How CBD Works For Autism Spectrum Disorders
Autism spectrum disorders refers to a group of developmental disorders that results from genetic mutations combined with environmental factors. Autism is the most severe kind of autism spectrum disorder, but other forms include Asperger syndrome, pervasive developmental Asperger syndrome, and childhood disintegrative disorder.
With one in 59 kids in the USA suffering from autism spectrum disorders, they all risk not being able to enjoy normal lives without proper management because there is no one form of standardized treatment for autistic children. Currently, treatment for autism spectrum disorders is usually focused on skill-oriented training and intervention to teach children language and social skills. This may be combined with medications and other forms of treatment for depression, anxiety, or obsessive-compulsive behavior.
Finding treatment approaches to autism is challenging because the symptoms of this condition vary greatly from person to person. The very nature of autism means that it affects normal development of the brain. Generally speaking, the symptoms may include repetitive behaviors, difficulties in social communication, attention and coordination issues, limited range of interests, and delayed or disordered language. In more severe cases, kids with autism may also have dyslexia, anxiety, depression, hyperactivity, and dyspraxia. Because of this, autism spectrum disorders can seriously impact the manner in which a person, or child, interacts with his environment.
Abnormal neurotransmitter activity and brain irregularities are common among infants and children with autism spectrum disorders. These suggest that the condition is caused by a disruption in healthy brain development due to the presence of defective genes which hinder normal communication among brain cells.
CBD Is Safe & Effective For Autism Spectrum Disorders
Cannabidiol (CBD) has been shown to be effective in treating many forms of autism spectrum disorder. Research shows that there is a link between the CB2 receptors in our endocannabinoid system and autism.
The studies proving CBD’s efficacy for autism only continues to grow. A study conducted by Israeli researchers this year showed that in 60 children with autism, 80% showed great improvements after treatment with CBD. The study, led by Dr. Adi Aran, director of pediatric neurology at the Shaare Zedek Hospital in Jerusalem, involved administering the children with a cannabis oil containing 20% CBD and 1% THC. The children were monitored during the 7-month treatment period, after which their parents were asked to answer a series of questions about their child. The parents reported a significant reduction in problematic behavior and anxiety, while half of the children improved in their communication.
Another study, this time retrospective in nature, analyzed the safety, efficacy, and tolerability of CBD for treating refractory behavioral problems in children with autism spectrum disorders. After being administered with cannabis treatment, researchers found that behavioral outbreaks were either very much improved or very improved, and this was observed among 61% of the patients. Additionally, communication problems and anxiety was reduced by 47% and 39% respectively; and disruptive behaviors dropped by 29% after treatment. Using the Autism Parenting Stress Index (APSI) scores, parents also reported less stress in their children.
Although many parents are already choosing to medicate their autistic children with cannabis and CBD, it would help to have more research available on the subject. Earlier this year, the Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research (CMCR) at UC San Diego School of Medicine received a $4.7 million donation to study the effects of cannabis on the symptoms of autism. The gift, which is the biggest private donation for cannabis research in the United States to date, seeks to go deep into the link between cannabis and autism; we know it does work, but how exactly? Researchers at UC San Diego will be undergoing groundbreaking research and trials, using advanced math, genetic techniques, and clinical science to hopefully come up with more reliable information.
“The more severe manifestations of autism are difficult to treat, causing parents to look for non-traditional remedies,” says Igor Grant MD, CMCR director and professor of psychiatry. “There are unconfirmed reports that cannabidiol could be helpful, but there are no careful studies to document either its benefits or its safety. This gift will enable our researchers to develop and implement a translational program of research that pairs a clinical trial with detailed neurobehavioral observation, as well as basic science studies to determine if cannabidiol holds therapeutic promise, and if so, via what mechanisms.”