cbd oil for sutism

Study: CBD-Dominant Extracts Associated with Behavioral Improvements in Children with Autism

Istanbul, Turkey: The long-term use of cannabis extracts containing high percentages of CBD and low percentages of THC is associated with reduced symptoms in adolescent patients with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), according to data published the Journal of Cannabis Research.

Turkish investigators reported on the use of CBD-dominant extracts in a cohort of 33 adolescent subjects diagnosed with mild-to-severe autism. Authors reported: “[M]ain improvements of the treatment were as follows: a decrease in behavioral problems was reported in 10 patients (32.2 percent), an increase in expressive language was reported in 7 patients (22.5 percent), improved cognition was reported in 4 patients (12.9 percent), an increase in social interaction was reported in 3 patients (9.6 percent), and a decrease in stereotypes was reported in 1 patient (3.2 percent). The parents reported improvement in cognition in patients who adhered to CBD-enriched cannabis treatment for over two years.”

Six patients reported no significant improvements in behavior.

Compared to conventional treatments, cannabis extracts were not associated with any significant side effects.

Authors concluded, “Using lower doses of CBD and trace THC seems to be promising in managing behavioral problems associated with autism.”

The study’s findings are consistent with those of several other small trials similarly finding improvements in patients’ ASD symptoms following the use of cannabinoid products. Survey data published in October by the publication Autism Parenting Magazine reported that 22 percent of US caregivers or parents have provided CBD to an autistic child. Survey data from the United Kingdom recently reported that autistic adults were nearly four times as likely as controls to report having used CBD within the past year.

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Full text of the study, “CBD-enriched cannabis for autism spectrum disorder: An experience of a single center in Turkey and reviews of the literature,” appears in the Journal of Cannabis Research. Additional information on cannabis and autism spectrum disorder is available from NORML.

Study: CBD-Rich Cannabis Can Treat ‘Multiple Symptoms’ of Autism

“The results reported here are very promising,” the researchers wrote, “and indicate that CBD-enriched [cannabis] may ameliorate multiple [autism spectrum disorder] symptoms. BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images It’s pure coincidence that autism—a broad term used to describe a spectrum of behaviors our society has deemed “aberrant”—became known and more widely diagnosed at the same time medical cannabis use was normalized in the United States.

The timing alone meant it was probably inevitable that weed would be used to try and “treat” autism, which affects one out of every 68 children born in the country and has no known “cure,” but there’s also the handy and salient fact that, according to a heap of anecdotal evidence, CBD-rich cannabis oil seems to help.

A growing body of clinical research attesting to cannabis’s success in treating autism continues to expand. In one of the latest studies, published in the most recent issue of the journal Frontiers in Neurology, patients with autism receiving “CBD-enriched” cannabis oil showed vast improvements in social interaction and communication, as well as other neurological benefits.

The first cannabis-based pharmaceutical drugs allowed in the United States have been to treat children with severe epilepsy. The conditions in the brain that lead to epileptic seizures may also somehow be related to the conditions—the “etiological mechanisms,” in researcher-speak—that lead to non-epileptic autism.

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The cannabinoid that appears to treat these conditions is CBD, or cannabidiol, which appears to have value as a “neuroprotectant,” an intervention that allows the brain to function “better,” as well as an anti-inflammatory agent. So there’s some logic, as well as science, behind the approach.

In this most recent study, researchers in Brazil monitored the progress of 18 patients with autism over a period of up to nine months. Each of the patients received a CBD-rich cannabis sativa extract with a CBD to THC ratio of 75 to 1. The patients received 4.6 milligrams of CBD per kilogram of body weight to 0.06 milligrams of THC—a not insignificant dose for someone weighing more than 100 pounds.

Three patients discontinued the treatment because of “adverse effects” during the first month, but of the 15 who continued, 14 showed “some level of improvement” in multiple categories of symptoms.

Nine of the patients—the ones who did not also have epilepsy as well as autism—showed “improvement equal to or above 30%” in at least one of the categories monitored, and four patients showed significant improvement in at least four categories, including social interaction and function, as well as the ability to sleep and stay focused.

It’s hard to say with certainty whether the CBD was doing the work or was merely one tool in a box doing its share of the work. But as the researchers noted, 10 of the 15 patients were on other medications prior to starting the study—and nine of the 10 still showed improvement after cutting out or reducing their other, non-cannabis medications.

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“The results reported here are very promising,” the researchers wrote, “and indicate that CBD-enriched [cannabis] may ameliorate multiple [autism spectrum disorder] symptoms even in non-epileptic patients, with substantial increase in life quality for both … patients and caretakers.”

As it happens, the pharmaceutical industry seems well aware of this potential: GW Pharmaceuticals, which patented and markets Epidiolex, the drug for epileptic children, is also working on developing a cannabis-derived drug that would be used to treat autism, as CNN’s Sanjay Gupta reported in September.

But this enthusiasm is not yet shared by researchers and doctors whose job it is to treat the condition.

“To date, there is limited research, and no evidence, on the potential short-term, long-term or neurodevelopmental risks and benefits of medical marijuana or its related compounds in ASD,” the Autism Science Foundation says on its website.

They’re not entirely wrong—there does need to be more evidence and successful clinical trials, including standardized dosing, before experts can endorse such a treatment—but it also seems clear that many parents and caretakers are unwilling to wait and happy to try cannabis. That’s why a growing number of states where medical cannabis is legal, including Texas, allow patients with autism to access cannabis oil.