CBD and autism
Neither CBD nor any other drug can remove or cure the main symptoms of autism, which include difficulties in social communication, sensory dysfunction and restricted and repetitive behaviours.
However, CBD may help reduce epilepsy in some autistic children and adults. Fewer seizures may reduce stress and facilitate social interaction.
A few large-scale studies have explored the impact of CBD on autistic children, but none have explored its impact on adults. One of the largest studies of this type took place in Israel. It includes the following finding:
"In 2014, the Department of Health began providing licences for the treatment of children with epilepsy. After seeing the results of cannabis treatment on symptoms such as anxiety, aggression, panic, tantrums and self-harming behaviour, in children with epilepsy, parents of severely autistic children turned to medical cannabis for relief."
Studies are underway in clinics and research centres around the world.
Before trying CBD
Before considering the use of CBD oil, it is important to take the following steps:
- Check with your child's doctor (or your own) to make sure there are no allergies or sensitivities that could cause a reaction to CBD.
- Check with your child's doctor to see if the medical benefits of CBD oil match your child's symptoms.
- Check that CBD is legal in your country of residence.
- Research CBD sources to ensure that the brand you are using is reputable and properly licensed.
- Make careful notes of your child's (or your own) behaviours and symptoms so that you can make a useful comparison before and after CBD use.
Use of CBD
CBD comes in many forms and dosage levels, including candy. It is important to keep medicines and supplements in candy form out of the reach of young children.
Low doses are more easily tolerated than high doses.
When you start using a new supplement, medicine or treatment, it is important to make sure that your child's doctor is aware of the new treatment and has no concerns about your child's health. Tell everyone who works with your child that you have started something new and ask them to look for and report any changes in behaviour or ability.
Take careful note of any changes you notice so that you can easily check your records to see how helpful the new treatment really is. Be aware of any troubling side effects. Be sure to report any side effects to a doctor or health care professional immediately.
Children with autism grow and learn every day, simply because they mature. Therefore, there is no simple way to determine whether a change in behaviour or an increase in skills is due to a particular treatment or to ordinary maturation. This reality makes it very easy to see a change in behaviour and inaccurately attribute it to the newest treatment you have tried. The best way to know whether a particular treatment is really effective is to be rigorous in assessing your child before and after its use.