Autism Spectrum Disorder is a common condition which has affected an estimated 700 million people the world over. Autism is simply a lifetime development disability that goes a long way to affect how individuals communicate, relate with people and even how they experience the world. In fact, autism is a complex neurobehavioral condition that includes impairment in social interaction as well as impaired developmental language and communication skills, coupled with rigid, repetitive behaviors. Currently in the United States of America, 1 in every 68 children born will be diagnosed with autism at a certain point.
Asperger is a similar condition to autism, but generally, people with Asperger symptom are average or above average when it comes to intelligence, unlike autistic people. Unlike autism, Asperger sufferers have no problems with communication, but they rather have the same social problems and limited scope of interest like children with autism. The severity of Autism Spectrum Disorder or Asperger often vary from person to person and may range from a handicap that limits a normal life to a severe devastating disability that could require constitutional care. Generally, children who have autism have challenges and difficulties in communicating both verbally and nonverbally as well as understanding how other people think or perceive them.
There is no cure for autism, but there are treatments that focus on behavioral management by making good use of modalities such as anger management, family and behavior therapy as well as the sensory processing and animal assisted therapy. It should also be noted that there is also no pharmaceutical medication that specifically targets the three core characteristics of autism, namely, difficulty in communication, social challenges as well as repetitive and self-injurious behaviors. However, in the United States, the Food and Drug Administration (DFA) had approved two drugs (antipsychotics risperidone and aripiprazole) that are reported to help in alleviating autism related irritability. These drugs have been reported to have side effects such as seizures, gastrointestinal disorders, sleep disorders as well as mood swings.
Many scientists have linked CBD with the treatment of autism, even though very little research has been done on the subject. The connection between CBD and autism really starts making sense from the endocannabinoid system (ECS). It is worthy to note that the ECS is the largest regulatory system of the body that controls a number of things, including sleep, appetite, pain, mood, motor control, memory as well as pleasure and reward. Many symptoms of autism are directly linked or related to the functions of the body’s endocannabinoid system.
One of the major breakthrough studies on the ability of CBD to treat the symptoms of autism was conducted in 2013. Our bodies have endocannabinoid receptors in almost every cell and this study found dysfunction in cannabinoid receptors on immune cells in autistic children. The researchers of this study, therefore, concluded that CBD could supplement the conventional treatments of autism in a bid to improve the symptoms in patients.
Some researchers have also argued that aside from being effective, CBD is also way safer than most of the drugs prescribed to people with autism. The truth is that these psychoactive drugs are often associated with many negative side effects, including dizziness, weight gain, stomach pain, as well as drowsiness.
Moreover, a soon-to-be published article through the journal Neurology, also supports the claim that CBD could be a potential treatment option for autism. During the study that was conducted at the Jerusalem’s Shaare Zedek Hospital, 60 autistic children were treated with high-CBD cannabis oil (20% CBD and 1% THC). It is worthy to note that this treatment lasted for up to 7 months. After the treatment, it was noted that 80% of the children experienced a decrease in problematic behaviors, with 62% reporting significant improvements. Moreover, half of the children experienced improved communication, whereas 40% reported significant decreases in anxiety.
It is apparent that CBD is building tons of potential as an alternative effective treatment of autism. Even though scientific investigations on the subject are limited, there are lots of anecdotal evidences from families, and parents on how CBD was effective in alleviating the symptoms of autism in their children.
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