For those of us impacted by autism spectrum disorders, the search for treatments to minimize symptoms is nothing new. If CBD could provide relief from autism symptoms for our loved ones, it would be a game-changer…right?
Good news: we may be moving in that direction.
Autism Spectrum Disorders By The Numbers
Most of us have been impacted by a disorder that falls somewhere on the autism spectrum, be it our children, relative, someone in our community, or ourselves. Today, 1 in 59 children has been identified as having symptoms consistent with autism spectrum disorders compared to 2000 when it was 1 in 150. (1)
Researchers are still working on understanding autism and its cause; however, autism-related disorders remain a mystery. Symptoms can range in type and severity but can include:
- Difficulty communicating
- Struggles to connect
- Sensory hypersensitivity
- Emotional outbursts
- Lack of eye-contact
- Inability to understand emotional cues
- Lack of coordination
While CBD cannot “cure” autism, it may be helpful in minimizing the symptoms – like those listed above – especially those that are closely tied to the central nervous system. This is because of how it interacts with the endocannabinoid system which we will get to shortly.
CBD As An Alternative For Autism Treatment
CBD is a stark alternative to other, more traditional, treatment options. Because the symptoms relating to autism vary greatly from one individual to another, treatments also vary, along with the side effects that those treatments may cause. Often, the medications prescribed are recommended on a trial basis until an ideal regimen is determined.
In many cases, the most prescribed drug is an anti-psychotic, Risperdal. This powerful drug has many side effects including:
Because this drug is often prescribed during childhood after an autism diagnosis, it can have lasting, dangerous effects. Wouldn’t an all-natural option (like CBD) be more desirable?
For this reason, it’s no surprise that the cannabinoid has been gaining rapid attention for its potential in providing relief without side effects.
The Endocannabinoid System And Autism
Our bodies are each designed with an endocannabinoid system. This system helps regulate the central nervous system. When activated and healthy, it helps promote a sense of balance and well-being throughout the body.
In many cases, the central nervous system is affected by autism symptoms. While doctors and researchers continue to search for the mechanism behind this (the “why”) it’s logical that it could help provide relief because it helps to provide regulation and balance for the body.
Additionally, children diagnosed with autism often display a limited immune response. Because CBD has a proven ability to boost the immune system, it may be a valuable addition to other autism spectrum treatments including behavioral therapy, occupational therapy, and other traditional medications. (3)
Research On Hemp CBD Oil And Autism
Though using cannabinoids to treat autism symptoms began to gain interest in 2010, actual studies and medical research are in the very early stages. (4)
One of the most promising studies was carried out by the UC San Diego School of Medicine. This study looks into how the endocannabinoid system may be linked to reducing symptoms associated with autism due to its role in social reward response, neural development, circadian rhythm, and anxiety regulation – all of which are often affected by autism spectrum disorders. (5)
Another study performed by Israeli researchers over a seven-month period in 2018 found a reduction of autism-related symptoms in 80% of enrolled participants. Those enrolled in the study were selected based on a lack of improvement from traditional therapies and treatments. Using CBD, 62% of participants reported “dramatic improvement” in behavioral symptoms. (6)
Because of promising results, it is likely that research will continue and expand in the coming years.
CBD For Children: Moving Forward
Many times, those searching for treatments for autism-related symptoms are parents of affected children.
The research relating to CBD for children is limited. This means that working with a medical professional familiar with your individual case is absolutely critical. Finding a high-quality hemp CBD oil is equally important. Your options may vary depending on laws and regulations in your state, so take your time and learn as much as possible before moving forward.
While research continues, one thing is certain: CBD may offer hope that few treatments have been able to provide, delivering relief from autism spectrum disorder symptoms.