What Does Research Say About Marijuana and Its Relation to Autism Symptoms?
The term “Autism Spectrum Disorder” refers to a group of neurodevelopmental and behavioral disorders that generally begins in early childhood and is considered lifelong. The signs and symptoms of the disorder include developmental delays, emotional difficulties, and social/verbal challenges. Cannabis, with its cannabidiol (CBD), cannabidivarin (CBDV), and Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) cannabinoids, has been found to help improve the quality of life for persons with autism.
Cannabis affects the body through the endocannabinoid system (ECS) and various other receptors, as well as the ECS. The ECS is composed of fat-based neurotransmitters, including nociceptors, that are responsible for our perception of pain, inflammation, and other homeostatic functions. Cannabis enters the body in a variety of ways, often through the mouth or lungs, where it activates cannabinoid receptors throughout the body. Cannabis activates cannabinoid receptors CB1 and CB2 to regulate the endocannabinoid system, influencing receptor activity and producing or decreasing quantities of neurotransmitters such as anandamide (AEA) and 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG).
The endocannabinoid system has been linked to the following:
- Controls emotional responses
- Behavioral reactivity to content
- Social interaction
- Mediates anxiety
- Influences circadian rhythms
According to some experts, there may be underlying ECS malfunction in children with ASD, owing to receptor or signaling abnormalities. A study of blood plasma levels of AEA revealed a link between lower AEA quantities and ASD patients. The cannabinoid signaling molecule AEA is found in both plants and animals, where it serves as a neurotransmitter.
Neuroligin-3 (NLGN3) is a protein that neurons in the brain release into the gap between cells, known as the synapse. Two distinct gene mutations have been linked to people with ASD. Researchers feel that these genetic changes are connected to behavioral differences among persons with ASD.
Furthermore, genetic modifications in other synapse proteins, such as β-neurexins, which are involved in endocannabinoid signaling and ASD, may also be linked.
Recommendations for treating ASD with cannabis
When using medical cannabis to alleviate symptoms of autism, it’s essential to utilize products that include a greater proportion of CBD to THC. It’s best to start with tiny amounts and gradually increase them as needed. Smoking, edibles, tinctures, and oils are all possible ways of ingesting it. Before administering cannabinoids to your autistic children for any health issue or reason, speak with a pediatrician or family doctor. It is usually preferable to administer tinctures and oils into the mouth of the child instead of tablets.
Keep These Thoughts in Mind
It is vital to talk about using cannabis plants or CBD-only treatments with your doctor or pediatrician before beginning therapy, as they might interact with a range of drugs, especially those used to treat seizures.
It’s also worth noting that the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) is opposed to administering cannabis products to children and adolescents under the age of 21, due to the potential negative health and cognitive consequences. It causes an increase in the risk of developing future psychotic symptoms in adolescents. Keep in mind that cannabinoids and cannabis extracts have long-term consequences, particularly for children.
Please keep in mind that CBD-only products are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the United States. As a result, not all goods are produced equal or contain the same proportions of cannabinoids. For more information on selecting safe products, see our complete CBD guide.
What are the Benefits of Using Medical Cannabis for Autism Spectrum Disorder?
Cannabis medicines are used to treat a wide range of medical conditions, including epilepsy and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The purposes for utilizing cannabis among persons with an ASD diagnosis are just as diverse.
The following are some of the advantages that patients with autism may observe when using cannabis and CBD for ailments:
- Improvements in the quality of life
- Feelings of well-being
- Seizures have been reduced
- Improved sleep quality
- Improved concentration abilities
- Increased restlessness
- Reduce motion and agitation
- Reduced instances of rage attacks/meltdowns
- Self-injury has decreased
- Improved communication
- Anxiety has decreased.
What exactly is autism spectrum disorder?
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a neurological condition that affects children throughout their lives. It includes social and communication issues as well as behavioral problems. People with autism differ from others in their communication, social interaction, conduct, and learning. Some individuals with ASD who think or solve problems differently might require significant support for daily activities while others may be intellectually brilliant and need little assistance. It generally begins during the first three years of life and is considered a lifelong condition, although many youngsters with it may improve
The way that individuals with an ASD are treated has evolved significantly in recent years. It includes ailments that used to be separate diagnoses, but which we now understand are linked. The term “autism spectrum disorder” has been replaced with the phrase “Autism Spectrum Disorder, formerly known as autism spectrum disorder, Asperger syndrome, and pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified” (formerly known as an autism spectrum disorder, Asperger syndrome, and pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified). It’s critical to consult a neuropsychologist. Early detection and good management of ASD can result in a significant improvement in the lives of both patients and families. People with ASD frequently have difficulties with social communication and interactions as well as repetitive behaviors or hobbies.
The following symptoms, on the other hand, may be observed as well and do not always signal autism spectrum disorder:
- Language, communication, movement, learning, or cognitive abilities may be delayed.
- Hyperactivity, impulsiveness that resembles but is not the same as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
- Seizures or epilepsy
- Digestive problems
- Unusual feelings or emotional outbursts
- Excessive worry, anxiety, or distress
According to recent studies
Using 30 percent CBD and 1.5 percent THC cannabis oil in an observational study of 188 children proved successful. After six months of treatment with cannabis oil, 30.1% of consumers experienced significant improvements and 53.7% experienced moderate improvements in restlessness, rage attacks, and agitation, according to one study. Only about 9% of those who used cannabis or CBD oil reported no benefits. Quality-of-life improvements were also tracked in this study, including a boost in sleep quality, attention, mood, and the ability of kids to dress and bathe independently as a result of cannabis and CBD oil usage.
The majority of patients (53%) continued on the same dosages of other medicines, but 34.3% genuinely needed to use fewer medications such as antipsychotics, antiepileptics, antidepressants, and hypnotics and sedatives.
While there has been research on the usage of marijuana for autism spectrum disorder, the field is still in its infancy, and the results are varied. According to a 2019 review of cannabis studies and autism, “Medical cannabis may provide the immediate assistance required to address the distinct core symptoms of ASD and improve quality of life.” CBD also has medicinal potential for addressing many of the key features of ASD, according to experts. However, more study is needed before doctors can recommend therapy options for youngsters and what the long-term health consequences are.