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CBD and Autism — Treatment, Benefits and Use

According to the World Health Organization, 1 in 160 children has an autism spectrum disorder (ASD). As a result of the escalated number of children suffering from Autism, it is essential for parents to understand ASD. To date, clinical studies have not been able to come up with an exact type of treatment for ASD. In this case, parents could try CBD oil for ASD.

It’s important for parents to understand the relationship between the CBD and Autism. There is currently no published evidence to ascertain that CBD is the most suitable treatment for ASD. However, there is a number of anecdotal evidence that tends to affirm that CBD can be an effective treatment for Autism. According to a study published in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, some cannabinoid receptors are linked to the regulating Autism.

What is Autism?

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a complex developmental impairment that is characterized by a range of conditions. These conditions include challenges with social skills and development of language, lack of communication skills, and repetitive, kind of rigid behavior. The symptoms tend to vary by individuals. Each person may undergo a different ASD since they vary in different degrees.

Following the latter, ASD can be accompanied by a number of conditions which include: anxiety, sleeping disorders, phobia, and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). CBD comes in as a powerful aid, as most of these conditions can be relieved by medicinal cannabis. Moreover, the disability to communicate can be very challenging to those with ASD. This can cause certain behaviors such as self-harm, rage, anxiety, and other repetitive self-soothing behaviors. CBD can act as an important health remedy for those with autism due to its calming effects.

Why Can CBD Work For ASD?

One of the reasons why most people have preferred CBD for ASD to other medications is because the Endocannabinoid System has been acknowledged for its connection with the pathogenesis of ASD and the brain’s development as a whol. A variation which comes from certain embryonic conditions can alter the Endocannabinoid System (ECS). This may cause many of the problems associated with Autism. Researchers are not sure of the process, but they have gathered that a lack of ECS receptors may lead to a lot of anxieties which entail the ASD. As a result of the issues, CBD remains effective to calm the anxieties of individuals with Autism.

What Are The Benefits Of Using CBD To Treat ASD?

CBD seems to be very effective in tackling the behaviors which come as a result of ASD. CBD tends to normalize some of the behaviors caused by ASD due to its calming potential. In fact, it plays an essential role in enhancing repressive brain function by elevating the level of neurons, which balance the level of inhibition in the brain. Hence, restoring this kind of balance in the brain CBD tends to reduce seizures and work positively on social behavior to become normal. This makes CBD a perfect solution to the disorders caused by autism.

What Are The Side Effects of Using CBD to Treat ASD?

CBD is considered safe by the World Health Organisation. Nonthless, some people might experience some side effects. It’s important to be fully informed by the possible side-effects of CBD. You can find our informative guide here.

The Endocannabinoid System & Autism

This is the pivot of the relation between CBD and autism. Most symptoms of autism are derived from the functions of the Endocannabinoid System (ECS) in the body. The ECS performs a number of regulatory functions in the body which include:

  • Mood variations
  • Pleasure and reward
  • Control of memory
  • Feelings of pain
  • Motor control

In fact, the body has a number of Endocannabinoid receptors in each and every cell. CBD has the effect of calming behaviors that tend to accompany autism.

CBD Dosage to Treat Autism

Following the assertion provided by the anecdotal reports and CBD experts, overdose with CBD is impossible. We recommend to CBD users to start with a low dosage and gradually increase it with time because the effects will vary from individual to individual. This is an effective method to understand which amount of CBD is right for each individual. The more you understand about the type of disorder you have, the easier it will be to know the kind of dosage that is best for you.

For further details on dosing see our article on CBD Dosing, however we generally recommend the Step Up method by Leinow & Birnbaum. In their book, “CBD: A patient’s guide to Medical Cannabis” the two authors recommend to start with a microdose to treat autism.

What Are Studies Saying About CBD For ASD?

Studies have garnered some facts about CBD and come up with positive results to acknowledge at CBD is a good treatment option for those with Autism.

Following an article in USA Today it has found that the largest data of anecdotal evidence for CBD and autism was derived from a clinical study on epilepsy in children conducted in Israel several years ago. However, the vital part of the information in relation to Autism was that up to 30% of the children suffering from autism also had traits of epilepsy. It was observed that 70% of the people suffering from Autism Disorder showed lower levels of anxiety as a result of CBD treatment.

Following the studies, it is clear that CBD has a great impact on acting as a relief to those suffering from ASD.


  1. Chakrabarti, B., Persico, A., Battista, N. and Maccarrone, M. (2015). Endocannabinoid Signaling in Autism. Neurotherapeutics, 12(4), pp.837–847. []
  2. Siniscalco, D., Sapone, A., Giordano, C., Cirillo, A., de Magistris, L., Rossi, F., Fasano, A., Bradstreet, J., Maione, S. and Antonucci, N. (2013). Cannabinoid Receptor Type 2, but not Type 1, is Up-Regulated in Peripheral Blood Mononuclear Cells of Children Affected by Autistic Disorders. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 43(11), pp.2686–2695. []
  3. Zamberletti, E., Gabaglio, M. and Parolaro, D. (2017). The Endocannabinoid System and Autism Spectrum Disorders: Insights from Animal Models. International Journal of Molecular Sciences, 18(9), p.1916. []
  4. Blessing, E., Steenkamp, M., Manzanares, J. and Marmar, C. (2015). Cannabidiol as a Potential Treatment for Anxiety Disorders. Neurotherapeutics, 12(4), pp.825–836. []
  5. Expert Committee on Drug Dependence (2018). CANNABIDIOL (CBD). [online] World Health Organization. Available at: https://www.who.int/medicines/access/controlled-substances/CannabidiolCriticalReview.pdf. []
  6. Schwartz, Y. (2017). Marijuana may be a miracle treatment for children with autism. [online] USA Today. Available at: https://eu.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2017/04/25/marijuana-pot-treatment-children-autism-cannabis-oil/100381156/ []

Originally published at https://hemppedia.org on August 2, 2018.



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Alyssha Bal

Alyssha Bal

Cannabis connoisseur | Philly native | based in Berlin, Germany