top of page

Does CBD Work for Autism?

Updated: Mar 6

Over the past few years, people suffering from autism and their loved ones have been searching for new methods of managing autism-related symptoms and improve overall quality of life. Due to its effectiveness and low risk, CBD oil might just be the answer they have been searching for. Let’s take a look at the potential of CBD for dealing with autism and what the most recent research has started to uncover.

What is Autism?

Autism spectrum disorder (or ASD) is the official term for what is commonly referred to as autism. It is a complex, chronic condition involving the body’s ability to perform various activities. A person suffering from autism can experience difficulty in verbal and nonverbal communication, social interaction, and repetitive behaviors. Although the symptoms can vary widely for each person.

Specialists generally diagnose autism in children and look for any evidence of symptoms until they are about two to three years old. The CDC suggests that one out of every 59 children suffers from autism. It is three to four times more common in boys, while many girls with autism tend to show fewer signs.

Characteristics of Autism

Generally, the symptoms of autism become clear from an early age or when the child is around 12 to 24 months. However, symptoms can present earlier or later in a child’s life. Initially, the child may find it difficult to start speaking or develop socially. Usually, specialists divide the symptoms of autism into two categories:

1. Communication and Social Problems

  • Problems in communicating emotions, maintaining a conversation, and sharing their interests.

  • Difficulty maintaining relationships

  • Issues in maintaining non-verbal communication, such as analyzing body language or keeping eye contact.

2. Restricted or Repetitive Patterns

  • Following repetitive patterns while moving and speaking.

  • Preoccupations or unable to show interest.

  • Unable to generate a positive feeling to various sounds. This means that sensitivity to different information increases or decreases.

While diagnosing a child with autism, the doctor will look for all three symptoms in the first category and at least two from the second.

autism brain showing variations in neural connections and gray matter density compared to a typical brain.
Autism brain showing variations in neural connections and gray matter density compared to a typical brain.

The Potential Benefits of CBD For Treating Autism

Although, at this point, most evidence for CBD as a treatment for autism is more anecdotal and research is still underway; many families dealing with loved ones with this disorder advocate its use. In fact, a survey conducted by Remedy Review found that out of 547 parents of children with autism, over 40% said they were using CBD to help their children and around 73% said experienced a better quality of life.

Let’s delve into a few reasons why more parents are choosing to use CBD:

Addressing Related Symptoms

CBD has the potential to help reduce some of the more severe symptoms commonly associated with autism. It has shown promise in helping reduce issues such as:

  • Aggression and anger

  • Sleeplessness and insomnia

  • Anxiety and stress

  • Social anxiety

  • Emotional and behavioral issues

  • Seizures

CBD has also been known to improve focus and attention span; two traits often shared by those dealing with autism.

A Natural Medication Alternative

In more severe cases, doctors will often prescribe a range of medications to mitigate some of the more dangerous behaviors that result from autism. Unfortunately, many of these medications can present a number of side effects. CBD offers a natural solution and safer alternative.

Non-Psychoactive Properties

Because CBD is non-psychoactive (meaning it won’t get you ‘high’), many parents and families are more comfortable using it to help deal with epilepsy or autism than medical marijuana. This is even more relevant in areas where marijuana still isn’t legal.

Research and Studies On CBD For Autism

Little is known as to what exactly causes autism but scientists are starting to suspect that an issue in the body’s endocannabinoid system which helps the body stay in balance and is responsible for a number of other functions could play a major role. That is where CBD and cannabis come in. Because CBD interacts with the endocannabinoid system; there is hope that it can help those dealing with autism find relief from some of the more severe symptoms.

Although research into the use of CBD and cannabis products for relieving autism-related symptoms is still in its early stages the results are promising.

  • Fragile X Syndrome is known to be one of the more common causes of autism and shares a number of similar traits. According to one study, because the condition also affects the endocannabinoid system; CBD may be a potential therapeutic approach that could help.

  • CDKL5 deficiency disorder is another condition related to autism that causes seizures and epilepsy. Research has uncovered that CBD might help treat both of these conditions.

  • The FDA has approved the use of a cannabis-derived medicine called Epidiolex which contains CBD to treat seizures caused by Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome; two conditions related to autism.

An article on Harvard Health that addresses CBD as a treatment noted “the strongest scientific evidence is for its effectiveness in treating some of the cruelest childhood epilepsy syndromes, such as Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome (LGS), which typically don’t respond to antiseizure medications”.

  • In 2019, a study was done where 188 patients with autism spectrum disorder were given CBD-rich cannabis oil. They found that 80% of the parents reported significant or moderate improvement. They went on to note that “Cannabis as a treatment for autism spectrum disorders patients appears to be well-tolerated, safe and seemingly effective option to relieve symptoms, mainly: seizures, tics, depression, restlessness and rage attacks”.

  • In another 2020 study, mice that were given CBD for a long period saw changes in their DNA in gene sets associated with autism.

Research into the use and effects of CBD as a treatment for autism is ongoing and uncovering more details every day. In fact, UC San Diego is currently is preparing for a clinical trial to determine if CBD can reduce behavioral symptoms of severe autism spectrum disorder. That said, as you can see it has the potential to be a valuable tool in helping people dealing with this debilitating disorder.

What is The Right Dose of CBD to Deal With Symptoms?

Because every person is different, there is no set recommended dose of CBD that works for everyone. We suggest starting slow and adjusting as needed. Once you are more comfortable you can increase the dose. Your doctor can also discuss integrating CBD into a routine and offer recommendations for correct amounts with you.

What to Know Beforehand

With all of the potential benefits and low risk of using CBD for managing autism-related symptoms, it makes sense why it’s growing in popularity. However, there are a few things to keep in mind beforehand. Especially if you are considering giving CBD to a child.

  • Remember to check with a doctor before taking any supplement.

  • Make sure you are buying from a trusted source with the testing to back it up.

  • Remember to always read the product label.

  • Keep track of your progress and any changes so you can report back to your doctor and compare the before and after-effects.

  • While CBD is legal in most places, we suggest checking to be sure.

Getting Started with CBD

Although CBD is not a cure for autism and there is still more research to do, there is some strong evidence that it can be helpful in relieving symptoms. If you are ready to get started trying out CBD and your doctor has given you the go ahead; Easy Day has a wide range of premium products to browse through. Our line of Full Spectrum CBD products can be a great option for those new to CBD or looking to address more serious symptoms.

5 views0 comments
bottom of page