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CBD and Autism Spectrum Disorder: Case Study Finds Cannabis Treats Symptoms Associated with ASD

A recent case study published on the online, peer-reviewed journal Cureus reports that low Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) cannabis oil helped to manage symptoms associated with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The cannabis oil contained a ratio of 20:1 cannabidiol (CBD) to THC (20 mg CBD: <1 mg THC). The starting dose was 0.1 ml administered twice daily and was titrated up to 0.5 ml twice daily.

The patient, now a 9-year-old male, was diagnosed with nonverbal ASD at 3 years of age. The patient has a history of inappropriate behaviors, self-injurious behaviors (e.g., head and chest punching), disruptive emotional outbursts, overeating, and social deficits when attempting to communicate with others. The patient also struggled to initiate sleep and to stay asleep. He required pull-up diapers due to nighttime incontinence. Furthermore, the patient required daily insulin injections due to a comorbid diagnosis of diabetes mellitus (Type 1) and occasional administration of an inhaler due to mild asthma.

At 7.5 years of age, the patient began cannabis oil treatments in the above formulation. Within two weeks, the patient began sleeping far better. He was able to fall asleep within 10-15 minutes, stayed asleep, and was able to use the bathroom unsupervised and discontinue use of pull-up diapers. The patient’s academic performance also improved, he was notable less anxious and aggressive, his eating habits became less extreme, and self-injurious behavior diminished. This made the daily administration of insulin less of a burden to caregivers. Furthermore, caregivers did not note any side effects with the treatment.

Caregivers noted that the patient did not have access to the cannabis oil for approximately 1 week (as they did not bring it on a family trip), and the patient resumed behaviors not seen since treatment was initiated. The regression was almost immediate, manifesting as troubled sleep within 24 hours, reduced communication skills within 48 hours, and aggressive behavior within 72 hours. Upon resuming the treatment, the patient’s negative symptoms once again became more manageable.

To read the full case study, see the Cureus paper here.

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