Can cannabis help with autism in children ?

The number of children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) has tripled worldwide in the last 30 years. Can cannabis help with autism in children ?

autism sign

There is now irrefutable evidence that disharmonisation of the endocannabinoid system (ES) is related and that some people with ASD have reduced ES function. So how can cannabis help with autism in children ?

The term autism, derived from the Greek word “auta” meaning “self”, was first used in the 1940s to describe children with the behavioural characteristics we now call ASD.

Little is known about why ASD develops. Genetic factors may play a role, as does the fact that children are born later in life. A possible link between exposure to heavy metals during pregnancy has also been suspected. In some cases, children as young as two years old show the first signs of ASD, leading to unproven theories that childhood vaccinations may play a role.

Regardless of the cause, parents are suddenly faced with the challenge of coping with a range of developing behaviours and physical symptoms, often with little support or information from clinicians.

When their child is at the more severe end of the spectrum and behaves aggressively towards themselves or others, doctors often prescribe medication such as antipsychotics, antidepressants or tranquillisers to prevent violent outbursts.

Perhaps this is why cannabis – particularly CBD – is now so much in the spotlight, as it has been reported to not only improve many of the behavioural problems associated with ASD, but also to alleviate some associated co-occurring conditions such as inflammatory bowel disease, sleep disorders.

Can cannabis help with autism in children through its effect on endocannabinoid system?

Happy child in the cannabis field. Can cannabis help with autism in children through its effect on endocannabinoid system?

In a 2019 review paper titled “Linking the endocannabinoid system to autism spectrum disorders: a review and potential for therapy”, the researchers state: “New evidence strongly links the endocannabinoid system to the pathophysiology of several neuropsychiatric disorders and ASD. In addition, evidence from the literature suggests that cannabinoids may alleviate many conditions associated with ASD, such as seizures, gastrointestinal problems, anxiety and depression, attention deficit disorder, and sleep problems. “

Parents confirm this. In 2019, Israeli researchers surveyed the parents of 53 children and adolescents aged 4 to 22 who had taken CBD oil drops for an average of 66 days. Self-harm and anger decreased by almost 68%, hyperactivity improved by 68%, 71% slept better and 47% had less anxiety. In some cases, symptoms worsened: 24% seemed more anxious, for example. Otherwise, the results were mostly positive. Slight changes in appetite and a feeling of sleepiness were reported by some as side effects of CBD.

Another study, published in Nature in 2019, analysed data from 188 children with ASD who were treated with technical hemp – mostly CBD-rich hemp oil – from 2015 to 2017. After six months of treatment, just under a third of participants reported significant improvement and more than half reported moderate improvement on a quality of life questionnaire measuring mood and ability to function independently.

Of course, more research is needed to make more specific recommendations, but even then, cannabis is worth talking to a doctor who knows cannabis therapies well. In some cases, children can experience remarkable improvements with very small doses, says Dr. B. Goldstein, author of Cannabis is Medicine and director of the Canna Centre, a California medical practice dedicated to educating patients about the use of cannabis for serious and chronic health problems.

“I had a patient, a little boy, who came to me with autism,” Goldstein says, “and the parents were desperate.” So they tried a small dose of CBD before coming to my office, and they told me that after only a week with such a small dose, the teacher had noticed that the child was getting better. The teacher did not know that the boy was taking CBD oil. But one day the boy’s mother stopped him after school and asked, “Okay, what’s wrong? What’s different? Even at this low dose, like 4 or 5 milligrams, they saw this incredible benefit in this kid.”

autism and thc, cbd

On the other hand, Dr Goldstein also sees patients who need much higher doses, and no one can really say why, because CBD works at the cellular level and is not easily measured.

“You can’t tell exactly what’s working for someone based on their weight or their disease state.” You don’t know until you try it,” he says.

Another topic on how can cannabis help with autism

Published by Sakul


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