Can CBD help with autism?

May 04, 2019 5 min read

Can CBD help with autism?

Autism is a complex disorder, in fact, a set of various disorders that affect the development of the brain from early childhood. It is a medical condition which affects everyone differently, but there are some common symptoms in all autism patients. These symptoms include, but not limited to, communication difficulties, interacting problems with others, and some behavioral problems that could be self-injurious as well.

A point needs to be noted here is that not all autistic children are affected intellectually. There are many autistic kids with high-level brain functioning. They perform excellently in certain domains, like music, art, and math.

In this article, we would discuss - can CBD help with autism?

Autism and CBD oil

If you ask a medical professional, he will tell you that this is much easier to deal with a disorder that has a known cause, unlike the one without an established cause. Unfortunately, autism is one of the medical disorders that have not one single cause, and therefore, scientists are facing great difficulty in engineering medications for this condition.

Genetic mutations and certain environmental factors, like parental age, prenatal exposure to drugs, and too much exposure to pesticides may lead to the development of autism. The wide range of these causing factors make the symptoms in autistic individuals differ widely.

However, many types of research show a relation between autism procedures and CBD oil. It has given a hope to humanity, and many studies have started conducting researches to find any evidence of dealing with autism with CBD oil.

In a recent study, researchers found a pre-clinical evidence that CBD can effectively help in overcoming autism. This research was carried out on autistic mice.

Autistic mice don’t like socializing and interacting with other mice. When these mice were given CBD oil, their preference to spend time with other mice and socialize with them was improved. These results show that CBD oil can help in improving social interaction, which is a common problem in autistic children. However, it doesn’t demonstrate the quality of this social interaction.

CBD oil has an ability to enhance the inhibitory function of the brain by increasing the activity of the neurons which is responsible for regulating the inhibition levels in the brain.

The endocannabinoid system and scientific findings

The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is a major portion of the neurological system of the human body that regulates behavioral reactivity to the context, emotional responses, and social interactions. This system is also associated with anxiety, disturbance in sleep patterns, and intellectual disabilities.

In the scientific researches of recent years, data has been collected to shed light on the association of endocannabinoid systemwith autistic disorders.

Various studies reveal that the parts of the brain where CB1 cannabinoid receptors are in the majority are same that scientists believe cause dysfunction in autistic patients, which are basal ganglia, the hippocampus, and the cerebellum.

During the human fetal development, the whole endocannabinoid system plays an important role in different important neurological processes. Moreover, CB1 receptors also play an important role in defining the synapses position during the early childhood development. This study suggested that activating CB1 receptors in the early developmental stages might have something to do with autism.

In an animal study in 2013 revealed that the endocannabinoid system could be involved in the development of autism. In another study in 2015, scientists concluded that when anandamide, a chemical in the brain, activates the CB1 receptors, it affects the response system of rewards via social interactions. Scientists assume that disturbance in this signaling system of the nervous system may contribute to social problems in patients with autism.

CBD oil and autism in humans

Over many years, there have been many anecdotal pieces of evidence that support the effectiveness of CBD oil in dealing with autism. In many cases, where patients do not respond to conventional methods, parents have to look for alternative options such as CBD oil.

Mother of a 12-year old son, Shirfa Klein, is a strong advocate of using CBD oil tp battle autism. His son was diagnosed with severe autism when he was only 2 years old. According to Klein, use of CBD oil has done a miracle for her son, and he is now more focused in school. He can grasp new concepts easily and is able to follow multi-step directions in the classroom.

Although CBD oil has been proved a good method against autism for Klein’s son, because of lack of clinical evidence, many states in the USA do not allow its use.

Shirfa Klein is an early education teacher and she understands the feelings, fear, and stigma of parents of autistic kids. According to her, she encourages parents to use available resources for procedures like therapies, but at the same time, she emphasizes the addition of CBD oil from a reliable source to their procedure routine.

Medical doctors do not prescribe CBD oil for dealing with autism as there is no data available to support this method.

However, unavailability of data is not due to the inefficiency of CBD oil against autism, instead, it is due to the fear of testing it on children due to various active compounds that may have potentially uncontrollable effects on them.

Despite all this, there is an increase in informal evidence that using CBD oil is making autistic children healthier and happier. And these evidences are not left unheard.

New research on CBD oil and autism

Many researches have been started in different parts of the world to prove the positive effects of CBD oil in the cases of autism.

A major research is planned at the University of California to investigate CBD oil as a method to battle autism, and for this, they have received more than $4.7 million donations from the private sector.

According to Igor Grant,the director of the Department of Psychiatry at the San Diego School of Medicine, there are many apparent positive effects of CBD oil on the human nervous system that may be relevant to autism.

CBD oil is potentially a good solution for autism. There are many anecdotal evidences and, hopefully, within a few years, we would also have scientific evidence to prove this stance.


This article was written by an independent and third-party author specialising in CBD, hemp and cannabis research. Any opinion, advice or recommendation expressed in the article does not reflect the opinion of Formula Swiss AG or any of our employees. We do not make any claims about any of our products and refer to our disclaimer for more information.

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