Study: Low-THC Marijuana Useful in Managing Behavioral Problems Associated with Autism

According to a new study marijuana that’s high in CBD and low in THC “seems to be promising in managing behavioral problems associated with autism”,  and it “could be effective in managing the core symptoms and cognitive functions.”

Autism spectrum disorder is “a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by deficits in communication, social interaction, restricted interest, and repetitive behaviors”, states the study’s researchers. “Although more cases are being diagnosed, no drugs are approved to treat the core symptoms or cognitive and behavioral problems associated with autism. Therefore, there is an urgent need to develop an effective and safe treatment.”

With this in mind, in this study researchers aimed “to share our 2-year experience with CBD-enriched cannabis treatment in autism and review the latest studies.”

The study included 33 (27 males, six females) children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder who were followed up between January 2018 and August 2020. The mean age was 7.7 ± 5.5 years. The average daily dosage of cannabidiol (CBD) was 0.7 mg/kg/day (0.3–2 mg/kg/day). The median duration of treatment was 6.5 months (3–28 months). The preparations used in this study contained full-spectrum CBD and trace elements tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) of less than 3%.

“The outcomes were evaluated before and after treatment based on clinical interviews. At each follow-up visit, parents were asked to evaluate the effectiveness of the CBD-enriched cannabis treatment.”

According to the parents’ reports, “no change in daily life activity was reported in 6 (19.35%) patients. The main improvements of the treatment were as follows: a decrease in behavioral problems was reported in 10 patients (32.2%), an increase in expressive language was reported in 7 patients (22.5%), improved cognition was reported in 4 patients (12,9%), an increase in social interaction was reported in 3 patients (9.6%), and a decrease in stereotypes was reported in 1 patient (3.2%).”

The parents reported improvement in cognition among patients who adhered to CBD-enriched cannabis treatment for over two years. The antipsychotic drug could be stopped only in one patient who showed mild ASD symptoms.

“No change could be made in other drug use and doses. Additionally, this study includes an extensive review of the literature regarding CBD treatment in autism spectrum disorder.”

According to recent studies, “the average dose of CBD was 3.8±2.6 mg/kg/day. The ratio of CBD to THC in the used preparations was 20:1. The most significant improvements were seen in the behavioral problems reported in 20–70% of the patients.”

The study concludes by stating that “Using lower doses of CBD and trace THC seems to be promising in managing behavioral problems associated with autism. In addition, this treatment could be effective in managing the core symptoms and cognitive functions. No significant side effects were seen at the low doses of CBD-enriched cannabis when compared to other studies.”

The study’s abstract is below:

Abstract

Introduction

Autism spectrum disorder is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by deficits in communication, social interaction, restricted interest, and repetitive behaviors. Although more cases are being diagnosed, no drugs are approved to treat the core symptoms or cognitive and behavioral problems associated with autism. Therefore, there is an urgent need to develop an effective and safe treatment.

Objective

In this study, we aim to share our 2-year experience with CBD-enriched cannabis treatment in autism and review the latest studies.

Materials and methods

The study included 33 (27 males, six females) children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder who were followed up between January 2018 and August 2020. The mean age was 7.7 ± 5.5 years. The average daily dosage of cannabidiol (CBD) was 0.7 mg/kg/day (0.3–2 mg/kg/day). The median duration of treatment was 6.5 months (3–28 months). The preparations used in this study contained full-spectrum CBD and trace elements tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) of less than 3%.

Results

The outcomes were evaluated before and after treatment based on clinical interviews. At each follow-up visit, parents were asked to evaluate the effectiveness of the CBD-enriched cannabis treatment. According to the parents’ reports, no change in daily life activity was reported in 6 (19.35%) patients. The main improvements of the treatment were as follows: a decrease in behavioral problems was reported in 10 patients (32.2%), an increase in expressive language was reported in 7 patients (22.5%), improved cognition was reported in 4 patients (12,9%), an increase in social interaction was reported in 3 patients (9.6%), and a decrease in stereotypes was reported in 1 patient (3.2%). The parents reported improvement in cognition among patients who adhered to CBD-enriched cannabis treatment for over two years. The antipsychotic drug could be stopped only in one patient who showed mild ASD symptoms. No change could be made in other drug use and doses. Additionally, this study includes an extensive review of the literature regarding CBD treatment in autism spectrum disorder. According to recent studies, the average dose of CBD was 3.8±2.6 mg/kg/day. The ratio of CBD to THC in the used preparations was 20:1. The most significant improvements were seen in the behavioral problems reported in 20–70% of the patients.

Conclusion

Using lower doses of CBD and trace THC seems to be promising in managing behavioral problems associated with autism. In addition, this treatment could be effective in managing the core symptoms and cognitive functions. No significant side effects were seen at the low doses of CBD-enriched cannabis when compared to other studies.

3 comments

    • Barrie on December 30, 2021 at 12:30 pm
    • Reply

    We need more studies to look at the role THC is playing in these therapies, my son responds very well to a 1:1 THC/CBD ratio, he is Autistic and has high anxiety and bouts of self harm, he has only hit himself once since being on a daily capsule of a product by Care By Design here in California, this is down from an almost daily occurrence. I would love to know which is providing the benefit, CBD, THC or the combo, personally I suspect the THC. The dose is low and so never witness any psychoactive effects.

    • Duncan on January 17, 2022 at 12:07 am
    • Reply

    Obnoxious. Why are we characterized by four traits people don’t like about us, as opposed to our laundry list of positive traits?

    I do smoke a lot of weed, though.

      • Katyusha on January 17, 2022 at 6:51 pm
      • Reply

      Obnoxious indeed. Perhaps cannabis can help neuro-normal people from believing every piece of bs they read.
      Some of their traits that need managing:
      1. Their inability to deep think.
      2. High susceptibility to brain washing.
      3. Lying to fit into a group.
      4. Gang mentality.

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