CBD is one of the most promising natural remedies in the health and wellness industry today. Many users say it helps manage many medical conditions. This could be with or without scientific evidence to back it up, however.
It is not uncommon to find parents and caregivers wonder if CBD could also help with autism. If you are also wondering about this, you are reading the right article. You will be learning how much scientists currently know about using CBD for autism and whether it is safe for autistic people.
What Is Autism?
Autistic people have a neurological disorder that impairs their social skills and makes them exhibit unusual behaviours. It is a spectrum disorder – meaning the symptoms have a range of severity which would vary from one person to another.
The exact cause of autism is unknown, but it affects millions of children around the world. Before you go too far in this article, you should understand that there is no known cure for autism.
What is CBD?
Cannabidiol (CBD) is a compound found in both Hemp and Cannabis Plants that is not psychoactive. This means it does not make you feel high. The psychoactive compound in cannabis is tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Although it is famed for its many benefits, CBD has only been medically certified to treat some rare seizure disorder forms.
Before now, some studies have shown some promising results in managing some medical conditions. This is because CBD influences the Cannabinoid Receptors in various parts of the body and make up the Endocannabinoid System (ECS). This is useful when it comes to appetite, mood, sleep, alertness, pain, etc.
So, here is the big question.
Does CBD help with Autism?
The hope of managing autism with CBD comes from the success of medical marijuana in treating some severe forms of seizures. This is especially since seizures are a common symptom of autism. Various preliminary studies suggest CBD helps with autism by improving the symptoms in children.
The Endocannabinoid System plays essential roles in sleep and mood regulation. This is why there are suggestions that the compound is useful in managing depression and improving poor mood, as seen with autism. When taken before bed, CBD might also help with sleep. We can imply that CBD is potentially relevant in the management of autistic symptoms.
However, research from Harvard and Boston Children’s Hospital recommends that CBD should only be administered as the last line of treatment - meaning you have exhausted other available option. But this was back in 2015.
A study in 2018 observed some autistic children who were low functioning. They were administered oral CBD, and their behavioural outbreaks improved by 61%. CBD also helped them communicate better and improved anxiety and disruptive behaviour.
Is It Safe to Use CBD for Autism?
Since CBD is not psychoactive, you do not have to worry about your child feeling high or getting dependent on it. Whilst there is not sufficient information regarding the safety of CBD use in the management of autism, there have not been any serious concerns about its safety. So, you should exercise caution if you want to use CBD for autism.
Also, CBD is not a replacement for whatever treatments or therapy an autistic person is having. It is to augment the action of the drug and improve the person’s quality of life. It is important you carry your doctor along with your plan to give your child CBD. Your doctor might be able to work out a way to keep your child on their medication and still use CBD.
This is important because CBD affects the action of many drugs. This might reduce the action of some of these drugs or prevent the compound (CBD) from getting metabolised by the body.
Many drugs are broken down by the same enzymes that metabolise CBD. Some examples of the drugs an autistic person might be on include antiseizure drugs like valproate, lamotrigine, and clobazam. Up to a third of people with autism would have an associated seizure disorder and CBD could affect the metabolism of these drugs.
Should You Worry About Side Effects?
Like it is with every other form of medications or natural remedy products, there can be side effects to using CBD. These side effects are minimal and should not be of great concern to you or the autistic child. CBD users might experience some drowsiness, mild headaches, dry mouth, etc. These should not lead to so much discomfort. If it does, you should withhold the product.
How Do You Use CBD?
CBD is available in various forms, including oils, skin creams, edible forms like gummies or even tablet or softgel forms. Of course, we do not recommend them all for autistic children. Most people who use CBD for autism take either the oil or softgel forms. As CBD is not an approved medication, there is no specified dosage considered as standard.
Various manufacturers would indicate the quantity of CBD in their product. People respond to CBD differently. While some children would need just a small does to see some results, others might need more. It is usually best to start from the minimum dosage possible and gradually increase it till you see some positive results.
Micro-dosing like this helps their body gradually adjust to CBD use and makes sure they are not giving them more than they require. Ensure you do not give an autistic person a very high dose of CBD hoping for results.
There might be indicators that suggest CBD is helpful in managing the symptoms of autistic people. However, more elaborate and empirical studies need to be conducted to validate these pointers. So far, CBD is a safe compound for persons of various age groups. You need to exercise caution when other medications are involved, and you must consult with your doctor first.