Doctors will openly admit that medication is not a ‘cure’ for autism spectrum disorder (ASD) as there is no medication that has been proven to address the core characteristics children with ASD show in the areas of communication and social relations. As such many parents are now asking about CBD for children with Autism and whether they should try it?
Although for some children, medication can help with the challenging behaviour associated with ASD, which might be interfering with their ability to learn and respond to interventions, for many others it simply does nothing. Medicines are given more in hope that they might help and offer the parent some consolation in the knowing that at least the condition has been recognised and some help is available.
Autism is much more common than many people think. There are around 700,000 people on the autism spectrum in the UK – that’s more than 1 in 1001. If you include their families, autism is a part of daily life for 2.8 million people. Autism doesn’t just affect children too as autistic children grow up to be autistic adults.
While autism is incurable, the right support at the right time can make an enormous difference to people’s lives as well as alternative remedies that many claim to have worked in varying degrees. These alternative routes include CBD, Cannabis oil, diets, therapy and relaxation techniques to name a few.
One major factor that influences parents to try and find an alternative is the risk of side effects from medication and the fact that their child is having to undergo a succession of medications at a young age without knowing the long term effects of them.
In a recent study* Israeli researchers have found more compelling evidence that medical cannabis is an effective therapy for children on the autism spectrum. In this soon-to-be-published study in the journal Neurology, researchers treated autistic children with high concentrations of CBD, a non-intoxicating cannabinoid found in the cannabis plant.
Early results showed conditions in 80% of the children improved. Alternatively, the children had not shown improvement with conventional drug therapies.
The study was led by the director of Paediatric Neurology at Jerusalem’s Shaare Zedek Hospital, Dr. Adi Aran, who treated sixty children with a high-CBD Cannabis oil (20% CBD and 1% THC). The children were treated for at least seven months with the oil.
After the treatment period, parents answered assessment questionnaires to characterize their child’s condition. Questions were asked about behavioural changes, anxiety levels and ability to communicate. Here’s what they reported:
- 80% of parents noted a decrease in problematic behaviours, with 62% reporting significant improvements.
- Half of the children had improved communication.
- 40% reported significant decreases in anxiety. (Note: one-third of the study participants began the study with no anxiety.)
- Due to the lack of more comprehensive studies on the matter, many doctors are still reluctant to prescribe cannabis. However, many families have tried it successfully on their children.
- CBD-rich oils seem to be an effective tool for improving social skills of people with autism.
- So far, it has been proven that cannabis can influence the Endocannabinoid system and increase the production of Oxytocin and Anandamide. This helps people with this disorder not to isolate themselves so much and feel better about relating to others.
Findings are continuing to develop on the subject, but according to echoconnection.org, there is reason to believe that the Autistic brain’s cannabinoid 2 receptors, which are thought to be blocked by the condition (Autism), are opened when exposed to cannabis, which allows molecules to act on them. So the treatment is, in essence, believed to open pathways in the brain previously hypothetically closed off by the condition.
CBD for Children with Autism – Case study reported by Green Lotus Hemp**
We recently visited a mother who’s been using CBD oil tinctures to help with her son Maddox’s autism. For obvious reasons, this decision wasn’t made lightly. As a parent of two children with autism, Kyla’s experience with this condition is extensive. As she came to learn, autism affects children in a variety of ways, and Kyla wasn’t sure how to help her son.
Like most parents of autistic children, Kyla spent years researching different solutions to help with the complexities of autism. Avoiding the use of medications, she resorted to therapy and dietary adjustments – note, Maddox hated vegetables.
With minimal improvements, Kyla continued her search, coming across a few videos describing the potential benefits of CBD for autistic children. Skeptical at first, she said “No way, I’m not going to give my kid marijuana!” (Learn the difference between cannabis and hemp-derived CBD here.) But once she saw a little girl very similar to her son gain the ability to speak, sing, and even look others in the eyes, she knew it was worth trying CBD oil as a remedy for her son’s autism.
Just after two days Kyla noticed a difference in Maddox. Specifically, Maddox experienced:
- Increased focus
- Increased responsiveness
- Improved social interaction
- Increased appetite for healthy foods
Furthermore, Kyla noticed that her son would finally look her and others in the eyes – something she deeply cared about.
Eager to see if anyone else had noticed these changes in her son’s behaviour, Kyla confided in Maddox’s teacher, explaining that she’d been adding CBD oil to his diet. To her surprise, the response was overwhelmingly positive.
His teacher thought he’d just been getting more sleep, but assured Kyla that Maddox had been following instructions and appeared to be more attentive. Most importantly, he began interacting positively with the other children.
After a few months of using CBD, Maddox continues to see improvement in all areas. One of his mother’s greatest comforts is seeing how calm and aware her son is now – something she believes is directly correlated to the CBD oil.
This is just one of many stories and there are many more as a quick search online will show you. As always, we recommend you speak with your family doctor before beginning any course of CBD for your Autistic child. However rather than ask your Doctor if they think it is a good idea or not, ask them for reasons why you shouldn’t use CBD oil for your child. This will allow you to make a more informed choice.