CBD Autism Benefits
This study summary provides fact-based answers about potential CBD benefits for autism.
- learn exactly how CBD affects autism symptoms and underlying causes
- know the CBD dosage tested and possible adverse effects
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2019 Study: Promising Results For Multiple ASD symptoms
“The results reported here are very promising and indicate that CBD-enriched [cannabis extract] may [diminish] multiple ASD symptoms even in non-epileptic patients, with a substantial increase in life quality for both ASD patients and caretakers.” (1)
This new peer-reviewed CBD research for Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) was conducted because of mounting 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.” (2)
This observational study concluding in October of 2019 reported that some symptoms of autism were also decreased significantly in patients who did not have epilepsy.
- The study consisted of 18 patients. 3 of the 18 did not conclude the study due to the adverse effects of cannabis extract treatment.
- Of the 15 patients who continued taking the CBD treatment for the duration of the study, 10 were non-epileptic and 5 were epileptic.
- Of the 15 patients who continued for the duration of the study, only one patient did not show improvement in autism symptoms.
The CBD extract administered had a CBD to THC ratio of 75:1. (3)
After 6-9 months of treatment with CBD most patients showed some level of improvement in more than one category of autism symptoms:
- Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder
- Behavioral Disorders
- Motor Deficits
- Autonomy Deficits
- Communication and Social Interaction Deficits
- Cognitive Deficits
- Sleep Disorders and Seizures (4)
The most significant improvements were reported for:
- Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder
- Sleep Disorders
- Communication and Social Interaction Deficits (5)
Of the 10 non-epileptic patients with ASD, “nine of which presented improvement equal to or above 30% in at least one of the eight categories, six presented improvements of 30% or more in at least two categories and four presented improvements equal to or above 30% in at least four symptom categories.” (6)
10 out of the 15 patients in the study were using other medicines as well as CBD. 9 of the 10 were able to maintain improvements even after withdrawing from other medications. (7)
Patients reported very infrequent or minimal adverse effects from the CBD treatment. (8)
The study results state that “the results reported here are very promising and indicate that CBD-enriched [cannabis extract] may [diminish] multiple ASD symptoms even in non-epileptic patients, with a substantial increase in life quality for both ASD patients and caretakers.” (9)
Video: Family trying CBD for Autism.
Fleury-Teixeira P, Caixeta FV, Ramires da Silva LC, Brasil-Neto JP, Malcher-Lopes R. Effects of CBD-Enriched Cannabis sativa Extract on Autism Spectrum Disorder Symptoms: An Observational Study of 18 Participants Undergoing Compassionate Use. Front Neurol. 2019;10:1145. Published 2019 Oct 31. doi:10.3389/fneur.2019.01145
Keywords: Cannabis sativa; autism spectrum disorders; cannabidiol; endocannabinoid system; epilepsy
2019 Study: CBD Alters The Brain Regions Associated With Autism
Published September 3, 2019
CBD alters regions of the brain “consistently implicated” in ASD. According to the study authors, “Future studies should examine if this affects the complex behaviors these regions [regulate].” (1)
In this peer-reviewed study, the brains of 34 healthy men (half with ASD) were imaged using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). (2)
- Prior to the fMRI test, each was given either a 600mg oral CBD dose or a placebo.
- The researchers were not aware of which subjects received the CBD and which received the placebo. (3)
- The fMRI tested for the ‘fractional amplitude of low-frequency fluctuations’ (fALFF) across the entire brain.
- In places where CBD altered the fALFF, the researchers also tested if ‘functional connectivity‘ between brain regions was altered. (4)
- In the ASD group of patients, CBD significantly altered the fALFF in specific regions of the brain.
- In the ASD group only, CBD significantly altered some ‘functional connectivity’ between specific regions of the brain. (5)
“Especially in ASD, CBD alters regional fALFF and ‘functional connectivity’ in/between regions consistently implicated in ASD. Future studies should examine if this affects the complex behaviors these regions [regulate].” (6)
Video: Cannabinoids, CBD and the Autistic Spectrum.
Pretzsch CM, Voinescu B, Mendez MA, et al. The effect of cannabidiol (CBD) on low-frequency activity and functional connectivity in the brain of adults with and without autism spectrum disorder (ASD). J Psychopharmacol. 2019;33(9):1141–1148. doi:10.1177/0269881119858306
Keywords: Cannabidiol; Cannabis sativa; autism spectrum disorder; functional connectivity; low-frequency fluctuations