Autism or Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), a developmental disorder causing a mix of environmental factors and genetic mutations, affect one in 59 children in the U.S. Sadly, there isn’t cure for it yet. However, cannabidiol (CBD) has in recent years provided hope to a lot of patients to effectively manage its symptoms. Parents of kids with autism have testified over the web regarding CBD benefit, especially its role on seizure reduction. CBD’s therapeutic benefits aid in alleviating a couple of the adverse behavioral effects of autism, like epileptic seizures and anxiety. While there is virtually no research confirming the idea that CBD is a viable option in treating the disorder yet, we obtain new success stories and useful information about the health benefits of the cannabinoid for autism.
How CBD works
Whether it is inhaled or edible, as soon as you begin taking a product containing CBD, the compound gets into your bloodstream and moves its way up to your brain. The moment it reaches the brain, the CBD interacts with certain neuron receptors referred to as cannabinoids receptors. They are located in the cannabinoid systems which are scattered across the nervous system.
Unlike neurotransmitters, the endocannabinoid system (ECS) reverses direction. It goes up to the neurons and links with neuron’s cannabinoid receptors to deliver a message. The moment it arrives, the cannabinoids manage to control what takes place the next time the neurons are activated and may promote positive changes to the mind and to the body as a whole.
CBD’s potential in treating various ailments, a lot of which are considered not treatable yet, is quite promising. Its widely-known potentials include anticonvulsant, neuroprotective, analgesic, and anti-inflammatory, aside from having medicinal value to treat conditions such as dependence, anxiety, and depression.
A retrospective feasibility study of CBD-based medical cannabis among children with autism
To investigate the adjuvant potential of CBD to treat refractory behavioral problems among children with autism, a retrospective feasibility study was conducted to examine its efficacy, tolerability, and safety of CBD-based medical cannabis. The results after the administration of the cannabis treatment showed improvement in the behavioral behaviors of more than 60% of patients. Communication and anxiety issue, meanwhile, was much improved by 47% and 39%, respectively. Parents, on the other hand, indicated less stress as shown in the Autism Parenting Stress Index (APSI) scores, which changed by over 30%. Among boys with non-syndromic ASD, the effect of the treatment across all outcome measures was more obvious: loss of appetite (9%), irritability (9%), and sleep disturbances (14%).
A clinical trial to test if CBD can treat autism will soon take place
New York researchers are about to conduct one of the biggest studies on CBD in treating ASD. The clinical trial will be done among adolescents and children aged five to 18 suffering from severe autism at Montefiore Medical Center and NYU Langone. The research involves a double-blind experiment, where neither the researchers nor the children know who will receive the experimental treatment or the placebo.
Cannabinoids in treating epilepsy.
A study published in the Journal of Epilepsy Research in 2017 stated that at a daily dosage of 20 mg/kg CBD mixed with pre-existing treatment to AED is more effective to placebo in frequency reduction of convulsive seizure (atonic, clonic, tonic and tonic-clonic) among patients with Dravet syndrome, as well as with frequency reduction of seizures in patients diagnosed with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome. A daily 10 mg/kg treatment for the latter was also more effective to placebo. This is an important study showing class 1 evidence of CBD’s potential to enhance seizure control for the first time when mixed with other AEDs in patients suffering from two epileptic encephalopathies that are not easy to treat.
More studies are being conducted in hopes that results will be even more optimistic than we think.