A new survey has found CBD-rich cannabis oil to be a safe and well-tolerated way of controlling seizures, depressions, tics, rage attacks and restlessness in children with autism.
It was also found to significantly improve the quality of life of those with the condition, enhancing their ability to complete essential daily tasks unaided.
With autism on the rise in the UK, this study builds on previous research to highlight the fact cannabidiol (CBD) oil and CBD-rich cannabis – both available in regular shops with no prescription needed – could offer an effective treatment.
What is Autism?
Autism (often referred to as ASD- autism spectrum disorder) is a serious developmental disorder which affects a person’s behaviour and communication. It can be diagnosed at any point in life but is normally detected in the first two years of life.
Autism is expressed in different way but generally can result in one or more of the following symptoms:
– Problems interacting and communicating with others
– Repetitive behaviours and limited interests
– Other symptoms that affect the patient’s ability to function in normal society.
In the UK ASD is estimated to affect 1 in 100 people, with five times as many males being affected by it than females. ASD is apparently under diagnosed in females, so could affect that ratio.
Up until now, treatments for ASD have not been able to achieve results anywhere near the efficacy that has been demonstrated by cannabis oil. Cannabis treatment also has negligible side effects.
Breakthrough in Treatment
Researchers from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) and Soroka University Medical Center in Israel have discovered that cannabis can be used as a treatment for autism spectrum disorders.
Cannabis oil seems to be a safe and well-tolerated way of controlling seizures, depressions, tics, rage attacks and restlessness.
The study involved over 188 patients with autism, with the average age of the patients being 12.9 years + or – 7 years. 84% of the parents involved reported that they had observed significant or moderate improvement in their child following the treatment with cannabis.
Cannabis oil was used in the treatments, which contained 30% CBD and 1.5% THC and results were recorded by parents over six months period using a detailed questionnaire.
Encouraging Results Across The Board
The results showed that 30% of patients showed a significant improvement, 53.7% had a moderate improvement and 15% appeared unaffected.
The questionnaire addressed quality of life, something that was recorded by only 31% of patients prior to the treatment. Following 6 months of treatment reported quality of life had more than doubled, coming in at a huge 66.8%.
Mood was also recorded before and after the treatment. Before cannabis it was recorded at 42% and following cannabis this figure rose to 63.5% after 6 months of treatment.
Another factor measured in the study was the patient’s ability to get dressed and have a shower. Great improvements were shown with 26% reporting no major problems, 42% of patients improved their ability to get dressed and have a shower following six months of the cannabis oil treatment.
During the study sleep and concentration were also factors that were measured. Great improvements were reported with figures leaping from 3.3% to as high as 24.7% during the treatments.
“While this study suggest that cannabis treatment is safe and can improve ASD symptoms and improve ASD patients’ quality of life, we believe that double blind placebo-controlled trials are crucial for a better understanding of the cannabis effect on ASD patients”
Dr. Victor Novack, from the BGU-Soroka Clinical Cannabis Research Institute
Full details of the study can be found here.
Other encouraging research
The use of cannabinoids (most notably CBD) in the treatment of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) has been studied before. While there is still a lack high-quality data (i.e. from a randomized, controlled, blinded clinical trial), preliminary studies are encouraging.
This study of 53 children with ASD found that treatment with CBD had a reduction in self injury, hyperactivity and anxiety and an improvement is sleep quality in a significant number of subjects.
Similarly, this study of 60 children with autism found 61% of those treated with CBD-rich cannabis reported significantly improves in behaviour.
And lastly, there’s this study of 60 adults with autism that suggested CBD may have a unique effect on the prefrontal-GABA system in people with autism compare to those who don’t.
Researchers believe that the neurotransmitter GABA helps to control the fear and anxiety experienced when neurons are overexcited.