Marijuana Associated With Improvement in Symptoms Related to Autism, Finds Case Study

Marijuana Associated With Improvement in Symptoms Related to Autism, Finds Case Study

According to a new study published in the Journal of Medical Case Reports, the daily use of high-CBD (cannabidiol) marijuana extracts is associated with improvements in the behavioral symptoms related to autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The study is titled A pediatric patient with autism spectrum disorder and epilepsy using cannabinoid extract as complementary therapy: A case report.

 

For the study researchers studied the effects of marijuana extracts in a fifteen-year-old who suffered from autism, anxiety, and controlled epilepsy. The individual was given very low-doses of marijuana extracts, no larger than 0.2 ml twice daily. The extract had a CBD to THC ratio of 20 to 1, indicating it had a very small – if not negligible – chance of getting high, given the psychoactive element of marijuana (THC) was so low.

 

The study states that the individual saw drastic improvements after six-months of treatment, saying he retained “positive effects on his behavioral symptoms, anxiety, sleep, and social deficits” since then.

 

“This case report provides evidence that a lower than previously reported dose of a phytocannabinoid in the form of a cannabidiol-based extract may be capable of aiding in autism spectrum disorder-related behavioral symptoms, core social communication abilities, and comorbid anxiety, sleep difficulties, and weight control,” states the study. “Further research is needed to elucidate the clinical role and underlying biological mechanisms of action of cannabidiol-based extract in patients with autism spectrum disorder.”

 

As noted by NORML in a press release, “Research published last year by investigators at Tufts University in Boston similarly reported that the oral administration of cannabis-based products is associated with improvements in autistic symptoms in patients with self-injurious behaviors and co-morbid epilepsy, Several small clinical trials – such as those reported hereherehere, and here – have also previously reported that plant-derived cannabis extracts are effective and well-tolerated in mitigating various symptoms in patients with ASD, including hyperactivity, seizures, anxiety, and rage attacks.”

 

According to a study we reported on in late 2019 in the journal Frontiers in Neurolthejointblog.com/study-daily-cbd-use-mitigates-symptoms-of-autism-spectrum-disorderogy, the twice-daily administration of plant-derived CBD-dominant extracts is associated with symptom improvement in adolescents with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The study, titled: Effects of CBD-enriched cannabis sativa extract on autism spectrum disorder symptoms: An observational study of 18 participants undergoing compassionate use, states:

 

”The findings presented here, taken together … indicate that CBD-enriched CE [cannabis extracts] yields positive effects in multiple autistic symptoms, without causing the typical side effects found in medicated ASD patients. Most patients in this study had improved symptoms even after supervised weaning of other neuropsychiatric drugs.”

 

A separate study we reported on last summer concludes by stating that “Based on our experience, cannabis-based products appear to hold promise for use in patients with ASD. The primary reasons for use in our patient population was treatment of aggressive (including self-injurious behaviors) and epilepsy. Patients were not using these products for core symptoms of ASD such as language and social development, so the response to therapy for core symptoms was not assessed in our patient population.”

 

The study’s full abstract (a detailed summary) of the new study, can be found below:

 

Background

 

The pharmacological treatment for autism spectrum disorders is often poorly tolerated and has traditionally targeted associated conditions, with limited benefit for the core social deficits. We describe the novel use of a cannabidiol-based extract that incidentally improved core social deficits and overall functioning in a patient with autism spectrum disorder, at a lower dose than has been previously reported in autism spectrum disorder.

 

Case presentation

 

The parents of a 15-year-old boy, of South African descent, with autism spectrum disorder, selective mutism, anxiety, and controlled epilepsy, consulted a medical cannabis physician to trial cannabis extract to replace seizure medications. Incidentally, at a very low cannabidiol-based extract dose, he experienced unanticipated positive effects on behavioral symptoms and core social deficits.

 

Conclusion

 

This case report provides evidence that a lower than previously reported dose of a phytocannabinoid in the form of a cannabidiol-based extract may be capable of aiding in autism spectrum disorder-related behavioral symptoms, core social communication abilities, and comorbid anxiety, sleep difficulties, and weight control. Further research is needed to elucidate the clinical role and underlying biological mechanisms of action of cannabidiol-based extract in patients with autism spectrum disorder.

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