Autism is no longer a rare condition. About 1 in 59 children is diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder according to the CDC’s Autism and Development Disabilities Monitoring Network. This condition occurs in all racial and ethnic groups, but it’s four times more common in males than in females.
What is autism?
Autism is a broad term used to refer to a group of neurodevelopmental disorders. Patients suffering from this condition experience problematic social and communication interactions. People dealing with autism spectrum disorder show repetitive, restricted, and limited patterns of behaviour and interests. Parents who have a child with autism have a 2%-20% chance of having the second one affected by the condition. ADS also occurs more in patients with chromosomal or genetic conditions. 10% of people with autism also have tuberous sclerosis, fragile X syndrome, or Down syndrome.
The American Psychiatric Association states that currently, there are five subtypes of autism.
- With catatonia
- Associated with another behavioural, mental or neurodevelopmental disorder
- Associated with a genetic or medical condition
- With or without accompanying language impairment
- With or without accompanying intellectual impairment
Does science have something to say about using CBD to manage autism symptoms?
It’s important to note from the beginning that presently no known therapy or medication (including CBD products) can cure the main symptoms of autism. Or at least this is what medical literature states. Central symptoms include restricted or repetitive behaviours, issues with communication and social interaction, and sensory dysfunction.
However, specific treatments (CBD included) can reduce some symptoms associated with the condition like epilepsy, anxiety, tiredness, and insomnia.
Many scientific studies show that CBD is an effective alternative treatment in fighting symptoms patients suffering from this condition experience.
To prove that CBD is useful in treating this health issue, scientists explored the connection between the condition and the endocannabinoid system, a brain centre, that CBD products target when used to manage the above symptoms.
A 2018 study reveals that people with autism have lower concentrations of anandamide than healthy individuals. Patients suffering from cognitive conditions, seizures, anxiety, and stress also have this deficit.
In 2019, the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders revealed that scientists studied the tolerability and effectiveness of CBD products in 60 children suffering from behavioural problems and autism. The results show that after using CBD products during the test period, over 60% of the patients showed improved behaviour.
Scientists in Israel also conducted a study in 2019. It included 188 participants with confirmed autism who used CBD oil for six months. At the end of the study, 90% of them reported less restlessness, and 84% a reduction in agitation.
The conclusion: Science proves that CBD is helping people to deal with some of the symptoms, autism causes. It also alleviates some other devastating conditions like anxiety, epilepsy, sleep disorders, and stress.
People’s opinion about CBD and autism
We should also turn to caregivers and parents to find out their views about CBD’s effects. Syler, a 3-year boy, diagnosed with ASD, used Ritalin, a doctor-prescribed medication, widely used to treat ADHD. But his parents noticed that when he took the medication, he wasn’t himself. In 2014, they heard about CBD products and searched for information about their effectiveness on autism. They switched to this alternative treatment, and because their son showed improvements, they have regularly used it. Syler showed both behavioural and developmental improvement since starting the new treatment. His parents state that CBD has the same effects as Ritalin, but it doesn’t come with adverse side effects.
Another father states that his seven-year-old son has severe autism. He spoke little, didn’t use the potty, and sneaked out of school regularly. His doctor recommended Rispradol and advised the parents to take him to ABA sessions, but neither of these solutions showed improvements. The father took him to a researcher who specialized in CBD therapy for children with epilepsy and autism. The moment they switched the treatment, they noticed the results. The boy is no longer afraid to look people in the eyes when socializing, has fewer fits and outbursts, and his speech improved.
CBD benefits for autism
CBD Tinctures are very promising in treating autism symptoms.
This CBD reduces vomiting and nausea
It’s common for autism patients to experience cyclical vomiting syndrome that often leads to nausea and multiple bouts of vomiting. CBD products alleviate nausea symptoms because they influence the serotonin receptors in the brain that control the feeling of nausea that triggers vomiting.
CBD control seizures
As stated before, patients dealing with autism often also experience epilepsy. Studies show that 1 in 4 children who have autism also develop seizures. They can have these symptoms from childhood to adolescence. Scientists state that patients have seizures because of the differences in brain development that make neurons and nerve cells function normally. CBD works as an anticonvulsant, so it helps people who struggle with seizures and epilepsy. It boosts the anandamide levels and lowers excitotoxicity which alters brain chemistry. CBD treatment has long-term results.
CBD has antipsychotic properties
Doctors often prescribe medication that has antipsychotic properties to help patients improve their mental health. However, most antipsychotic drugs have side effects, and people give up on using them because the side effects are sometimes harsher than the autism symptoms. CBD also has antipsychotic properties, and this makes it a perfect alternative to traditional drugs.
CBD fights anxiety and depression
It’s not rare for patients with autism to also experience mental health problems. Most of them suffer from anxiety and depression, and therapy alone cannot help them.
CBD products, on the other hand, can support their efforts to improve anxiety and depression symptoms because they trigger the human endocannabinoid system that influences the secretion of hormones related to response to stress.
When looking for an alternative to ease autism symptoms, CBD products are among the top choices. It’s advisable to start with reputable brands that invest in developing the best products for their clients.