According to a study published in the journal Frontiers in Psychiatry, autistic patients who use marijuana-based extracts experience symptom improvements and a reduction in the use of prescription medications.
The study was conducted by researchers at the National Association for Inclusion of the Autistic People, the University of Brasilia, the Federal University of Minas Gerais, the Euro-American University Center and the Specialized Educational Care Division for Gifted Students of the Department of Education of the Federal District.
“Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) may significantly impact the well-being of patients and their families”, states the study. “The therapeutic use of cannabis for ASD has gained interest due to its promising results and low side effects, but a consensus on treatment guidelines is lacking.”
With that in mind, researchers “conducted a retrospective analysis of 20 patients with autistic symptoms who were treated with full-spectrum cannabis extracts (FCEs) in a response-based, individually-tailored dosage regimen.”
The daily dosage and relative proportions of cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) were adjusted based on treatment results following periodic clinical evaluation. Most patients (80%) were treated for a minimum of 6 months, and researchers “used a novel, detailed online patient- or caregiver-reported outcome survey that inquired about core and comorbid symptoms, and quality of life.”
Researchers “also reviewed patients’ clinical files, and no individual condition within the autistic spectrum was excluded. This real-life approach enabled us to gain a clearer appraisal of the ample scope of benefits that FCEs can provide for ASD patients and their families.”
“The outcomes were mainly positive for most symptoms, and only one patient from each of the two above-mentioned situations displayed important side effects one who has used only CBD-rich FCE throughout the treatment, and another who has used a blend of CBD-Rich and THC-rich FCEs”, states the study. “Therefore, after FCE treatment, 18 out of 20 patients showed improvement in most core and comorbid symptoms of autism, and in quality of life for patients and their families.”
For them, “side effects were mild and infrequent.”
Researchers note that “In this manuscript we present the perceived improvements of ASD patients and their families over the course of 3 to 21 months of treatment with FCE [full-spectrum cannabis extracts], using a titration protocol that resulted in personalized CBD and THC dosages, resulting in individually tailored CBD to THC proportions”, stating that “Parents reported improvement in all aspects evaluated.”
A study released in June found that acute treatment with as little as 10 mg/kg of purified CBD “can enhance social interaction preference in male mice that are otherwise socially deficient”.
A separate study released late last year found that CBD enriched with terpenes may provide a safe and effective treatment option for autism spectrum disorder.