Autism spectrum disorder (ASD), or simply, autism is a neurological disorder wherein a child’s ability to learn, communicate, and interact is impaired. According to one American Academy of Pediatrics report, one in 40 children in the United States suffers from the disorder.
The range of symptoms of autism and their severity vary widely. The most common symptoms include repetitive behavior, obsessive interests, inability to interact socially, and some in cases, difficulty in learning.
There’s no treatment available for the disease. But, advance recognition, along with educational, behavioral, and family therapies can help in mitigating the severity of the symptoms, and aid learning and development.
Cannabidiol or CBD is a compound derived from the cannabis plant, and nowadays, many families are opting for CBD to alleviate the symptoms of autism. CBD for the treatment of autism is probably the most controversial treatment for the disorder.
CBD oil, the most popular form of CBD, has only traces (0.3%) of THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) in it. THC is the compound, which is responsible for the psychedelic effects of cannabis, and getting you “high”. So, it can’t technically get you intoxicated. Today, CBD is widely available in medical marijuana dispensaries, and health stores across the country, in liquid, gel, and cream forms.
Although the scientific evidence regarding the subject is ongoing, it has been reported that CBD can certainly help in reducing stress for individuals suffering from autism, reduce self-injurious behaviors and aggression, and also lessen social anxiety. In this article, we try to discover the possible health benefits of CBD for people on the autism spectrum and studies conducted on the subject.
Can CBD Oil Help Mitigate Symptoms of Autism?
We discussed that CBD contains traces of the psychoactive compound, THC, and will not get individuals suffering from autism intoxicated, unlike patients using marijuana for medical purposes. Now, CBD oil can not only alleviate the symptoms of autism, as mentioned earlier, but it can also help in reducing seizures in children arising from epilepsy. Also, since medical marijuana isn’t legal in many states, parents are opting for CBD oil as a treatment for their children, due to its accessibility and availability.
In April 2018, a study involving 60 children suffering from autism was conducted, and a group of Israeli researchers reported that CBD oil reduced the behavioral, communication, and anxiety symptoms induced from autism.
Most children on the autism spectrum report that using CBD oil provides similar alleviation of symptoms as conventional anticonvulsants and anti-anxiety medications do, but with lesser side effects. Scientists are still studying how CBD oil can help relieve the symptoms, but for most families, anecdotal evidence is adequate for now.
Risks Associated with Using CBD Oil for Autism
Most studies conducted on CBD suggest that it’s safe to dispense to children, but there are a few side effects that a parent must watch out for-
- Anxiety and depression
- Dry mouth
- Low blood pressure or hypotension
Another issue surrounding the usage of CBD is that due to limited evidence available, how the compound gets absorbed in a child’s body is obscure. Also, most doctors fear that the concentration of CBD might differ in each batch produced. According to the Child Mind Institute, since every lab where CBD oil gets produced isn’t approved, the THC content in some CBD oils may be higher.
For most children, though, the health advantages supersede the side effects. However, before administering CBD oil to your ward, it’s essential to be fully informed about it, and consulting a doctor is indispensable in this regard.
Does CBD Oil Reduce Aggression Due to Autism?
The anecdotal evidence received from parents who’re administering CBD oil to their children seems to be overwhelmingly promising. Some parents reveal how taking lighter doses of CBD has helped their children control anger and rage, and other parents report that the instances of self-injurious and belligerent tendencies have lowered.
Lester Grinspoon, MD, in 2010, insisted doctors and scientists take the anecdotal evidence available seriously and carry out further scientific research on the impacts of CBD oil on aggression arising from autism. Most scientists involved with CBD research tend to concentrate more on the causes of autism aggression rather than directing the efforts towards finding ways to control the aggression that children suffering from autism and their families have to deal with, daily.
CBD oil for controlling anger and rage amongst children with autism has been wholeheartedly welcomed by families, who vainly earlier tried conventional medications for the same purpose. As more scientific evidence is available in the future about medical marijuana, CBD, and autism, probably then researchers and doctors will have a better understanding of how CBD oil interacts with a child’s brain and its effectiveness.
Benefits for Epilepsy and Autism
Researchers believe there’s a strong link between autism and epilepsy, which is another neurological disorder involving frequent seizures. According to the American Epilepsy Society (AES), 30 percent of children suffering from autism also get diagnosed with epilepsy. Scientists suggest that these seizures related to epilepsy may be due to differences in brain maturity, which dissociates neurons from cells.
CBD oil has certain anticonvulsant properties that help in controlling seizures and epilepsy. CBD International believes that these characteristics target different regions in the brain, such as glutamate receptor antagonists, the GATA system, calcium ion channels, and sodium ion channels. It affects the functioning of neurotransmitters responsible for the communication of messages and alters how ions flow into and out of the neurons, reducing the frequency of having seizures.
Is Prescription Required to Buy CBD Oil?
No, a doctor’s prescription may not be needed when you purchase CBD oil for your child. But, consulting a doctor is important since they can help you identify and select the most effective product, according to your ward’s requirements. If medical marijuana is illegal where you live, you can buy CBD oil from any health food store. Many brands are selling CBD oil, so make sure that you check the ethics adopted by the company during the formulation of the product, and its reviews. This will allow you to determine the best CBD oil for your child.
What Dosage Should You Administer to Your Child?
Presently, there are limited studies on the dosage of CBD oil, so you’ve experimented with different dosages and find out the most effective dosage for your child. The desired dosage will depend on the severity of your child’s symptoms and the potency of the CBD oil. Your child’s physician can help you work out the dosage. For CBD oil, doses are measured as “drops”. If you’ve any concerns regarding how your child is responding to the dosage of CBD oil, make sure you inform the doctor immediately.
Many parents vacillate whether to administer CBD to their children or not because they’re concerned about its safety and the legal laws in their region. This is a genuine concern to be apprehensive about. So, it’s imperative for parents to research the legislation regarding CBD and medical marijuana in their state.
When it comes to selecting the safest supplement, always check the THC content of the product, and if the lab it has been prepared in, is certified. It’s also important to consult with a physician who can guide you on selecting the most effective and potent CBD oil for your kid.