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How Does CBD Oil Work for Autism?

The most significant push for the use of CBD for the management of autism has so far come from parents of children with ASD. Some of the groups involved in this advocacy include Mothers Advocating Medical Marijuana for Autism (MAMMA), which is found in several states. Many of the mothers in these families share their experiences on how CBD has helped reduce the symptoms of autism in their children. Some of these families have had to move from states that don’t allow the use of medical marijuana to jurisdictions where this form of treatment is legal.

Many of the people who need treatment for autism are children. While some studies suggest that THC is good treatment, it also has irreversible adverse effects on the brains of children who use it. The use of regular marijuana would, therefore be counterproductive CBD fits the bill of being an effective treatment by being milder than many other options and presenting much fewer side effects.

ASD has a plethora of symptoms, and reducing and treating it usually means managing individual symptoms to increase a child’s quality of life.  Some of these symptoms include social anxiety, irregular moods, self-injurious tendencies, seizures, aggression, and many others. An evaluation of the effectiveness of CBD concerning the management of ASD would have to explore whether it can reduce the intensity of symptoms.

CBD, Gut Microorganisms and Autism

Recent research has shown that there is a close relationship between the endocannabinoid system and microorganisms in the digestive system. The relationship is such that if one is affected in one way, the other will be altered by the effects. This relationship acquires great significance for the treatment of autism in light of new research.

The research findings in question show that there is a relationship between gut microbiomes and autism. These findings have been given some credence by the fact that fecal transplants have been seen to yield positive results with an autistic child. The research on ASD in this area is also growing towards dietary interventions and prebiotic interventions.

The previously mentioned relationship between CBD and the gut is seen in the fact that CBD has proven to have protective effects on the gut. It is these protective abilities that make CBD suitable for the management of conditions such as Inflamed Bowels Syndrome, colitis, among others. Recent research findings further show that CBD, through the endocannabinoid system in the gut, can improve the integrity of blood vessel lining in the gut. As a result, CBD is seen as capable of dealing with the issues related to microorganisms in the gut, including those that are related to ASD.

Further research published by Nature Reviews Endocrinology shows that the nature review shows that the ECS indeed works on these microbes and inflammation in the gut. This is just further proof that the interaction between CBD and the ECS in the gut is likely to help with the management of autism.

Symptom Reduction

Some of the symptoms of ASD appear separately in individuals, and some of them have been known to respond to CBD therapy. They include social anxiety, hyperactivity, seizures, and impairment of both gross and fine motor functions, among others.

CBD helps someone with ASD deal with social anxiety by regulating the brain’s release of related hormones and facilitating the flow of blood in the relevant areas of the brain. The primary neurotransmitter involved here is serotonin.

The common understanding of serotonin is that it is the ‘happiness hormone,’ but the truth is that it is much more complex than that. How a person’s brain performs concerning serotonin is not only determined by its levels in the brain but also by what it connects with.

As a neurotransmitter, serotonin has fourteen known different receptors, each of which has a different effect when bound.  Among these receptors, CBD targets 5-HT1A, which has a strong role in anxiety disorders. Once CBD has bound these receptors in a person with autism, it helps to restore emotional balance.

Autism, being a genetic disorder, may lead to overstimulation of the endocannabinoid system’s CB1 receptors. These receptors, when overstimulated, lead to anxiety. Overstimulation of the CBD 1 receptors usually comes when the body is working hard to restore homeostasis. The overstimulation is in an attempt to produce cannabinoids internally because it is the role of cannabinoids and the entire ECS to restore homeostatic balance.

CBD is a cannabinoid introduced into the body externally, and this means that it relieves the endocannabinoid system from having to release cannabinoids continuously, and it is therefore not overstimulated. Reduced stimulation, on the other hand, reduces anxiety in the user.

People in the spectrum may also experience seizures as part of their symptoms. Management of seizures is among the most well-researched effects of CBD, and it is one of the reasons why CBD for autism and epilepsy is sought after. The FDA even approved its only CBD based drug, Epidiolex, for the management of seizures.

A study comparing people using CBD with another lot that used a placebo found that CBD reduces seizures by 42%. But how does CBD achieve this reduction? The endocannabinoid system is found in both the peripheral nervous system and the Central Nervous System (CNS). The CB1 receptors of the ECS are located in the neurons, and they play an essential role in the synaptic transmission. In this role, they help regulate the rate at which the neurons fire. The connection between the ECS and CBD, especially with the CBD1 receptors in the neurons, slows down neuro-firing, which reduces seizures and epileptic tendencies. Parents with children in the ASD overwhelmingly report a reduction in aggression in their children. The above-discussed inhibition of neuro-firing could be one of the reasons for the reduction of the said aggression. Research on this is still ongoing.

CBD has also been known to cause relaxation through its interaction with the peripheral nervous system. The relaxation may help a person with ASD with their motor functions. The above interventions are some of the ways that CBD helps people with autism reduce their symptoms.

Risks of using CBD Oil for Autism

Research, so far, shows that CBD is well tolerated in the body, even in children’s bodies. There are some side effects, but for the vast majority of users, the benefits outweigh any potential risks. The most significant potential risk where CBD is concerned is its tendency to inhibit hormones in the CYP system competitively. Such inhibition causes the liver to process other drugs more slowly, and this may be an essential consideration for doctors when giving prescriptions.

Other possible side effects include

  • Nausea
  • Lightheadedness
  • Diarrhea
  • Low blood sugar

It is important to reiterate that the benefits of CBD use usually outweigh all the possible risks. While this is the case, it is imperative for parents to always seek the input of a doctor before using CBD. Professional advice is specifically essential due to possible contraindications when CBD interacts with other medicine.

Using CBD Oil to treat Autism for children

One of the things a parent needs to establish before deciding to use CBD on their children is whether it is legal in their jurisdiction. The parent then must decide, with the input of a doctor, which formulation is best for them to use on their children.

If, as a parent, you want to prevent CBD from inhibiting the function of the liver, make sure you only use delivery methods that don’t need to be metabolized through the liver. This requires you to avoid even the best CBD gummies, cookies, and beverages. CBD capsules also fall under this category since they have to go through the first-pass process.

The effects of CBD in the system is usually felt more and faster when other delivery methods, such as taking it sublingually or intravenously. The intravenous option should only be attempted by a doctor and under rare circumstances. Many children may dislike the earthy taste of hemp oil, and the parent should go for flavored oil.

It is imperative when using CBD on children, for a parent to only buy products from well-established sellers to ensure quality and purity. Even when the products are from reputable sellers, buyers should always work to counter check for quality.

Key Takeaways

There is a lot of research that is still to be done to show precisely how CBD works in the management of autism. We, however, have sufficient anecdotal evidence to show that it works because the best CBD oil for anxiety for depression works just as well in an autistic person. The use of CBD oil for high functioning autism patients can be the way to take them over the top and enable them to live full productive lives.