CBD and Autism

Posted by Dr. Bee and Matt on 27th Sep 2017

The United States has recently made medical marijuana increasingly legal and accessible in states across the country. Along with this regulation change, there is also an increase in the research that is being done that’s trying to learn and understand all the benefits that stem from this natural herb. The cannabinoids – THC and cannabidiol (CBD) - are starting to show effectiveness in helping various illnesses and disorders.

One major disorder that researchers are looking at is Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). These disorders are typically involving the brain and present social-communication challenges. Suffers of ASD also experience issues with activities, repetitive behaviors, and the interests of people afflicted. Recently, researchers have been looking at the effects of cannabidiol and how it might work to help some of the challenges that come along with ASD. Thus far, the results have been promising.

There have not been any verified clinical studies on the healing power relationship between hemp oil and autism, but there have been plenty of cases from healthcare providers and parents that are praising the benefits that cannabidiol has been supplying to individuals with the condition.

Clinical studies can sometimes take years to get approved because of our current regulations that U.S. authorities’ have set forth. Because of this, doctors are still a little hesitant to prescribe hemp oil as a treatment option for ASD. Regardless, there have been an array of studies that are showing cannabidiol as a natural, effective treatment option for those with autism.

The anecdotal evidence of this type of treatment is pretty widespread. A child with autism so bad he couldn’t speak came to clinical psychologist Dr. Giovanni Martinez in Puerto Rico. Dr. Martinez prescribed the child to hemp oil and after three weeks of use, the child spoke his first words. The mother of the kid reported that after the communication improvement, the child’s random outbursts also subsided, most likely as a result of being able to communicate better.

In 2013, Dr. Siniscalco conducted a study that found some compounds typically found in cannabis are able to help with treatment because of CB2 receptors being a therapeutic target for pharmacological management of care for autism.

Dr. Csaba Foldy led another study in 2013 that found, “endocannabinoids are molecules that are critical regulators of normal neuron activity and are important for many brain functions. By conducting studies in mice, we found that neuroliginb-3, a protein that is mutated in some individuals with autism, is important for relaying signals that tone down communication between neurons.”

Even though there is an abundance of anecdotal evidence, clinical studies must be done to get doctors on board with prescribing the natural medicine as treatment for autism.

Luckily, Dr. Adi Aran, an Isreal-based pediatric neurologist led the first clinical study on cannabis as a treatment for autism. In his study, two types of cannabis oil formulas or a placebo was given to participants. They are finding reductions in symptoms and improvements in the overall mood of the participants.

Dr. Aran cautions about jumping to conclusions about cannabidiol as an effective treatment for autism, but he feels optimistic about what he’s seen so far.