CBD as a treatment for autism

Updated: May 17, 2020

What is Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)?


Autism is a disability which affects cognitive function, perception and social skills. This disorder cannot be ‘cured’ conventionally, but can be managed under the right circumstances. It is a ‘spectrum disorder’ meaning that people exhibit symptoms to a varying degree. CBD Oil, CBD Vapes and CBD edibles all have shown lots of promise in helping people with Autism manage and cope by helping calm them down in situations they find particularly intense.


Children with autism spectrum disorder exhibit a lot of linked symptoms. This can manifest as aggression, hyperactivity and anxiety. As aggression and hyperactivity are particularly difficult for carers to handle, the anxiety will mean the patient is suffering mentally throughout. Prolonged anxiety can be highly detrimental to a child’s mental health. Many autistic people find social situations difficult, as they may also be trying to avoid repeating a past negative experience in social situations such as bullying. Anxiety along with social isolation may lead to a deterioration into their  mental health, resulting in depression.


It is evident that the management of this condition requires subtle and effective multi-layered treatment. A combination of medication and therapy will result in the best outcome and allow people with ASD to lead normal lives.


Why use CBD to treat ASD

Studies of patients with autism have paved a path for CBD treatment of ASD symptoms. An Israeli-based team of researchers found that supplementation with 30% CBD oil and 1.5% THC oil lead to an improvement in autism symptoms. Moreover, studies showed that concentration and sleep quality improved dramatically.

CBD is currently trending as it has been used to relieve patients suffering from epilepsy. There is an observable trend in parents of children with severe ASD resorting to CBD based treatment. CBD was initially seen as a ‘last resort’. However due to information on social media and from reputable journals it is becoming increasingly popular.


CBD treating related symptoms

Cannabis to treat seizure related disorders has been a conventional treatment from thousands of years ago. Ancient scriptures from China and the Middle-East preach the effectiveness of cannabis as a medicine. Yet it wasn’t until recently that research has been taken place that can scientifically prove the effect of using oral cannabidiol.

25% of children with treatment-resistant epilepsy also have ASD as a comorbidity. Two types of treatment-resistant epilepsies are Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut. They are both related with intellectual disability. The WHO and the National institute on drug abuse at the national institute of health agree that CBD is generally well tolerated with a good safety profile.


Talking to your doctor about supplementing CBD for ASD

When you start using any new supplement, drug or treatment - it is vital that you inform your doctor. Your physician can ensure that there are no contraindications with regards to the patient.

Physicians who treat individuals with ASD should educate themselves about CBD. Physicians must build up the patients trust by listening to all their concerns and misconceptions about CBD and reassuring them. Ultimately a physician's decision to utilize CBD in the management of children with ASD will be guided by the limited research findings, her or his clinical expertise and preference as well as the carer’s wishes and values.


The many studies which promote CBD effectiveness also make clear that more research is required into its long-term effects. It is this cautious approach which keeps people safe, as they continue to test and improve the quality of CBD-based medications.


Using CBD is gaining increasing attention with regards to its lack of psychoactive properties and potential benefits in certain seizure- related disease states. For example, pediatric epilepsy and adult ASD disorders. Research suggests that improvements in social skills, ADHD signs, concentration and seizure frequency are a result of CBD usage. However, there are many questions that remain to be asked. Will CBD be effective in the treatment of specific symptoms in children with ASD? Is there a need to add a proportion of THC to provide optimal treatment?


More studies to confirm a positive  beneficial  effect are needed to be certain. Also, unarguably CBD cannot be the sole form of treatment for ASD and it must be supplemented with the normal medical treatment for these disorders. We cannot claim that our CBD will treat autism or even necessarily alleviate the symptoms of the disorder. However, we can point you in the right direction, and remind you that supplementation should come  alongside therapy, physiotherapy and counselling.


References:

  1. https://www.healtheuropa.eu/cannabis-and-autism-children/93274/

  2. https://www.theverge.com/2017/5/24/15684556/cannabis-marijuana-cannabidiol-health-epilepsy-dravet-seizure-epidiolex-drugs

  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6834767/

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