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  • Nick

CBD for autism spectrum disorders?

Ever since CBD’s introduction to the global health and wellness market, new users of the natural cannabis compound have churned out testimonials that it has positively affected their lives.

One of the more controversial instantiations of these positive prospects is in the treatment of autism spectrum disorders. In recent years, awareness of ASDs has exploded as more and more people understand that they very well may know someone with autism and that the condition manifest with symptoms that are mild, debilitating or somewhere in between.

Among the proponents of CBD’s use for autism are a pair of families featured in a report by Healthline. [1]

“My son is horribly anxious, but when we give him his CBD, he’s cool as a cucumber. Usually within an hour, and that’s the long end of it,” Rachel Anderson told the outlet.

Anderson’s son was six-years-old when he was diagnosed with autism on top of a rare form of epilepsy that cause savage seizures and required heavy-duty medications to quell.

A constant stream of pharmaceuticals with nasty side effects are one major factor pressing parents and adults toward natural remedies like CBD and other cannabis products where possible.

“We had tried six or seven pharmaceutical drugs,” Anderson told Healthline. “None of them worked, or if they did, they had serious side effects that made life miserable for all of us.” [1]

Shifra Klein is another parent who claims CBD was life-changing for her child’s autism.

Klein’s son was diagnosed with autism at age 2, and since that diagnosis has faced a barrage of 13 different prescriptions before finding relief through CBD treatments, according to her statements in Herb.co. [2]

“Our son is almost completely weaned off of drugs [since beginning CBD treatment],” Klein told Herb. “He is more focused in school, able to stay on task, understand and follow classroom multi-step directions, complete school work, and is no longer at a ‘plateau’ and able to grasp new concepts. His eye contact is better, his language is more thought-out and he is able to create meaningful sentences and his annunciation is clearer. He also seems happier, in general.” [2]

Still, the practice of medicine and the scientific results are struggling to keep up with promising results like those shown by Klein and Anderson.

According to a November 2018 review for Global Pediatric Health by Drs. Carlos Salgado and Daniel Castellanos, clinical use is essentially the only space where CBD is known to have been used to combat autism symptoms. [3]

Studies, including those performed with CBD and placebos on 900 autism patients, failed to turn up any statistically significant improvement, the doctors said.

“Our review did not reveal any case reports; only anecdotal reports by parents and other parties on the internet,” Salgado and Castellanos said. “On the other hand, it may be ill-advised for physicians to merely inform parents there is no evidence to support the use of CBD for their child with ASD without further discussion. Parents may negatively perceive a physician’s refusal to even discuss the use of CBD for their child or be disappointed with their doctor’s lack of knowledge of the subject.” [3]


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