Cannabinoids may provide a potential treatment option for the “associated symptoms displayed by autistic patients”. This is according to a new study published in the Journal Translational Psychiatry.
“Autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are characterized by altered sociability, compromised communication and stereotyped/repetitive behaviors, for which no specific treatments are currently available”, begins the study’s abstract. “Prenatal exposure to valproic acid (VPA) is a known, although still underestimated, environmental risk factor for ASD. Altered endocannabinoid activity has been observed in autistic patients, and endocannabinoids are known to modulate behavioral traits that are typically affected in ASD.”
On this basis, researchers “tested the hypothesis that changes in the endocannabinoid tone contribute to the altered phenotype induced by prenatal VPAexposure in rats, with focus on behavioral features that resemble the core and associated symptoms of ASD.”