Israeli researchers have released a study on how cannabis oil could help reduce the symptoms of autism in children. The cannabis oil, derived from marijuana, was a mixture of 30% of CBD and 1.5% THC. Over 80% of patients experienced significant or moderate improvement. The main reported benefits after treatment included the children showering and dressing themselves, improved sleep, and better concentration. The researchers noted that double-blind studies are necessary to confirm these results.
Published in Scientific Reports, an Israeli study by researchers from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev has revealed that CBD may help reduce the symptoms of autism in children.
The most common symptoms observed in the children who participated in this study were restlessness, rage attacks, and agitation.
Patients used a cannabis oil mixture of 30% CBD and 1.5% THC and researchers followed up with the parents after six months of treatment.
Of the 93 patients that responded to a questionnaire at the end of six months, 28 patients reported a significant improvement in symptoms and 50 patients moderate improvement (that’s a total of 83.8% of patients), while the rest had little to no improvement.
The improvements observed included good moods, children showering and dressing themselves independently, and better sleep and concentration.
The treatment also reduced symptoms such as restlessness and rage attacks in 72 and 66 patients, respectively.
Overall, parents believed the treatment significantly improved the quality of life of their children.
“Good quality of life was reported by 31.3% of patients prior to treatment initiation while at 6 months good quality of life was reported by 66.8%,” wrote the researchers.
Side effects from the cannabis oil were reported in 23 patients, all of which were minor, with the most common being restlessness.
Researchers found that “cannabis in ASD patients appears to be well tolerated, safe and effective,” yet “double blind placebo-controlled trials” are needed to confirm the results.
According to the researchers, autism spectrum disorder (ASD) cases have tripled in the last 30 years.
As a result, the need for new treatments has proliferated.
These facts informed the purpose of this study, which was to further determine how safe and effective high-CBD cannabis oil would be for autism.
The mechanism by which cannabis oil may improve ASD is not fully understood.
However, previous research looking at the relationship between cannabis and ASD hinted at potential mechanisms.
One possibility includes the regulation of neurotransmitters such as GABA, glutamate, oxytocin, and vasopressin.
These neurotransmitters are known to affect social behaviors.
Another mechanism is that CBD may increase activity in an area of the brain that is believed to help process emotional information and responses.
Regardless of the mechanism, all studies point to CBD as a safe and potentially efficacious therapy for the various symptoms of autism.
At the same time, the body of scientific literature is thin on the topic, so more research is required.