CBD Treatment Saves Multiple Kids’ Lives
Parents embody a certain kind of power when it comes to fighting for their children. Especially when that fight pertains to their child’s quality of life. Band several parents together and you have a full-fledged revolution.
That’s exactly what’s happening with Clara’s Clubhouse, a non-profit organization founded by three mothers in Sarasota, Florida, whose children are dealing with sensory sensitivities and Autism. Not only is the trio breaking new ground for their kids, they’re sharing their knowledge and resources with other families, too. What sparked this uprising? Cannabidiol, also known as CBD, being used for treating autism.
CBD Treating Autism
The journey of Clara’s Clubhouse began when Nikki French met with her daughter Clara’s neurologist. “He told me she’d suffered brain damage while in utero, most likely from a stroke.” The 18-month-old was diagnosed with Sensory Processing Disorder.
French began researching CBD’s impact on sensory sensitivities. At Clara’s next neurology appointment, French mentioned her findings with the doctor, who gave the idea a nod.
Together, French and the physician did research over a six-month period. During this time, Clara received a Non-Verbal Spectrum Disorder, Level II diagnosis. Six months later, Clara began a CBD protocol. Her response was immediate. The day Clara took CBD oil, she ventured, for the very first time, into the family playroom, an echo-prone space filled with bright colors and toys. French was excited.
“This showed me CBD was helping her regulate all the sensory input she was getting,” French says. “It was like something clicked in her brain.”
Clara’s progress continued. Two months later, at a one-year follow-up MRI of her brain, all the damage witnessed the prior year had resolved.
Eventually, Clara plateaued on the type of CBD oil she’d been taking, leading to French’s discovery of Lunadoil. “November 3, 2018,” French recites. “It was the day our lives changed forever.” Clara started trying to communicate and make eye contact. By her fifth day on Lunadoil, she ate an entire meal using utensils on her own. “The addition of CBG [cannabigerol] was a game-changer for us,” French says. “It was the missing link.”
Lunadoil contains a one-to-one combination of CBD and CBG, another compound found in the cannabis plant. Today, at age four, Clara takes Lunadoil twice a day, reaching a total of 0.5 milliliters. The oil tincture is placed under her tongue, where it’s absorbed into her system. As she grows, Clara’s dosage will increase.
Photo by Aleksandr_Kravtsov
Anecdotal Evidence Spreads Via Facebook
Excited by what she was seeing, French started vlogging Clara’s progress on Facebook. It caught the attention of other families dealing with issues similar to Clara’s. It also caught the eye of a news channel, which featured a story about Clara’s journey. News channels in other states spread the word. French started getting phone calls from other families.
“The opportunities with CBD are endless, as is the good it can do,” she says. “I feel I have to shout from the rooftops.”
A mother hearing French’s siren song: Sarah Magro. Her son, Isaac, who’s the same age as Clara, also has Autism and attends the same pre-school and therapy clinic. Magro, a registered nurse, saw Clara’s progress with Lunadoil firsthand – Clara was starting to talk. “Finding something to help Isaac be able to say what he’s thinking was what we were looking for.”
After meeting with Isaac’s developmental pediatrician and regular pediatrician, the Magros got the green light to start him on Lunidoil in December 2018. Within a month, the team that works with Isaac – several speech, occupational and behavior therapists – started noticing changes. He began following directions, directives he’d never even acknowledged in the past. This opened the door for expanding his therapies.
“The Lunadoil made him so much more aware of what was happening around him, and the people around him,” Magro says. A downside, “With his increased awareness, he notices stuff he doesn’t like more now, too.”
Photo: Nikki French’s Facebook page devoted to Clara’s Clubhouse
As word circulated about Clara’s success with Lunadoil, French was introduced to Mindy Bittle, whose 11-year-old son Wyatt had been using CBD oil since 2017. “We had a lot of reciprocal information to share,” Bittle says.
At some point, Wyatt, who’s also been diagnosed with Autism, began displaying self-injuring behaviors, leading the Bittles to put him on the prescription medication, Abilify. The drug sent him into liver failure. Bittle began asking her son’s doctors about using a CBD tincture for treating Autism. Eventually, she received the go-ahead. Two years in, he plateaued. After meeting French, Bittle switched Wyatt to Lunadoil. His communication and interaction levels have noticeably improved, as has his willingness to try new things.
“Between different therapies and CBD, it’s definitely a collaborative effort,” Bittle says of his treatment path. “I firmly believe CBD has enabled him not to be on any other medication. And I’d much rather give him an herbal extract than something somebody cooked up in a pharmacy.”
As excited as these parents are about the success they’ve witnessed with Lunadoil, they’d like to see a push for more testing and regulation. Magro says, “I’m hesitant to go further without some sort of research behind it telling me what’s safe.” She’s concerned about the herbal-based medication’s potential to cause liver dysfunction. An initial concern she had has been allayed. “I was afraid Lunadoil would make Isaac drowsy, but it doesn’t at all.”
On May 3, 2019, French, Magro and Bittle received the articles of incorporation for the non-profit, Clara’s Clubhouse. Yes, the trio has officially banned together. The goal stated on the Clara’s Clubhouse website: “…to make sure that all children with sensory needs have access to tools and equipment to help them find coping and self regulation.”
12 Natural Solutions for Sensory Processing Issues in Kids
“I hate this house” my oldest son screamed as he ran out the door with his hands covering his ears. We had just walked into a large gathering of families from our church and before we could even say hello, our son had already decided he’d had enough of that house. Bright lights, strong smells, loud sounds, and unknown faces were just too much for him to handle despite the hours of prepping we’d done all day.
That was two years ago, right around the time our son was first diagnosed with Autism. In some ways it feels like yesterday and in other ways it feels like ages ago. He’s come a long way since then thanks to a combination of biomedical healing, diet, natural therapies, and sensory solutions! Today, we can walk into a noisy, unfamiliar place and feel confident that our son has the ability to cope (even though he’d still prefer to be home sweet home).
Over the last few years, we’ve learned that there isn’t a “one-size-fits-all” approach to solving sensory issues in kids. Sensory dysregulation is common in kids with all types of conditions including Autism, ADHD, Sensory Processing Disorder, and many more. The best approach is a holistic approach that works to bring the whole child into balance.
We’ve worked with several different practitioners over the years and have had the privilege of gleaning from their wisdom. Here are some of the top sensory solutions that we’ve found to be helpful:
A sensory diet is an individually designed “menu” of physical activities and accommodations to provide a level of stimulation that is uniquely tailored to your child.
The goal is to find a “just right” level of sensory input for each individual child for each of the seven sensory domains (auditory, visual, tactile, gustatory, olfactory, proprioceptive, and vestibular).
Check out this post to learn about how to create a sensory diet for your child.
Calm Down Kit
Many parents and caregivers label angry kids as “bad kids” and punish their outbursts. In many cases, angry outbursts aren’t misbehavior but rather a symptom of underlying anxiety.
When kids with sensory issues feel overwhelmed, they may have trouble regulating their big feelings. Creating a safe place where they can go to calm their bodies can be extremely helpful.
A Calm Down Kit is just a collection of items from the various sensory domains that can help kids to calm their bodies. To get some ideas a free printable to help you create a Calm Down Kit, check out this post.
Many kids with developmental disorders and sensory issues are also picky eaters. This can lead to nutritional deficiencies that can make many of their troubling behaviors even worse. Thankfully, we stumbled across My Spectrum Heroes and their impressive line of nutritional products for kids with Autism, ADHD, and other neurocognitive challenges.
My Spectrum Heroes is “committed to improving the health, learning, behavior, and neurocognitive function of individuals with autism and/or ADHD by providing only the highest quality nutritional support products that have been selectively formulated based on scientific studies, clinical trials, and evidence-based research.”
Their products include powdered multi-vitamin mineral plus, probiotics, omegas, immuni-d liquid, gut immune support, and more!
Crossing the Midline
Most of the challenging behaviors that we face with our kids (think anger, aggression, tantrums, outbursts) happen because of disintegration between the right and left sides of the brain. In other words? They’re out of sync, they’ve stopped communicating, and one side is in control.
The best solution to this is to have your child re-sync their brain by crossing the midline. Crossing the midline happens anytime we cross one side of the body to the other. Check out this in-depth guide to crossing the midline for ideas on how to incorporate this into your child’s day.
Have you ever walked into a bakery and been instantly transported back to your childhood when your Grandma used to bake homemade bread? Smells have the ability to influence mood and emotions and essential oils can be a powerful tool to help with sensory issues in kids.
We always make sure to have some calming roller bottles in our calm down kits and regularly diffuse oils throughout our home. After trying out some of the top essential oil companies, we chose Plant Therapy because of their quality testing and KidSafe line of products formulated especially for the littles in our home.
You can check out this post all about peaceful child diffuser blends to help kids manage big feelings.
Let me start off by saying that CBD (hemp extract) and marijuana are not the same thing. While there is such thing as medicinal marijuana, that’s not what I’m talking about here.
Our functional medicine pediatrician who specializes in kids on the spectrum was the first to recommend that we try CBD oil for our son. I was really hesitant at first, but it’s been almost a year since we gave him that first dose, and the difference has been incredible.
From mood to behavior, social integration, sleep, and so much more. If your child won’t take CBD oil orally, there are other ways to incorporate it. Check out this post for the full scoop on CBD oil for kids.
Did you know that up to 75% of people are at risk for magnesium deficiency thanks to a steady decline in magnesium levels in soil, GMO and processed foods, chronic disease, medications, and so much more?
Numerous studies have found that children with Autism, ADD/ADHD and related disorders are more prone to magnesium deficiency and that magnesium supplementation can improve symptoms such as restlessness, hyperactivity, body rocking, poor concentration, noise sensitivity, and fidgeting (1, 2, 3, 4, 5).
You can check out some of my other posts to learn all about the health benefits of magnesium, check out how to make your own magnesium lotion, or grab the recipe for homemade magnesium gummy bears for bedtime.
Detox baths are amazing because they simultaneously provide the body with essential nutrients while removing unwanted toxins and waste. When toxins accumulate in the body and brain, they can cause issues like hyperactivity, frequent tantrums, sensory processing issues, and more in kids.
We also love to use detox baths at the first sign of illness. This is a great way to kick a cold fast and to provide the body with a big immune boost! Check out this post to learn about detox baths and grab some detox bath recipes for kids. I also have a post about making detox bath bombs for kids!
Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) is one of the primary neurotransmitters in the central nervous system. Unlike some neurotransmitters, GABA inhibits nervous system excitability—meaning it decreases things like agitation, fear, aggression, stress, and anxiety. This is a good thing when it comes to kids who struggle with sensory issues because it has a calming effect!
Most studies recommend doses between 200 and 800mg as an effective dose, but always be sure to check with your pediatrician first. GABA can be taken in a pill form (or opened and sprinkled in applesauce) or as a chewable.
Another calming supplement that our functional medicine pediatrician recommended was L-Theanine. This amino acid works hand in hand with GABA and can actually help to boost natural levels of GABA, dopamine, and serotonin. It also reduces the stress hormone, cortisol, and other stimulating brain chemicals. This can be very helpful for sensory issues, anxiety, and sleep!
We love Bioray and their tinctures with roots in Traditional Chinese Medicine that are designed specifically for kids. In addition to this Calm tincture, they also make Happy and Focus. Calm has antioxidants to support the liver, replenishes adrenal reserves, and has trace minerals. It is designed to help kids manage stress, regulate moods, promote restful sleep, and address symptoms from the inside out.
Morning Silly Moves
You know that wonderful high that you feel immediately after a workout? Turns out that it can work for kids too. And not only does it boost feel-good hormones in the brain, but it actually helps with regulating moods and emotions all day long too.
We came up with a fun 11-minute animal moves workout for kids to help improve emotional regulation. You can read all about it in this post and grab the free printable with pictures and descriptions for each silly animal move. We’ve had so many families write to tell us how much this workout has helped their little ones and we feel confident it will become a daily staple in your household too!
If your child has been struggling with sensory issues, you may feel at your wits end (I know I did most days). From battles over what to wear and frequent tantrums and meltdowns, it takes parent exhaustion to a whole new level. Thankfully, there are lots of natural ways to support your child and improve their symptoms using a holistic approach.
I hope that you’ve found some helpful ideas here to help your little person. Remember that before you start any new supplement, it’s important to speak to your child’s pediatrician. While these therapies have worked for our family, every child is unique. Your child’s primary care provider is the best person to help you figure out things like dosing, frequency, and whether or not it’s a good fit.
Have you tried any of these therapies? Leave a comment below and let me know!
New Research Touts Benefits of Medical Marijuana in Neurological Disorders
CNN – Weeds by Dr. Sanjay Gupta
I have provided a brief update on Oct. 31, 2016 to this blog about the CNN TV program Weeds, by Dr. Sanjay Gupta . Please see my update and additional links on this topic further below . Dr. Gupta had presented some compelling medical evidence of some benefits of medical marijuana in neurological and seizure disorders, as well as benefits to those undergoing chemotherapy for treatment of cancer.
In contrast to what many may think, the true medicinal aspect of marijuana , or cannabis, is not in the THC, the component that makes you high. Rather, it’s in the cannabinoids , a substance found both in the plant and as a neurotransmitter in the human brain. However, a rather complex purification process is required to produce the cannabinoids from the marijuana plant, which is produced as an oil for oral consumption.
One of the big challenges with medical cannabis, in my view, is in determining which strains and forms to use for your own medical challenges. This web site below list information on how to select your cannabis strain. And below, is a chart to assist in selecting a strain.
Sensiseeds.com – How to Select the Best Cannabis Strain for your Medical Condition
Weedmaps Medical Marijuana Ailments Cannabinoids Chart
The most well known political victims with the use of cannabis in the last several years was Charlotte , a 2 year old girl living with a progressive seizure disorder . It was her story and the growers in Colorado that really got the cannabinoids out of these plants, and catapulted these new uses in the U. S.
Charlotte’s Story on CNN
This cancer site below has been involved in research studies with cannabis and the role of cannabinoids in the human body.
Role of Cannabinoids in the Human Body
According to the center and published research, there are two different types of cannabinoid receptors in the human body, CB1 and CB2 , found in different locations and which do different things. CB1 is mostly found on cells in the nervous system, including certain areas of the brain and the ends of nerves throughout the body, while CB2 receptors are mostly found in cells from the immune system. Because of their location in the brain, it’s thought that CB1 receptors are responsible for the infamous ‘high’ (known as psychoactive effects) resulting from using cannabis.
My Own CBD Oil Trial
In 2016, I underwent my own trial of CBD oil from a recognized supplier over a two month period. This entailed two different blends of CBD : A 4:1 blend of CBD/THC, and a 24:1 blend of CBD/THC. I tried doses between 5-20 drops at a time and placed it (sublingual) under my tongue. Most of my trials were in the morning. But I also tried it in the afternoon and evening. MY RESULT : I had hoped it might help with fatigue and/or sensory (SPD) sound challenges. However, I did not find any “measurable” improvement in my complaints during my trial with these CBD products. Each vial cost me $60. And this was not covered by insurance. I was provided a prescription letter by my neurologist. My purchase and correspondence was done online. And the two vials shipped to me via mail.
As for my other supporting online material on cannabis and other forms of alternative medicine , below is a blog I authored in Sept. 2015 on alternative medicine in addiction treatment, where I discussed cannabinoids and neurotransmitters , plus I’ve written about sensory processing disorder and cognitive accessibility . In the blog below, I also discuss the challenges that addiction and other neurological disorders pose in cognitive accessibility. Further below, is a blog I’ve authored on sensory processing disorder.
Complimentary & Alternative Medicine Methods in Addiction Treatment
New Insights in Sensory Processing Disorder
Drum circle shakers come in all sizes and flavors, including, fruits and vegetables
Below, is my web page on drumming for wellness , which I have found to be very helpful in neurological disorders, movement disorders, stress-reduction, and general wellness. And below that, is a case study I wrote up on my experience with drumming in cerebral palsy and autism .
Drumming for Wellness
This music and the brain illustration depicts the areas of the brain involved in listening and playing music
Stephen Dolle facilitates a drumming for wellness workshop at a private home in Orange County
Drumming Therapy experience in Cerebral Palsy and Autism
As for productivity, my No. 1 blog on this topic is how drumming and drum circles improve brain function and productivity in the workplace.
Drum Circles in the Workplace
Drum circles help to reduce stress and stimulate the brain for optimal function in the workplace
Now it should come as no surprise that the country who has done the most amount of cannabis research is Israel . And the developed country that has done the least, is the United States. And for good reason, it is illegal to do research on it in the U. S.
Below, is a link to Dr. Raphael Mechoulam , the world renowned expert on medical cannabis :
Dr. Raphael Mechoulam
I’m not trying to make a political statement other than to report on what Dr. Gupta is sharing on CNN. The most compelling benefits in his reports have been in seizure disorders in children , which may well be a variant of x-linked hydrocephalus, where the children often have marked developmental and birth anomalies . In addition, many patients with hydrocephalus suffer seizures, with reports ranging up to 1/3 of those with hydrocephalus . It would seem cannabis could offer benefits to these individuals with hydrocephalus.
Lastly, below is a blog I authored in late 2015 on Nootropics, which are vitamin supplements that help to raise levels of neurotransmitters and related chemicals in the brain, as well as improve memory and productivity.
Nootropics help improve Brain Function and Productivity
Nootropics boost Brain Function and Performance
You be the judge as to whether you think you might benefit from newer strains of cannabis and CBD oil . I would like to see further research done to better understand the types & amounts needed to provide benefits in a range of disorders. Unfortunately for me, this single trial of CBS oil did not produce any measurable benefit. But I feel that it is likely that further research will lead to new information on its use in illness.
Contact me for more information on speaking , consulting , or to schedule a drum circle .
Drum Circle Facilitation, Neurological Hydrocephalus Consults, mHealth