How can CBD improve the lives of people on the Autism Spectrum?
According to Autism Speaks, an organization dedicated to spreading awareness and acceptance of people who fall anywhere on the spectrum, autism is “characterized, in varying degrees, by difficulties in social interaction, verbal and nonverbal communication and repetitive behaviors.” There are a variety of disorders that fall into the umbrella term “Autism Disorder Spectrum”, including Asperger’s Syndrome. An estimated 1 in 68 children in the US are on the Autism spectrum (1 in 42 boys and 1 in 189 girls). While the specifics of what causes Autism are still a mystery, in the last five years a variety of genetic and environmental factors that effect early brain development have been linked to autism.
There are a vast array of individuals that fall within the Autism spectrum. Some are able to function quite independently, and even take pride in their unique way of viewing the world. On the other end of the spectrum lie individuals who are totally nonverbal, self-harming, and need constant supervision to ensure their safety. Risperidone, aripiprazole, naltrexone, and fluoxetine are four medications that are prescribed quite often, with often debilitating side effects, including extrapyramidal effects (sudden, often jerky, involuntary motions of the head, neck, arms, body, or eyes), dizziness, tiredness, fatigue, fever, weight gain, feeling hot or cold, headache, dry mouth, increased appetite, restlessness, anxiety, sleep problems (insomnia), nausea (rxlist.com).
Recently, more research has been conducted surrounding Autism and the possibility of CBD being an effective treatment for patients all along the spectrum. It has been found that Autism patients’ brains do not act on the Endocannabinoid system in the same way that people’s brains who don’t have Autism do. When this system isn’t working properly, many neurological problems can develop, including Autism.
The Endocannabinoid system is the same system that CBD effects, which has led a variety of individuals and medical researchers to explore CBD as a possible treatment for people who fall anywhere on the spectrum. Many studies have shown positive results, which has pushed a variety of families with children on the spectrum to seek out this alternative treatment. This article from Forbes gives several families’ stories, including Marie Myung-Ok Lee, a Brown University professor whose son had extreme Autism and would display self-harming behavior such as banging his head repeatedly. After being treated with CBD, her son is now able to ride a bike and no longer displays self-harming behaviors!
While there is still a lot of research to be done to discover the most effective use of CBD as a treatment for Autism, there is indisputable evidence that CBD is beneficial for people anywhere on the spectrum. With zero side effects and proven benefits, CBD should be added to all Autism patients’ diets. If you or a loved one is suffering from Autism, are frustrated with the ineffectiveness or side effects of conventional treatment, or simply want to try something more natural, consider trying CBD!