CBD Oil Can Treat Autism: An Israeli Study

A new Israeli study found that CBD oil can be used to treat symptoms of autism in children and adults.

In 2012, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) reported that one in every 68 children in the United States were diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder. The condition is often detected when a kid turns around 2 years old and they start to show impaired social skills and communication abilities with compulsive behaviors.

Recently, Israel neurologists Dr. Adi Aran may have discovered a remedy for families with members suffering from autism. The Director of the Neuro-pediatric unit in Shaare Zedek Medical Center found that symptoms of autism can be treated using a high concentration of CBD oil, with an improvement rate of up to 80%.

“So far, our impression is that it’s working,” Dr. Aran said. “In autism, it is the first of the field.”

The study included 60 children with an average age of 12 years, who did not show any condition improvement despite taking conventional drug therapy. The children were treated with cannabis oil with a concentration of 20% CBD and 1% tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). CBD is the non-psychoactive ingredient in the cannabis plant, whereas THC is the main psychoactive substance.

Parents of the children were asked to fill out questionnaires after the end of the treatment period. They were asked whether or not they noticed significant changes in their children’s behavior and communication skills.

Around 80% responded that they noticed a decrease in problematic behavior. In addition, a little over 60% noted significant improvement in their children’s behavior.

Furthermore, the study also found that 50% of the participants reported some improvements in their communication skills. Around 40% reported significant improvement in their anxiety symptoms.

When asked how CBD works with autism. Dr. Aran admitted that although there are theories surrounding it, the exact reason or explanation is unknown. “It can’t be explained,” he noted.

He further admitted that the potential long-term impact of CBD use can be worrisome. But generally, CBD is considered mostly safe. In fact, the researcher revealed that CBD has already been tested for epilepsy. The study, which was published in Seizure: European Journal of Epilepsy 2016, revealed that cannabis significantly reduces the number of seizure episodes in children with epilepsy.

Currently, the Food and Drug Administration only approved two atypical antipsychotic drugs to treat symptoms of autism in the US. Just like any other drugs, they do not work for all patients. What’s more, they have serious side effects. Other than a pharmacologic approach, intensive behavioral therapies are also used, although they require high levels of care.

Dr. Aran revealed that before the study was conducted, many parents approached them and sought their help. Parents have reportedly heard about how CBD oil might help children with autism.

He resisted at first, saying there is no concrete and proven basis for it. But he was eventually persuaded “because the families were really helpless.”

Although the recent study shed some hope to families with children suffering from autism, Dr. Aran made clear that “it will never cure autism.” However, it will certainly help improve the poor quality of life of these families.

Israel is one of the first modern nations to look into the medical benefits of the cannabis plant, CBD oil in particular. The country’s government funds medical cannabis program and limits restrictions on such unlike in the US.

Some recent studies of cannabis plants conducted in Israel revealed that the plant can also heal bone fractures, relieve Parkinson’s disease-related pain, and avert brain damage. One study even found CBD oil is capable of stopping the spread of cancer.

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