The internet is buzzing with talk about cannabidiol (CBD) as an effective treatment for many conditions that include fibromyalgia, chronic pain, depression, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, and many more.
But what about autism?
Autism is becoming more common these days. It’s a disease of the nervous system that affects both children and adults. This article will explain the science behind autism along with giving information on studies that have been conducted by researchers exploring CBD as a potential treatment.
CBD & Autism: How It Works
A first step in exploring CBD as a potential treatment for autism is to understand how CBD works in the body. As a primer, we can explore how the nervous system works through its messenger molecules (called neurotransmitters) and their eventual destination (called receptors).
The nervous system is a complex network in the body where messages are sent detailing the activities and chemical processes that keep us alive.
Neurotransmitters can be thought of as messengers. They carry messages throughout the body containing information regarding various processes along with pain/pleasure sensations.
As mentioned earlier, each neurotransmitter has a specific destination known as a receptor. Dopamine is an example of a pleasure-producing neurotransmitter. If someone likes chocolate, dopamine gets triggered when they eat a soft chocolate cupcake with quality chocolate icing. Some of you experienced your mouth watering after reading that sentence. Those are neurotransmitters in action – and each type has a specific function in the body.
Cannabinoids are neurotransmitters
As mentioned earlier, neurotransmitters work in the nervous system. One part of the nervous system – called the endocannabinoid system – has its own special neurotransmitters called cannabinoids.
There are two types of cannabinoids: endocannabinoids that are produced internally and phytocannabinoids that are consumed from external sources.
The cannabis plant is a source of phytocannabinoids, containing nearly 150 different kinds. The most well-known are CBD and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).
THC produces euphoric-like “high” feelings while CBD does not. This is why CBD products have been legalized in many places globally while THC-containing products are either illegal or subject to government controls.
Humans Need Cannabinoids
Cannabinoids work by sending pain-relieving “feel-good” neurotransmitters to specific cannabinoid receptors within the system for a variety of effects that can improve sleep, appetite, mood, memory, fertility and reproduction.
We are supposed to produce endocannabinoids naturally. Not all humans are able to do this for many reasons that can be physical, mental or emotional. Analyzing stress, diet, vaccinations and other issues related to overall health can help a person pinpoint the root cause of their disease.
CBD-based products can provide external cannabinoids in the meantime. Many people report that they produce a wide range of healing effects that include seizure reduction, pain relief, mood enhancement, and more.
Now that we understand how CBD works, we can get back to our original topic: autism.
Does CBD Oil Help Autism?
Many scientific researchers and health professionals believe that autism is a neurological disorder that can impact development and social skills. The most major symptoms experienced by people include difficulties in communication and awkwardness around other people.
There is not a single set of symptoms that can point to autism, however. It is often diagnosed according to a spectrum that can range from a mild to a severe condition.
Autism causes are seldom discussed in the mainstream media. Many healthcare professionals across the world, however, are pointing to childhood vaccinations as a leading cause of the exponential increase in the disease. Fears around vaccinations among children and pregnant mothers stem mostly from concerns about injecting poisons like aluminum and other dangerous chemicals found in vaccines. Since these poisons directly damage the nervous system a definite link has been made – especially among African-American boys whose incidence of autism is higher among those who were vaccinated when compared to those that were not.
Science Studies & CBD
Scientific research has so far found that CBD can help with anxiety along with providing strong anti-inflammatory effects. Studies conducted so far have shown that it can treat multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, in addition to relieving chronic pain.
Studies concerning autism, specifically, do exist. A notable study conducted in 2019 involving 18 autistic patients showed positive results when the participants were treated with standardized CBD-enriched extract. Three discontinued the study, however of the 15 that remained, 14 showed improvement in more than one of the eight main categories of symptoms that include Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), motor deficits, autonomy deficits, behavioral disorders, communication/social interaction deficits, seizures and sleep disorders.
Wrapping Up: Does Science Support CBD For Autism?
Science is a method that involves experimentation upon a specific hypothesis or question. The evidence supporting CBD for autism so far is slim – but studies conducted so far seem promising.
When it comes to your health, an investigation into the root cause of the illness is most important. Until the root cause of autism is uncovered, CBD is a gentle way to temporarily supplement cannabinoids that is effective without harsh side effects.