CBD Oil for Autism: What You Need To Know
One of the newest afflictions to affect children, teens and adults in modern times have been in the headlines more and more every day – autism. In fact, today, 1 out of every 68 people in the US have autism.
The rise of the number of individuals living with autism in our society has drawn more attention to the condition than ever before. This has lead to more information, education and even treatment options being available, a wonderful breakthrough for those living with autism.
So what are the options for treatment? And how could they help you or a loved one? In this article, we explore one of the most promising pioneering treatments of autism, cannabis-derived CBD oil.
What is CBD Oil?
Cannabidiol or CBD is a naturally occurring chemical compound found in the cannabis plant. The cannabis plant has over 450 chemical compounds that make up its structure and each has a different set of properties. One of the most famous compounds associated with cannabis is the tetrahydrocannabinol or THC compound.
This is the chemical contained in cannabis that produces psychoactive effects, causing users to feel a ‘high’. In contrast, the cannabidiol or CBD compound has many wonderful benefits – however, it is not a psychoactive substance. CBD oil is made by extracting the cannabidiol from the cannabis plant and adding it to a carrier oil such as coconut oil. CBD oil is used orally.
The Human Cannabinoid System
Did you know that animals and humans produce cannabinoids naturally in their systems? These endocannabinoids actually stimulate the same part of the brain that tetrahydrocannabinol or THC does. Research on the effects of cannabis led to the discovery of the until then unknown biochemical system in the human body, named ‘The Human Cannabinoid’ system.
Scientists discovered that this system has specific functions to aid in the uptake of cannabinoids in the body. They found that receptors located in the brain respond to cannabinoids specifically, whether endogenous (naturally produced in the body) or introduced through the medical use of cannabidiol.
This exciting discovery has given even more weight to the use of CBD oil as a medical treatment for a wide range of health problems.
Does CBD Get You High?
It’s important to remember that CBD is not a psychoactive compound of the cannabis sativa plant. Only the THC compound has psychoactive effects. CBD does not stimulate the brain in a way that makes users feel ‘high’. CBD oil provides relief from symptoms of many different illnesses without an intoxicating effect.
How CBD Oil May Help With Autism
So how can what we know about CBD oil assist people living with autism? According to recent research, it appears that some of the key properties of this natural compound can be highly effective in managing many symptoms of the disorder.
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is the generalized name for a brain disorder that stems from a combination of genetic mutations and environmental factors. The severity and symptoms of autism can vary widely and are specific to each individual with the condition.
Generally, ASD is characterized by difficulty in social communication, language problems, repetitive actions and a restricted range of interests.
The severity and extent to which an individual experience these as part of their autism varies, which is why this complex brain disorder is viewed on a spectrum.
Autism is often accompanied by or associated with intellectual disability, difficulties in coordination and attention, in some cases, hyperactivity, dyslexia, dyspraxia, anxiety, and depression.
The Benefits Of CBD Oil For Autism
CBD oil has so far shown great promise in treating ‘untreatable’ illnesses, a great sign for CBD oil use in treating autism. At this time, the only medicinal treatments for ASD are the use of non-FDA approved drugs to alleviate some of the side effects of the condition. This includes the use of anti-depressants which can have their own unpleasant side effects.
CBD has been shown to have a wide range of astounding benefits, many that are invaluable for those living with ASD. Some of the benefits of using CBD oil for autism are:
Can Reduce Nausea And Vomiting
One of the excellent effects of CBD oil is its ability to reduce and even prevent nausea and vomiting. It is common for many people on the autism spectrum to also suffer from cyclical vomiting syndrome.
This unpleasant illness causes multiple bouts of vomiting and nausea that can be set off very easily, including by the body being infected by a virus or even stress. CBD oil has shown to be highly effective in controlling nausea.
It affects the serotonin receptors in the brain which in turn assists in controlling the feeling of nausea, which leads to vomiting.
Helps Control Seizures
Autism has shown a strong link with epilepsy. It is estimated that 1 in 4 children that are on the Autism spectrum will also develop seizures. This can happen any time from childhood right through to adolescence.
Scientists believe that seizures in those with autism stem from differences in brain development, which cause nerve cells and neurons to behave abnormally.
Many people with seizures and epilepsy struggle to find a medication that improves their condition. CBD oil controls seizure through its anticonvulsant properties, which work on a number of areas in the brain to stop dangerous seizures.
CBD oil does this by increasing anandamide and reducing excitotoxicity, both which contribute to altering the brain chemistry, lowering the number of seizures.
Treatment of autism disorders sometimes includes the use of harsh antipsychotic drugs prescribed as part of psychiatric care, many of which have intense unwanted side effects. CBD oil for autism can take the place of these strong pharmaceuticals, due to its antipsychotic properties.
Pediatric patients, in particular, can benefit from medical treatment with CBD oil for autism for psychotic behavior, as it has fewer side effects than traditional antipsychotic medicines.
May Control Inflammation
Another symptom that goes along with autism is the propensity for a wide range of inflammation issues, including those that are responsible for gut problems, such as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). CBD oil for autism can help to lower levels of inflammation in the body, thereby reducing other conditions which are caused by inflammation.
Combats Depression And Anxiety Symptoms
Autism disorders and mental health problems can unfortunately often go hand in hand. Depression and anxiety are experienced by a large number of those afflicted with the condition, but luckily CBD oil for autism has shown to be a potent treatment for these conditions.
CBD oil for autism has shown promising results in initial studies that it can ease symptoms of anxiety and depression, by triggering the human endocannabinoid system.
CBD Oil For Autism: What The Research Says
Recent trials and research on the use of CBD oil for autism have had encouraging results. Scientists are continuing to build on their existing foundation of knowledge of the positive uses of CBD oil, forcing policymakers to sit up and take notice of the huge benefits of this natural treatment alternative for many conditions, including autism.
Israel is a country pioneering in autism research, with a large network of scientists and doctors dedicated to studying the effects of CBD oil for autism. A recent study used CBD oil from a specifically high cannabinoid strain of the cannabis plant sourced through leading Israeli medical marijuana company Tikun Olam.
The study showed the worth of CBD use for autism, with the treatment data exhibiting evidence that it is an effective treatment for easing autism symptoms.
Scientists reported that parents or carers administering CBD oil to autism patients recorded a decrease of 67.6 percent in self-harm and attacks, an improvement of 70 percent in hyperactivity symptoms, 71.4 percent improvement in sleep problems, anxiety and mood improvement of 47.1 percent and an astonishing 87.6 percent increase in social communication skills.
Overall there was a reported improvement in all symptoms of 74.5 percent with the use of CBD oil. The study has recommended further research into long-term effects.
Legal Hurdles For Researchers
Of course, in many countries, there are huge legal boundaries to further development of CBD oil for autism. Researchers must obtain special permissions from the government to run trials due to the complex laws surrounding cultivation, harvesting and import/exportation of the substance.
Laws regarding cannabis vary hugely state-by-state in the US, which affects where researchers can run studies and trials.
Risks And Side Effects Of Using CBD Oil
Overall CBD oil is an extremely safe and well-tolerated drug. However, as with most medications, some people can experience minor side effects. The most common side effects of CBD use are:
- Anxiety and depression
- Dry mouth
Legal issues regarding CBD oil arise often, as laws in the US regarding its use vary from state to state. Whether or not it is legal to use CBD oil for autism in the US largely depends on your geographical location.
CBD oil is not legal in all states, so before using it as a medical treatment it is important to ensure that your state allows it.
Avoiding Fake CBD
CBD oil sales have proliferated hugely in recent years, due to the explosion of online trade. Unfortunately, this has also led to an increased amount of fraudsters selling fake CBD oil online. Here are some tips to ensure you purchase the real thing:
- Look for a specific milligram amount of cannabinoid
- Scan reviews carefully
- Choose a company that offers third-party laboratory verification
- Ensure the company details the source of the cannabinoid in their oil and states where the oil is produced
Dry Mouth, Drowsiness And Other Side Effects
A dry mouth and drowsiness are common side effects of CBD oil. When using or administering CBD oil for autism, ensure you or the patient stays well hydrated and avoids driving or operating heavy machinery.
CBD Oil Dosage For Autism
The dosage for CBD oil for autism can vary depending on a number of factors including the height and weight of the patient, the concentration of the CBD oil, the individual body chemistry of the patient and the severity of the condition.
It’s always best to start with less CBD oil than you think is needed. Consulting with a medical health professional is an excellent idea to ensure you are taking or administering a safe dose of CBD oil.
Where To Buy CBD Oil Legally
The best place to buy CBD oil is either the licensed dispensary closest to you or online. Always ensure that you do extensive research on the company you intend to buy your CBD oil from.
A trusted medical professional, such as your doctor, may also be able to recommend a quality dispensary for you to obtain CBD oil from.
For those with autism, CBD oil appears to have huge promise in the journey towards a better future. While not a total cure, the power, and potential that CBD oil has for helping to treat autism sufferers is exciting progress in the field of autism research and care.