Is Cannabidiol the Future of Autism Treatment?

//Is Cannabidiol the Future of Autism Treatment?

Is Cannabidiol the Future of Autism Treatment?

By |2018-12-18T11:15:10-06:00December 18th, 2018|Blogs|0 Comments
Cannabidiol, also known as CBD, may play a key role in the future treatment of autism spectrum disorder (ASD).  CBD is one of the main components of the cannabis plant which produces none of the psychoactive effects caused by the more commonly known cannabinoid, THC.  Researchers have begun to consider CBD as a potential candidate for the treatment of ASD and are currently beginning clinical trials to determine its safety and efficacy.

The causes of autism are not fully understood and there is currently no cure.  Unfortunately, autism is becoming more and more common.  In 2004, the CDC estimated that 1 in 166 children would be diagnosed with autism; by 2018, that number was changed to 1 in 59, nearly triple the previous rate.  Traditionally, doctors have attempted to treat symptoms of autism with anti-psychotic medications, which often have harmful side effects and are unideal for children.

Autism also has a broad range of symptoms and severities.  The most noticeable symptoms include deficits in social communication, restricted and repetitive patterns of behavior, interests or activities and often intellectual disabilities.  Comorbidities can include sleep disorders, attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD/HDHD) and epilepsy.  Interestingly, while less than 2% of the population suffers from epilepsy, nearly 1/3 of individuals with autism have epilepsy, as well.  CBD is known to be extremely effective for treating epilepsy and many who have administered CBD to autistic individuals for their epilepsy have noticed improvements in other autistic behaviors.  There have been enough claims that CBD is beneficial in treating autism symptoms that New York University (NYU) neurologist Dr. Orrin Devinsky, the same scientist who did research on Epidiolex (the only FDA-approved CBD drug), is now conducting two studies on how CBD affects children aged 5 to 18 with moderate to severe autism.

While no studies have yet proven the efficacy of CBD for the treatment of ASD symptoms, there is sufficient evidence to prompt clinical trials to explore the effects of CBD on autism.  CBD could be the future of treating ASD, offering a natural, well-tolerated alternative to traditional pharmaceutical drug therapies.

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