Medical cannabis is purported to have a variety of benefits. The wonder plant is being used to treat physical and mental ailments like chronic pain, cancer, depression, anxiety, and insomnia.
Is it possible that medical marijuana can also prove instrumental in aiding children with autism? In the following, we’ll tackle just what cannabidiol is.
Additionally, we’ll take a look at the current body of knowledge on the benefits of cannabidiol consumption on autistic children and its future.
According to Neurotherapeutics, Cannabidiol is one of the naturally occurring organic compounds known as endocannabinoids present in the cannabis plant. You can think of CBD as THC’s lesser known brother.
Endocannabinoids can interact with the body’s endocannabinoid system. The endocannabinoid system is responsible regulate our homeostasis. Essentially, homeostasis has to do with the regulation and balance of our body’s different circulatory and cognitive systems.
Endocannabinoids like THC and CBD can help improve this “balance”. A key characteristic of cannabidiol is the lack of psychoactive elements that are present in THC that get you “high”.
This makes a favorite among patients with a wide variety of illnesses. It is important to note that many researchers have found the two compounds work best as a team.
Cannabidiol is completely natural. There are many studies showing its benefits in treating chronic pain, symptoms of cancer, epilepsy, diabetes, depression, anxiety, and insomnia. Cannabidiol can decrease inflammation and helps maintain a balanced mood.
Cannabidiol can be used to treat illnesses in individuals of all age groups as well as your pets. Yes, that’s right, there are even CBD products designed to help dogs and cats recover from a variety of ailments. Studies have shown it even relieves the symptoms of acne!
Cannabis researchers from Israel recently found additional evidence showing that cannabidiol can have a positive effect on autistic children. This study was spearheaded by Dr. Adi Aran, who is the director of pediatric neurology at Shaare Zedek Hospital.
He gave students CBD oil with 1% THC and 20% cannabidiol. The children were treated with this oil over a period of seven months. After this period, many children reported improvement in communication, decreased anxiety, and a decrease in behavioral problems.
Autism spectrum disorders are neurodevelopmental and often begin from an individual’s early childhood. There is no clear cure for the disorder. Autism affects almost 1% of the world population. The symptoms can be so severe that it leaves children unable to speak.
Unfortunately, many doctors choose to prescribe antipsychotic medications that often come with a number of debilitating side effects. Cannabidiol’s side effects are minimal at worst.
Dr. Aran decided to start researching CBD’s potential after cannabis studies were conducted on its effects on epilepsy patients. Interestingly enough, he thought there might be a connection between the nature of epilepsy and autism.
Close to 33% of individuals with autism also have epilepsy. Medical researchers do not yet completely understand the connection between the two disorders, but it is thought that children undergo unusual brain development which then creates the neural circuits that lead to seizures.
The medical community has yet to give the “all okay” on using cannabidiol to treat children autism. At BeyondTHC, they’ve shown that there is plenty of anecdotal evidence by parents detailing its success in treating children. Like a lot of conditions that are treated with cannabis, scientific research is still limited.
4 years ago, Boston Children’s Hospital along with Harvard released a review of cannabidiol and autism studies. Insofar, there is no definitive evidence as to its benefits. Most studies conducted have been with animals, which does not always translate to human results.
The pediatric community is fearful of relying on cannabidiol treatment. Many recommend it as a method of last resort.
Apart from Dr. Aran, the only other medical researcher backing studies on the subject is a Dr. from New York University, Dr. Orrin Devinsky. He was the same person that spearheaded the research on Epidiolix, which was the first cannabidiol product approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
As more doctors see the positive results in studies by Dr. Devinsky and Dr. Aran, they will be less reluctant to recommend cannabidiol-based therapy.
Keep in mind, there are many cannabidiol products out there. We recommend consulting your physician before taking cannabidiol for yourself or your child.
According to Healthline, you should also contact any leading pediatric doctors in your area that have a history of prescribing the substance as a form of therapy. If there are none around, look for a doctor that regularly prescribes it and they should be able to point you in the right direction.
Most of what we know about the effects of cannabidiol on children is based on knowledge researchers have learned relating to cannabis use among teenagers. Teenagers are at a very different stage of mental development when compared to children.
Over time, as more and more states legalize the substance, we should see an uptick in the knowledge we have on the many uses of cannabidiol. To learn more about CBD, we recommend checking out more of the links in the article.