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cbd hemp oil and autism

CBD is considered minimally psychoactive, but many preparations of it contain undisclosed amounts of THC, which may lead to inadvertent intoxication and impairment.

GW Pharmaceuticals, the company that makes Epidiolex, is conducting a trial of the drug for Rett syndrome, a neurodevelopmental condition related to autism. The Rett syndrome trial is not focused on alleviating seizures, but on improving cognitive and behavioral problems. The company is also recruiting autistic children and teenagers for a phase 2 trial of cannabidivarin, another component of cannabis. That trial will examine cannabidivarin’s effect on a range of traits in autistic children, including repetitive behaviors, and on quality of life.

Under U.S. federal law, CBD products manufactured from industrial hemp are legal as long as they contain no more than 0.3 percent THC. And in some states, CBD oil is permitted to contain up to 5 percent THC.

Cannabis may have effects that go beyond the cannabinoid receptors, too. Mice that ingested CBD over extended periods of time displayed changes to DNA methylation in sections of the genome associated with autism, a 2020 study showed 10 . The researchers suggested that epigenetic changes may be at least partly responsible for CBD’s behavioral effects, though they did not directly examine the mice’s behavior.

Some research has shown that recreational marijuana use beginning in one’s teenage years can have negative long-term effects on cognition 11 . But experts note that the dosages used for medical purposes are often quite lower than those used in a recreational context.

Here we explain what researchers know about the safety and effectiveness of cannabis for autism and related conditions.

Depending on the strain of the plant and the processing methods used, these products contain varying levels of active ingredients, including tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) — responsible for the ‘high’ associated with marijuana — and cannabidiol (CBD), which is minimally psychoactive. Much of the research on medical applications focuses on CBD. There are also more than 500 other compounds in marijuana that may affect people’s behavior and cognition 1 .

Cannabis: An Overview

Despite these cautions, individuals with any number of ailments are flocking to cannabis for treatment. But there is a huge gap between the desire for treatment and the research needed for doctors to give approval. Additionally, it is rare for any cannabis curriculum to be included in residencies and fellowships, but this is changing.

31. Hollander E. Cannabidivarin (CBDV) vs. placebo in children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Updated February 18, 2021. https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT03202303

One 2015 to 2017 study conducted in Israel sought to gauge the safety and efficacy of cannabis. 25 It observed 188 autism patients, most of whom were treated with an oil containing 30% CBD and 1.5% THC. It was not placebo controlled. After 6 months of treatment, parameters of activities of daily living, mood, and quality of life were assessed. It found that 30.1% of patients reported significant improvement, 53.7% moderate and 6.4% slight improvement, while 8.6% experienced no change to their condition. About 25% of self-reporting patients experienced at least 1 side effect from the treatment, the most common of which was restlessness. The study concluded that CBD and THC in autism patients appeared to be well-tolerated, safe, and effective.

26. Aran A, Cassuto H, Lubotzky A, et al. Brief report: Cannabidiol-rich cannabis in children with autism spectrum disorder and severe behavioral problems-a retrospective feasibility study. J Autism Dev Disord. 2019;49(3):1284-1288.