CBD and Autism: What There Is To Know

CBD (Cannabidiol) is a phytocannabinoid or endocannabinoid and is one of about 113 identified cannabinoids in cannabis plants. Cannabidiol can be consumed in many ways: Through inhalation, aerosol spray, and orally.

It has been well established that the substance can be used for various medical purposes such as the treatment of a wide variety of illnesses including insomnia, acne symptoms, epilepsy, anxiety, cancer symptoms, inflammation, depression, chronic pain, diabetes, autism, and so on. The drug works for individuals of all age groups. It can be very beneficial to your pets (dogs and cats) too.

For this article, we will look at how cannabidiol helps autism and some other important facts that should be known.


Autism is an adverse developmental disorder that affects an individual’s ability to communicate and interact. Autism spectrum disorder affects the central nervous system. About 1% of the world’s population is affected by the condition.

The cause may be genetic, risk factors during pregnancy, or environmental factors. Risk factors during pregnancy include toxins, infections, autoimmune diseases, and fetal growth restriction.

There is no known cure for the condition, but there are various treatments available (including the use of CBD). The condition requires medical diagnosis and can last for many years or throughout the patient’s life.

Parents of autistic children usually notice signs between 0 to 3 years of age. Often times, these signs may develop gradually. The child may reach his/her developmental milestones at a normal pace before regressive autism kicks in. Common symptoms of autism include difficulty in communicating, repetitive behaviors, obsessive interests, and challenges when interacting socially. More explanation is given below:

  • In terms of behavior, patients are known to maintain poor eye contact, perform compulsive actions, harm themselves, repeat words or actions persistently, get impulsive, and repeat movements.
  • In terms of development, the child experiences learning disability or speech delay.
  • Psychologically, the patients are usually unaware of the emotional states of others.
  • In the area of cognition, the individuals have problem paying attention and may express a strong interest in a limited number of things.
  • Other symptoms may include anxiety, sensitivity to sound, change in voice, or tic (a compulsive, repetitive movement or sound that is often difficult to control).

Treatment of Autism

The early diagnosis of autism is essential to a better developmental process and quality of life for the individual. It needs to be recognized early so that behavioral, educational, and family therapies can begin in earnest. Therapies may reduce symptoms and improve the child’s learning process. They may include telepractice, behavior therapy, anger management, sensory processing, family therapy, animal-assisted therapy, and applied behavior analysis.

Specialists involved in the treatment of this condition are paediatricians, neurologists, clinical psychologists, speech therapists, psychiatrists, primary care providers (PCPs), and occupational therapists. 

Medications for autism involve the use of anti-depressants, anti-psychotics, and stimulants. CBD is an important part of these medications.

CBD and Autism

In a study conducted by Israeli researchers, additional evidence was gathered was gathered about the efficacy of cannabidiol in the treatment of autism. The study team was led by the director of pediatric neurology at Shaare Zedek Hospital, Dr. Adi Aran. He decided to embark on the study after the revelation of CBD’s potentials in treatment of epilepsy. It is noteworthy that almost 33% of autistic patients are also epileptic. 

The study involved the use of CBD oil having 20% cannabidiol and 1% tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) with children as subjects. The children were treated with this formula for 7 months. At the end of the study, it was revealed that many of the children improved in terms of communication and behavior. There was also a decrease in their anxiety levels.

Many doctors prescribe some antipsychotic drugs that have very adverse side-effects. However, CBD’s side-effects are far less in comparison to other medications. Many parents of autistic children have declared the efficacy of cannabidiol in the treatment of their children. If more studies like the one conducted by Dr. Aran and others are embarked upon, more doctors will be willing to prescribe the drug for therapy.

Processing of Cannabidiol

The drug can be processed into CBD oil with only CBD as the active ingredient. This means that THC or terpenes (terpenoids) will be excluded from the product.

THC is one of the least cannabinoids and it is the principal psychoactive constituent of cannabis. It is noteworthy that CBD does not have the same psychoactive properties as THC. In fact, the actions of the latter are affected by the former. On the other hand, terpenes (terpenoids) are the primary components of the essential oils of a number of flowers and plants.

Cannabidiol can also be supplied as dried cannabis, prescription solution, a full-plant CBD-dominant hemp extract oil, or as a capsule.

Other Properties

It has been confirmed that the substance does not have any psychotropic effects (causing highness). However, it is known to have anti-psychotic and anti-anxiety effects. CBD can be liquefied in organic solvents such as pentane, but it cannot be dissolved in water. You can read more here.

Cannabidiol becomes a colorless crystalline solid at room temperature. It becomes quinone in strongly basic media and the presence of air through oxidation. Its cyclization to THC is influenced by acidic conditions.

Possible Side-effects

From past safety studies, it has been revealed that the drug is well-tolerated. However, it may induce tiredness (fatigue), cause diarrhea, or change a person’s appetite. Some products containing the substance list side-effects such as insomnia, poor quality of sleep, or sleepiness. Here, learn more about CBD oil and its uses, benefits to treatment of anxiety 

This is a contributed post and therefore may not necessarily reflect the views and opintions of this blog or its author. 

Rob Gorski

Full time, work from home single Dad to my 3 amazing boys. Oh...and creator fo this blog. :-)
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Meredith Myers

it’s been wonderful relief for both of my non verbal autistic kids. helps with anxiety, sleep, ocd and more. highly recommend.

Curtis G

After almost a year of research and hesitancy, we began a careful and cautious use of CBD oil for our adult autistic son. Before using it, our son was having continuous, nightly panic attacks and meltdowns that started in the evening and lasted until 4 to 5:00am. Besides extremely terrible for him, it was not so easy for us, especially me, because my wife has her own medical issues and I would have to be the one to stay up with him, trying to help him calm down. Very draining and nerve wracking when you both are in your mid and late 60’s. Since using the CBD oil, he hasn’t had one of these extreme anxiety outburst episodes in the past year of using CBD oil drops. He also sleeps much better at night. Before he was staying up until 5am, sometimes 6am. I can’t totally say this is 100% definite treatment for everyone, but too my surprise, it did work for us. I was extremely hesitant about using CBD oil for fear that it was some over hyped treatment some people were putting out there among the many bogus treatments that are pitched to autistic parents and care givers and worried about the THC content which I did learn is practically nil. I am in no means pushing CBD oil. I can only attest that it did work for our son in regards to lessening to a very large degree his anxiety ridden panic disorder.