Have you been following the recent news reporting the benefits of CBD oils for autism? While scientific studies are underway, families report CBD oils can reduce stress for people on the autism spectrum, as well as lessen aggression, self-injurious behaviors, and anxiety surrounding social interactions. Recent reports indicate CBD can aid children with co-occurring seizures. But what about the use of medical marijuana to relieve autism symptoms? Read on to find out how these substances differ and the latest research. My ASD Child Parents who are raising children with autism have a special kind of patience. Symptoms of autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are often pervasive, affecting every aspect of daily life,
CBD Oil for Autism: Benefits and Usage Guide
Have you been following the recent news reporting the benefits of CBD oils for autism? While scientific studies are underway, families report CBD oils can reduce stress for people on the autism spectrum, as well as lessen aggression, self-injurious behaviors, and anxiety surrounding social interactions.
Recent reports indicate CBD can aid children with co-occurring seizures. But what about the use of medical marijuana to relieve autism symptoms? Read on to find out how these substances differ and the latest research.
How is CBD oil different than medical marijuana?
First, let’s review the difference between cannabidiol (CBD) oil and medical marijuana. CBD is just one of many substances with medicinal properties within the cannabis plant. When CBD oil is produced, it is extracted and mixed with a carrier such as fractionated coconut oil. CBD oil is legal in the United States if produced using industrial hemp or hemp imported from Europe as it contains less than 0.3 percent of the psychoactive element in the cannabis plant, known as tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).
Medical marijuana is somewhat similar to CBD oil in that is contains cannabinoids, though it is harvested differently and contains THC. In the US, marijuana and THC are illegal under federal law placing them on the controlled substances list. Recently, several states have passed cannabis-related laws that make medical marijuana legally accessible with a prescription from a licensed physician. A few states have taken it a step further and made recreational use of marijuana legal.
Does CBD oil work for autism? — Can CBD help manage autism?
Since CBD oil is hemp-derived and only contains trace amounts of psychoactive THC, it is not psychoactive, and your child will not feel “high” after using the oil, unlike patients who use THC-containing medical marijuana.
The role of CBD for autism with anxiety is twofold. Firstly, some children with autism find that using CBD oil for anxiety alleviates not only stress but also aggression, self-injurious behaviors, and trouble with social interactions. Secondly, CBD oil can help children with co-occurring seizures. Of course, each child’s experience is unique, but in states where medical marijuana is illegal, parents are reporting positive CBD oil benefits for autism and epilepsy. Because cannabidiol cbd is not psychoactive, it is the option most parents prefer for their children over medical marijuana.
Many children with epilepsy find the same (or better) relief from their symptoms as they do with traditional anti-anxiety and anticonvulsant medications with the added bonus of fewer side effects. Researchers are still working to identify how CBD oil can help anxiety in autism, but for many families, the anecdotal evidence is enough for now.
What are the risks of using CBD oil for autism?
Studies suggest it is perfectly safe to administer to children; however, some side effects to watch for include:
- Low blood pressure
- Dry mouth
For most children, the health benefits of outweigh the side effects. As with any medication, always seek the advice of a physician with any questions you may have regarding treatment and your child’s medical condition; never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it.
Does CBD oil cause weight gain?
CBD oil does not stimulate the appetite in the same way medical marijuana can. While the research is still unclear as to how CBD oil influences weight, anecdotal and clinical evidence suggests that it is more likely to suppress appetite. This is possibly due to a boost in metabolism. Currently, the most comprehensive research consisted of animal studies in which rats are tested with CBD. Comprehensive studies on the link between weight and CBD oil in humans are underway but not yet conclusive.
Can CBD oil help with aggression caused by autism?
Since parents have started using CBD oil to help ease aggression in their children caused by autism, the anecdotal evidence has been overwhelmingly positive. Some parents report that their children who used to be unreachable during fits of rage are able to implement calming techniques; other parents report decreased instances of physical violence.
In 2010, Lester Grinspoon, MD urged doctors to take this anecdotal evidence seriously and conduct further medical research on the effects of CBD oil on aggression. Many researchers are focused on the question of what causes autism aggression rather on guiding research efforts towards looking for ways to manage the aggression that many children with autism and their families have to navigate daily.
CBD oil for anger and aggression is a welcomed option for many families who have previously tried medications traditionally used to help children with autism deal with strong emotions. As more research is completed on medical marijuana, CBD oil, and autism, scientists will have a better idea of how CBD interacts with the brain of a child with autism and why it is so effective.
The benefits for autism and epilepsy
Scientists believe autism shares a strong link with epilepsy, a neurological condition that involves recurring seizures. According to recent studies reported by the American Epilepsy Society (AES), 30 percent of children diagnosed with autism also have epilepsy. According to scientists, these seizures may be the result of differences in brain development, which can make cells and neurons act abnormally. The anticonvulsant properties of the CBD oil are believed to help people with seizures and epilepsy.
According to CBD International, these properties work on different targets such as calcium ion channels, glutamate receptor antagonists, sodium ion channels, and the GATA system and receptor agonists, in the brain. “Anticonvulsants may affect the neurotransmitters responsible for sending messages or attach themselves to the neurons. This is done to alter the activity of the cell by switching how ions flow into and out of the neurons.”
My ASD Child
Parents who are raising children with autism have a special kind of patience. Symptoms of autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are often pervasive, affecting every aspect of daily life, and emotional disorders begin to appear as children with ASD age. These painful differences are compounded by the social rejection that both child and parent experience as a result of being seen as “difficult.” Parents struggle to connect with their children who are sometimes described as being “somewhere else.” They understandably worry about their emotional well-being in addition to their safety, and solutions are few and far between.
Treating the symptoms of an autism spectrum disorder requires a cocktail of medications that can have detrimental long term effects including extreme weight-gain, and side effects including tremors, anxiety, blurred vision, fever, confusion, abnormal heart rhythm, and the list goes on. Many parents believe that the effects of the medications are worse than the effects of the disorder itself.
- Social withdrawal
- Cognitive challenges
The endocannabinoid (ECS) system is a network of neuroreceptors and neurotransmitters responsible for maintaining balance and homeostasis within the body and brain. Though researchers only recently discovered the ECS within the last few decades, it has always been a part of human evolution. Some scientists now believe that many disorders and diseases are a result of a poorly functioning ECS.
CBD products activate certain receptors within the ECS to promote better functioning and communication between all bodily systems. This is why CBD is so good for so many different problems. The endocannabinoid system originates in the nervous system and affects every other system in the body.
Research has shown that CBD products like CBD gummies and oils help reduce general systemic inflammation, anxiety, depression, and a host of other problems. CBD inhibits the growth of abnormal cells, has neuroprotective properties, and has been approved by the FDA in a drug used to treat certain kinds of epilepsy.
Legal CBD products are derived from industrial hemp, which contains a dozens of different cannabinoids. All of them have their own unique individual effects, and produce what is known as the “entourage effect” when combined. This refers to the concept that all of the cannabinoids put together have a special effect that cannot be replicated by taking just one or two.
CBD comes in a few different formulas, and you want to do your research on each type in order to make an informed decision about which one to try. CBD isolate is pure CBD with no other cannabinoids present. Full spectrum CBD contains all cannabinoids present in the hemp plant, including THC. There is not enough THC to cause intoxication, and THC is known to have powerful therapeutic properties—especially when combined with other cannabinoids to produce the “entourage effect.” Broad spectrum CBD includes all the cannabinoids present in the hemp plant, minus THC.
Unfortunately, it is a challenge to get the medical community to acknowledge the benefits of CBD, especially in children. They are concerned about potential risks, as long term effects and drug interactions are not yet fully understood. But research is catching up with the anecdotal evidence, and parents should peruse the growing body of evidence before they make any decisions about giving CBD to their children.
You will have some choices to make about the formula and the dosage, but it is a good idea to start with smaller doses a couple of times a day, wait a week or so at the chosen dose, then work your way up from there. You also want to be careful about ensuring the CBD you use comes from a reputable company and provides a certificate of analysis with all of its products to confirm potency and purity.
When searching for ways to treat the painful symptoms of an ASD, parents are often overwhelmed and frustrated with the options available. The side effects usually outweigh the benefit they have, and there is never a simple solution. CBD oils and CBD gummies may be that solution, and some parents will swear that it is. When you are deciding what is right for your child, do your research in order to make the most informed decision possible.
Talk to their doctor, and do not drop behavioral therapies just because CBD may help certain symptoms. Like most drugs that treat psychological problems, CBD is a support that enables better integration of behavior therapies, not a replacement for them.