Study: Daily CBD Use Mitigates Symptoms of Autism Spectrum Disorder

According to a new study published in the journal Frontiers in Neurology, the daily use of cannabidiol (CBD) is associated with the improvement of symptoms in adolescents related to autism spectrum disorder.

The twice-daily administration of plant-derived CBD-dominant extracts is associated with symptom improvement in adolescents with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), according to observational data published in the journal Frontiers in Neurology. The study is titled: Effects of CBD-enriched cannabis sativa extract on autism spectrum disorder symptoms: An observational study of 18 participants undergoing compassionate use.

For the study researchers “assessed the use of CBD-enriched cannabis extracts (75 to 1 ratio CBD to THC) in 15 ASD patients over at least six months”, states NORML. “Study participants were between the ages of six and 17 years and subjects consumed between 50 to 100mg of oral CBD capsules daily.”

Authors reported that “Fourteen out of these 15 patients (93 percent) showed improvements equal to or above 30 percent in at least one symptom category. Most patients that adhered to the treatment had improvements in more than one symptom category: seven patients (47 percent) had improvements equal to or above 30 percent in four or more symptom categories; two patients (13 percent) presented improvements equal to or above 30 percent in two symptom categories, and five patients (33 percent) presented improvements equal to or above 30 percent in one symptom category.”

The study concludes:”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.”

“The findings are similar to those of other recent trials — including those hereherehere, and here — reporting that the use of CBD-dominant extracts reduces symptoms of ASD and is well-tolerated by most patients”, states a NORML news release.

The full abstract of the study can be found below:

Autism Spectrum Disorders comprise conditions that may affect cognitive development, motor skills, social interaction, communication, and behavior. This set of functional deficits often results in lack of independence for the diagnosed individuals, and severe distress for patients, families, and caregivers. There is a mounting body of evidence indicating the effectiveness of pure cannabidiol (CBD) and CBD-enriched Cannabis sativa extract (CE) for the treatment of autistic symptoms in refractory epilepsy patients. There is also increasing data support for the hypothesis that non-epileptic autism shares underlying etiological mechanisms with epilepsy. Here we report an observational study with a cohort of 18 autistic patients undergoing treatment with compassionate use of standardized CBD-enriched CE (with a CBD to THC ratio of 75/1). Among the 15 patients who adhered to the treatment (10 non-epileptic and five epileptic) only one patient showed lack of improvement in autistic symptoms. Due to adverse effects, three patients discontinued CE use before 1 month. After 6–9 months of treatment, most patients, including epileptic and non-epileptic, showed some level of improvement in more than one of the eight symptom categories evaluated: Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder; Behavioral Disorders; Motor Deficits; Autonomy Deficits; Communication and Social Interaction Deficits; Cognitive Deficits; Sleep Disorders and Seizures, with very infrequent and mild adverse effects. The strongest improvements were reported for Seizures, Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, Sleep Disorders, and Communication and Social Interaction Deficits. This was especially true for the 10 non-epileptic patients, nine of which presented improvement equal to or above 30% in at least one of the eight categories, six presented improvement of 30% or more in at least two categories and four presented improvement equal to or above 30% in at least four symptom categories. Ten out of the 15 patients were using other medicines, and nine of these were able to keep the improvements even after reducing or withdrawing other medications. The results reported here are very promising and indicate that CBD-enriched CE may ameliorate multiple ASD symptoms even in non-epileptic patients, with substantial increase in life quality for both ASD patients and caretakers.

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