, especially to those sensitive to THC.

Find Cinex nearby

Sour Diesel

Primary terpenes: Caryophyllene, limonene, myrcene

Cannabinoid profile: THC-dominant

It’s famous for a reason. Sour Diesel is one of the highest-rated strains on Leafly for focus, quite possibly due to its ability to shine a new, engaging light on activities and tasks. Speedy euphoria lets your mind stay nimble, but remember that dosing is key. Overdoing a potent strain like Sour Diesel can have the opposite of your desired effect.

“It makes your frontal lobe act in ways you could never have imagined. It’s almost like Sour Diesel is a key, a key that opens up whole realms of your mind that you were once ignorant of.” —Dr. Zimbardo, Leafly reviewer

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harle-tsu cannabis strain

Primary terpenes: Myrcene, terpinolene, pinene

Cannabinoid profile: CBD-dominant

A cross between Sour Tsunami and Harlequin, Harle-Tsu is a high-CBD strain that contains only trace levels of THC. It eases you into clear-headed calmness with little to no intoxicating effects, so you can keep your cognitive faculties intact. If you’re having trouble finding Harle-Tsu near you, try finding its high-CBD parent strains or close relative, Canna-Tsu.

“A good herb for relaxation. Not much of a cerebral high, but what little high you do get is focused and energetic but calm.” —medicineman7, Leafly reviewer

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Green Crack

green crack cannabis strain

Primary terpenes: Myrcene, caryophyllene, ocimene

Cannabinoid profile: THC-dominant

According to lore, this strain was dubbed Green Crack by Snoop Dogg because its effects were so intensely stimulating. Green Crack sharpens the senses and brings vibrancy to the dull, all with an enticing tropical citrus flavor.

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harlequin cannabis strain

Primary terpenes: Myrcene, pinene, caryophyllene

Cannabinoid profile: Balanced THC/CBD

Calming physical sensations coupled with agile cerebral focus, Harlequin is balanced CBD/THC strain that should be on your radar if concentration is hard to come by. Although this ratio can fluctuate, Harlequin typically expresses a 5:2 ratio of CBD:THC, so expect at least a little euphoric stimulation in the mind.

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True OG

True OG cannabis strain

Primary terpenes: Myrcene, limonene, caryophyllene

Cannabinoid profile: THC-dominant

Sometimes what you need to concentrate isn’t a strain that speeds your brain up—it’s one that can slow the mind down. True OG is touted among reviewers for knocking down stress and distractions for easier focus.

“Comes on kind of slowly. Is a chilling high, but you can easily focus and do things like schoolwork, cleaning, etc.” —alittleweird7, Leafly reviewer

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Black Jack

Black Jack cannabis strain

Primary terpenes: Terpinolene, caryophyllene, ocimene

Cannabinoid profile: THC-dominant

Black Jack captures the perfect synergy of its two parents. From Jack Herer, it inherits a supercharged cerebral effect that lends a spark of creativity. The Black Domina parent passes on a mellow, full-body experience that allows your thoughts run at a more manageable pace.

Find Black Jack nearby

  • Lan Di

    Thanks. This is sick. Just what the doctor ordered. The Sour Diesel is amazing for ADD. The environment fades around you and you start hyper-focusing like a machine.

    • PegAloi

      I would love to try this; the NY dispensary near me is barely operational. Is this available in MA? Might have a friend get me some to try, I want to find some alternatives to pharmaceuticals to help me focus on my writing work.

  • Willem Schellings

    I find that green crack can really dissipate all my distractions. its like my brain is always focusing in fish eye vision and I cant quite focus on just one thing. After the first few seconds of smoking its acutely like my mind turns onto portrait mode on a camera focusing on one thing at a time. My meds for ADD never did that. Its like a natural focus. I don’t feel queasy, racy, shaky, and overloaded on what basically is medical meth. Cannabis feels natural and amazing. Really try to test and find the right strain for you. Im no doctor, but trust me cannabis works.

    • Bailey

      Wish was legal here and didn’t get drug tested by employer. Cannabis is by far best solution I’ve tried to mange my ADHD and has non of the side effects of prescription meds. Ritalin turned me into zombie now on dexys for over year rarely sleep more than couple hours a night if at all. Feel far worse mentally and physically but the government obviously knows what’s best for me.

      • Isabella

        Agree I have been on medications for ADHD for a long time and am wanting to try medical marijuana. I am only 20 though and Colorado doesn’t allow marijuana to be used for people with ADHD medically.

    • Shawn Geddes

      Willem, I had a completely identical experience when I tried the green crack strain for the first time. My dispensary had it in the form of a vape pen, and it was great. I’m also an ADHD patient, and this strain really really does sharpen my focus.

  • kirkmcloren

    Green crack is speedy and some I have smoked puts a smile on your face in a couple of minutes. I think it is my favorite.

  • Scruzzer

    Thank you for this!! I’ve been finding it really tough to get work done for the past decade almost. Technology and social media double or triple the distraction effect for me. I’ve been working from home a lot and have been experimenting with cannabis. After I smoke I find that not only CAN I focus on work, but I HAVE to focus on it. In doing so I might take longer but everything is done with better detail because I tend to worry that I missed something because I was high, so I go back and double check. If I take notes, they’re disorganized, incomplete and have doodles all over them from when I wasn’t listening. If I take notes high, it looks like an outline for a research paper.

    After smoking I don’t stray from my tasks because they suddenly become almost a game to me. How can I improve this work so I can win bigger? I play video games high all the time and am laser focused. I don’t know why I didn’t make the association before. Strangely enough I become instantly paranoid when I stop working. I feel like I’m going to be in trouble for slacking off and being high, so I better not slack off.

    My problem is that I have to be on a lot of conference calls and I don’t want to sound high. For now I need to adjust my schedule so that I can do the things I lose focus on part of the day and interact with people on the other part. Thankfully it’s legal here in CA!

    • Monte961

      Would you mind sharing which strain that you used to give these wonderful effects?

  • Yaeshawn Edward Davis-Carlone

    I find that BLUE DREAM is GREAT for my FORM of ADD [I have Ring of Fire, Inattentive, Over-focus, n Anxious ADD so yea lol]
    as it is a HYBRID, almost 50/50 which is great as I need sumthin that not only STIMULATES my brain but also CALMS the anxious part of my ADD plus it helps me from “OVER-FOCUSING!”
    I HEARD GREEN CRACK IS GREAT FOR ADD TOO I don’t kno tho [for me] as I have a DIFF FORM of ADD then the “USUAL ADD/ADHD as they call it now which is WHACK! as ADD is like cannabis in that there ARE SOO MANY TYPES!!!
    I have sum Girl Scout Cookies rite now, it seems to effect me SIMILAR to the BLUE DREAM strain but since izz like HALF “DURBAN P.” izz a bit too UPPITY but depends on my surroundings, my mood [I have Borderline Personality n other issues on top of my ADD n ANXIETY] n other intangibles…. BLUE DREAM THO I LOVE MOST CAUSE OF IZZ CREATIVE OUTLET EFFECTS!!! SRY TO RUN ON like this but thas my ADD n I haven’t vaped n e green YET so lol…. BTW! IF U STILL SMOKE WEED N CAN AFFORD A VAPORIZER, GO SEARCH FOR A FLOWERMATE v5.0s for a PORTABLE VAPORIZER or get a Airizer Extreme Q [$150-170 WAYY CHEAPER THAN THE VOLCANO PLUS U CAN USE A WHIP WIT IT!! NOT JUS FOR BAG VAPE!! SMOKING IS COOL FOR LIKE WHEN U WANNA BLAZE A BLUNT [a PHAT BLUNT OR NO BLUNT!! as I AM SENSITIVE TO TOBACCO.. but VAPING SHOULD BE YOUR REGULAR METHOD!!!! U SAVE MONEY/GREEN THIS WAY n U CAN EAT THE A.B.V. GREEN!!!

  • Did any suppress or decrease your appetite?

    • Lhamo55

      I found neither Dosist’s Calm and Bliss foster the munchies – something I’ve never experienced in almost 50 years of indulging/medicating. Bliss is quite energizing but focussing for me and Calm checks anxiety Using these two have allowed me to do water fasts up to 82 hours and when breaking my fasts I don’t have the urge to binge. I have also combined Calm with Sour Diesel (ABX) with some success but ABX is a bit harsher on the lungs.

      • Jennifer

        Hey! Have you tried the lower heat setting on your ABX pen? I felt like my lungs were on fire hitting on the ABX Sour D on the red setting but when I turned the heat setting to green it was so much better!

    • Dom B. Lemcke

      we do not get much choice in German pharmacies, but Jack Herer/Bedrocajn and Lemon Skunk (Red No2 here) are great for activation… or at least for staying awake in my case.

      • Lee Butcher

        Jack Herer knocks me out. I use it at bedtime.

    • Kendra Solow

      cannabis suppresses my appetite in general. Not sure exactly why, since it’s quite the opposite compared to most users. But it does!

  • NicaRob

    My current favorites are CBD therapy and SD for the form of ADHD (ring of fire type). Does anyone have experience with other strains that I can take during the day and not be blasted? What do you think of Cannatonic?

    • Stéphanie Vaudry

      I really like UK Cheese.

  • Amanda Page

    How to sensibly buy LEGAL cbd oil online? Because I got a letter saying customs has confiscated my package two times already and I’m pissed.

    • Jason

      don’t buy from another country. Buy within your own country and customs won’t touch it.

    • Megan Burke

      I recommend I used the Everyday Plus oil, which is the medium concentration and was recommended to me by my doctor. It’s so safe that they have varieties for children and pets!

  • George Kawman

    ANNCANNMED has extremely potent products at good prices too. For health prescription and medical purchases i recommend this dispensary to anyone looking at Cannabis for help!!

  • BeHepp

    Thanks for this info! I liked the art at the top of the article, but I don’t see the artist’s name?

  • wagger

    Durban is good when I’m active in the daytime and Northern Lights and GG#4 help me go to sleep.

  • Dean_the_Human

    I’ve found Forbidden Fruit to be great for when I need to get a lot of things done. I have PTSD, anxiety, and chronic pain, so sometimes I have trouble multi-tasking. Even though I’ll get distracted by another project, I will circle back to my original project every time, so I get a lot of things accomplished, and I’m in a great mood the whole time. Bonus is that it kills pain too. When I need to sit still and focus on one thing, Platinum OG is my go-to. My mind is crystal clear and my pain levels are zero, and I’m able to escape distractions.

  • Yonela Dila

    We are very limited in South Africa. Where can I get different strains or seeds at least in South Africa?

  • abfaiez

    Im having trouble focusing in school, and I don’t feel motivated to do anything. I always oversleep and when i wake up i just wanna go back to sleep. i was looking into Cnx but it says it will make my anxiety worse. Any help?

  • himpke flopdoodle

    its sure didn’t suppress any laughter, joy or euphora

  • Mike

    I use Nebula II (Hybrid) to stay focused at work.
    It does the ”job”