CBD and Autism
Autism is caused by a genetic disorder. This diagnosis can be inherited, it can also be facilitated by various risk factors during pregnancy, but in most cases, the exact cause of autism cannot be determined. Autism can’t be cured, but it can be alleviated, and can take many forms, ranging from extremely severe psychiatric disorders to mild communication difficulties that lead to an independent and fulfilling life. Recognizing the symptoms of autism early and taking the necessary therapy can stimulate the child’s development and improve communication skills. Despite the fact that each child has individualized manifestations of autism, certain symptoms are considered to be common and it is up to parents to notice them and seek the help of a specialist.
The most common symptoms include: emotional alienation, lack of interest in other people, outbursts of emotion, delayed language development, excessive propensity for non-verbal communication, repeated behavior, sensitivity to external stimuli, etc.
The signs of autism in children generally distinguish between five major areas of functioning, which are:
⦁ difficulties in social interaction and communication;
⦁ imagination, ideas, creativity;
⦁ gestures and non-verbal communication;
⦁ sensory sensitivity;
⦁ narrow range of interests, routine, repetitive behavior.
Each of us may have difficulty in these areas, so before making a diagnosis, a psychiatrist in collaboration with other professionals will evaluate the number, severity, and impact of these five areas on daily life.
Autism is a neurodevelopmental disorder. Autism Spectrum Disorders are NOT a disease but one of the developmental options of the child’s central nervous system. There is more than one type of autism caused by various genetic combinations and environmental factors.
Autism cannot be cured with medication. It is a lifelong disorder. Because autism has a whole spectrum of signs, there is no “miracle cure” that can cure it. However, your treating physician may prescribe medication to cure other conditions such as attention deficit and hyperactivity, depression, emotional imbalance and others.
Effectiveness of CBD oil use in autism.
When a child is diagnosed with autism, parents are often given a long list of possible ‘remedies’, which at best are usually a temporary remedy, but at worst, medications with many side effects that have long-term effects on the body as a whole.
In recent years, the use of CBD oil has been recommended as adjunctive therapy and is increasingly appearing on the list of potential treatments for autism.
If you are considering the use of CBD oil to prevent the symptoms of autism, here’s a little more on this.
Existing research indicates the potential effectiveness of CBD in helping to reduce specific symptoms and improve behavior in children and adults affected by autism, but CBD safety and efficacy studies are in its early stages.
In 2019, two such studies were published on the use of cannabinoids in children with autism.
A preliminary study was conducted on 60 children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and severe behavioral problems. Patients were given Cannabis with high cannabidiol (CBD) content. One patient who’d received Cannabis with a higher tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) content did not respond well to the treatment. For the most part, though, the results were promising and the study concluded:
“After treatment, 61% of the behavioral flares were significantly improved or greatly improved. This initial study confirms that the Cannabis trial and the use of CBD in children with ASD (autism spectrum disorder) may be a solution in the future.”
An additional study was conducted in 188 children with autism spectrum disorders. They used Cannabis with a CBD: THC ratio of 20 : 1 and self-reported results after 6 months of treatment. Of the 93 patients who continued treatment and provided an assessment, 83.8% reported significant or moderate improvement.
Autism and epilepsy.
Epilepsy tends to be a co-morbid condition of autism, exacerbating the condition for those with a diagnosis of autism. About a third of people on the autism spectrum also have epilepsy.
In three studies involving people with Dravet and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome, CBD oil significantly reduced the frequency of seizures. Convulsive tonic-clonic seizures, tonic spasms, clonic and atonic seizures were reduced in Dravet’s syndrome. Conversely, those with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome also had a reduction in seizures.
Epilepsy is one of the few health conditions, whose side effects can be treated with CBD oil because it is officially recognized by the US government. Following the publication of the aforementioned studies, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Advisory Committee recommended that Epidiolex should be approved for use in the treatment of epilepsy in the treatment of refractory epilepsy. Epidiolex was officially approved for patients older than 2 years in June 2018.
In many studies, CBD was able to reduce the number of seizures, and in some cases, it was able to stop them completely. CBD is commonly used to prevent anxiety, and studies in patients suffering from sleep disorders have shown that CBD can help you fall asleep and improve sleep quality.
It will never be the case that everything works for everyone, in rare cases, CBD can cause side effects such as drowsiness or nausea. Not even at all, or in very rare cases cause unwanted side effects.
How can CBD help with autism?
Neither CBD nor other medicine can completely exclude or cure the main symptoms of autism, which include social communication problems, sensory dysfunction, and restricted, repeated behavior. However, CBD can help reduce the disorders often associated with autism, such as epilepsy, anxiety, insomnia and stress.
For example, it can promote better sleep and lower anxiety (which can reduce aggressive behavior), fewer seizures (which can reduce stress and facilitate social interaction), and lower anxiety to facilitate learning and use of social communication skills.
It is also important to note that insomnia and aggression are particularly difficult symptoms for parents, who quickly become exhausted and overwhelmed. Aggression, in particular, is one of the most complex behaviors of autism.
Reports from parents of autistic children have praised the ability of CBD and Cannabis to reduce seizures, aggressive behavior and improve speech ability even in non-talking patients. Due to the limited clinical research on the use of CBD oil to treat the symptoms of autism, many people rely on the research and experience of other parents to decide whether to start using CBD.
Because it has been proven to help manage mood disorders such as anxiety and depression, CBD oil is also a promising remedy for those, who are in close contact with autism and support their children daily.
CBD for children with autism: is it safe?
There are a number of ethical issues related to conducting scientific research on children’s health, and therefore there is little research on CBD oil that would provide a definitive answer to the question of whether it is safe for children. However, there are some reports that indicate CBD safety.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has stated: “CBD does not produce the effects commonly observed with cannabinoids such as THC. It is usually well-tolerated and has a good safety profile.”
In addition, a number of cases, where CBD was documented to help children were reported in a clinical study review published in The Journal of Pediatric Pharmacology and Therapeutics. Among the improvements considered to be beneficial for CBD oil was the treatment of behavioral symptoms.
The Global Pediatric Health report also said: “CBD and similar products are still promising but not yet sufficiently proven intervention for children with ASD. Only time – and more scientific research – will tell you whether CBD oil can become the best cure for autism.
With this in mind, as with any other treatment for children, it is advisable to consult with a health professional, who has an understanding and a broad view of possible treatment before deciding to use CBD oil.
How to use CBD oil to treat autistic symptoms?
There are different uses of CBD oil, and the most appropriate one will depend on the autistic patient being treated.
It is best to use CBD oil capsules, oil drops or tincture.
CBD oil tincture or CBD oil drops will provide maximum dose control and can be added to smoothies to mask the oil and make it more enjoyable for your child.
With CBD tinctures or drops, you can adjust the dose to the literal drop until you find the amount of CBD that is appropriate for controlling the symptoms of autism.
The capsules also provide accurate dosing and can be given to the child during a morning meal or in combination with other vitamins.
Depending on the type of autism your child has, the combination of several CBD products may be the one that best suits their symptoms. For example, capsules can be used daily to induce initial improvement, while CBD oil tincture or drops can be used (bypassing the digestive system) to relieve sudden stress and anxiety symptoms as they occur.
“The results presented are very promising,” the researchers wrote, “indicating that CBD can reduce several symptoms of autism spectrum disorders, even in non-epileptic patients, significantly improving the quality of life for both… patients and caregivers.”
GW Pharmaceuticals, which patented and markets Epidiolex, a medicine for epilepsy, is also working on a medicine with Cannabis to be used to treat autism, as reported by CNN last fall.
Late last year, Rafael Mechoulam and other Israeli scientists look at “real-life experiences of Cannabis use in autism” in their latest article in 2019. It was published in Nature magazine. The study found that less than a third of patients report significant improvements and more than half report moderate improvements with CBD oil obtained from Cannabis (30% CBD, 1-2% THC). Improvements include reduced aggression and agitation, fewer seizures and better sleep, appetite and ability to concentrate. Approximately 10 – 20% of patients discontinued other medications (mainly antipsychotics and antiepileptics) within 6 months of starting Cannabis. A quarter of people experienced some negative side effects, such as sedation or anxiety, but none were severe. And about one in five discontinued treatment because it was not effective. While there is still much to be discovered about how and why CBD can improve the lives of people with autism, it is clear that Cannabis can and should be seriously researched. See the study itself.
Although CBD oil is by no means a cure for autism, research to date has shown that it can be effective for anticonvulsants, anti-inflammatory, analgesic (pain-relieving) and is recommended for its neuroprotective properties.
The information on the internet about CBD products and their use will be ambiguous, so we always recommend reading safe and reliable sources. We also use websites related to the Cannabis industry, research and education to prepare information.
The content of this site is for informational purposes only. We are not medical experts and this should not be interpreted as medical advice. Be sure to consult your doctor before undergoing CBD or other treatment.
The chemistry of every human body and brain is unique, so the use of CBD to improve mental as well as physical health does not guarantee results. However, many GWEEPRODUCTS CBD oil users have included it into their daily routine as one of the therapies for improving mental, physical health and quality of life.
Photo from Unsplash.