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Autism is a developmental disorder caused by a mix of genetic mutations and environmental factors that affects 1 in 59 children in the United States according to the latest survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

 

The characteristics of autism are particular to each afflicted individual and vary across the spectrum.  Unfortunately, there is no cure for autism, but CBD has recently provided hope to many for managing the effects of this disorder. There are testimonials all over the internet by parents of children with autism who discuss the benefits of CBD, primarily its effect on seizures. The therapeutic properties of cannabis, primarily of the CBD, help alleviate some of the negative behavioral effects of the disease, such as anxiety and epileptic seizures.

Infographic by: Autism Speaks

Today we have a lot of ongoing research regarding children, where the main objective is to know if this type of treatment is 100% safe, tolerable, without side effects, and effective. Unfortunately, there is practically no study validating the idea that cannabis is an available option for the treatment of autism yet.

 

However, every day we gain new beneficial information and success stories regarding the treatment of autism using cannabis. There are several reports from parents claiming their children benefited positively after including cannabis in their treatment, such as a decline in aggressive behavior, a significant decrease in seizures, improved speech, including children who did not speak before and achieved significant results in a short period of time after their first dose of CBD oil. This is what generates hope in other parents who seek comfort and a better quality of life for their children. Always remember that before using any product derived from the cannabis plant, your doctor should be consulted.

What is Autism?

 

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a general condition of a brain development disorder.  The disorders are characterized by difficulties in social communication and repetitive behaviors, besides being associated with intellectual disability, difficulties in coordination and attention, in some cases, hyperactivity, dyslexia, dyspraxia, anxiety, and depression.

 

Autism is a very complex disorder because it’s a spectrum of disorders that affect brain development. While autism affects each person differently, there are symptoms in common:

Infographic by Charitysub  / 2014

Relationship Between Autism and Epilepsy

 

Epilepsy is a brain disorder marked by recurring seizures. It affects a third to a fifth of people who have autism. The autism-epilepsy overlap appears to be most common among people who also have an intellectual disability.

 

Researchers propose that some of the developmental brain changes associated with autism also contribute to seizures. These differences in brain development appear to cause changes in the activity of brain nerve cells or neurons. Neurons process and transmit information and send signals to the rest of the body. Certain disturbances in their activity can cause seizures.

Identifying and effectively treating epilepsy is critically important, given the potential for brain damage and death from uncontrolled seizures. While the association between epilepsy and autism is well known, diagnosis can be challenging because seizures are not always outwardly evident, and many people with autism have difficulty recognizing and communicating their symptoms.

How does CBD work?

 

From the moment that you start using a product that contains cannabidiol, whether it is edible or inhaled, you allow this compound to enter your body, into your bloodstream, and into your brain. As soon as it arrives, the cannabidiol interacts with specific receptors on the neurons called cannabinoids receptors, found in the cannabinoid systems that are spread throughout several areas of our nervous system.

The endocannabinoid system moves in a reverse direction when compared to neurotransmitters. It moves up to the neurons and attaches to the cannabinoid receptors of the neuron that will send a “message”. Once there, the cannabinoids are able to control what happens the next time the neurons activate and can effectively motivate good changes to the body and mind

CBD benefits

 

CBD has shown promising results as a treatment for a variety of conditions, many of which are otherwise not treatable. The most well-known properties are the neuroprotective, anticonvulsant, anti-inflammatory and analgesic, besides possessing therapeutic value to treat conditions like depression, anxiety, and dependence. You can learn more about CBD in our article by clicking here.

Disclaimer: This information is not intended to diagnose any medical condition or to replace your healthcare professional. Consult with your healthcare professional to design an appropriate treatment for your medical condition.

Can CBD Help?

 

There is still no concrete scientific evidence to prove that CBD is an effective treatment for autism or epilepsy, therefore, many people are skeptical of the process and the ethics behind it. Fortunately, many researchers are conducting research trials to discover advanced science to back the CBD claims:

 

 

  • Cannabidiol Based Medical Cannabis in Children with Autism- a Retrospective Feasibility Study

    This retrospective study assessed the safety, tolerability, and efficacy of cannabidiol (CBD) based medical cannabis, as an adjuvant therapy, for refractory behavioral problems in children with ASD. Following the cannabis treatment, behavioral outbreaks were much improved or very much improved in 61% of patients. The anxiety and communication problems were much or very much improved by 39% and 47% respectively. Disruptive behaviors were improved by 29% following the treatment. Parents reported less stress as reflected in the APSI (Autism Parenting Stress Index) scores, changing by 33%. The effect on all outcome measures was more apparent in boys with non-syndromic ASD. Adverse events included sleep disturbances (14%) irritability (9%) and loss of appetite (9%).

 

  • Study to Explore Whether Cannabis Compound Eases Severe Symptoms of Autism

    Considered the most promising study about the relationship between cannabis and autism, this project was kickstarted with a donation of $4.7 million to the Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research (CMCR) at the UC San Diego School of Medicine. (This is considered the largest private donation to date for medicinal cannabis research in the US)The goals of the study include whether cannabis treatment is safe, tolerable, and effective in children with autism. The scientists predict research using the CBD for treatment, the substance of the plant that does not cause psychoactive effects and is most suitable for medical purposes. In addition, they seek to conclude whether the CBD alters the chemical messengers known as neurotransmitters, and how this process occurs, whether it is capable of improving brain connectivity and whether there is any change in biomarkers of brain inflammation, a symptom also associated with autism.

 

  • Clinical will test if the cannabis compound can treat autism

    Researchers in New York are preparing to conduct one of the largest studies on non-psychoactive compounds of cannabis for the treatment of autism. The tests will be conducted at Montefiore Medical Center and NYU Langone on children and adolescents aged 5 to 18 diagnosed with severe autism. The study consists of being double-blind, where neither the children nor the researchers know who is getting a placebo instead of the cannabis compound.

 

  • Cannabinoids in the Treatment of Epilepsy: Hard Evidence at Last?

    According to this research published in 2017 by the Journal of Epilepsy Research: “The results of these studies demonstrate that, at a dosage of 20 mg/kg/day, CBD added on to pre-existing AED treatment is superior to placebo in reducing the frequency of convulsive (tonic-clonic, tonic, clonic, and atonic) seizures in patients with Dravet syndrome, and the frequency of drop seizures in patients with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome. In the latter patients, a dosage of 10 mg/kg/day treatment was also superior to placebo. Therefore there is now for the first time class 1 evidence that CBD improves seizure control when added on to other AEDs in patients with two difficult-to-treat epileptic encephalopathies. “

Conclusion

 

Associating CBD with autism treatment is still something very new. However, its benefits are already proven in relation to disorders such as anxiety, hyperactivity, attention deficit and seizures, which are some very common symptoms among ASD patients. Definitive studies around the subject are currently happening and hopefully, the results will be even more optimistic than we expect.

 

You can check our CEO’s personal history with CBD by going to How CBD Helped My Son

 

Disclaimer: This information is not intended to diagnose any medical condition or to replace your healthcare professional. Consult with your healthcare professional to design an appropriate treatment for your medical condition.

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