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Research shows 8 out of 10 autistic children may benefit from CBD therapies

A groundbreaking new study involving cannabis-based and hemp-derived cannabinoid (CBD) therapies now indicates possible beneficial health effects for autistic children. Conducted by a team of Israeli scientists, the study was led by Adi Aran of the Shaare Zedek Hospital in Jerusalem, a pioneer in the field of autism research whose previous work was even officially endorsed by the official government of Israel.

The research team began by selecting 60 youngsters diagnosed with autism whose parents agreed to the CBD treatments which would last for a period of seven months.   Throughout the clinical trial, the scientists evaluated the progression or digression of each child’s most common symptoms, which may or may not include the following.

      • Abnormal facial expressions or body posturing
      • Unusual rocking back-and-forth while sitting
      • Abnormal flapping of the arms
      • Avoidance of eye contact
      • Extreme fluctuations in behaviors, moodiness
      • Language and comprehension difficulties
      • Speaking deficiencies or delayed learning of speech
      • Monotonous or flat-toned speaking patterns
      • Inappropriate social interactions
      • Lack of empathy
      • Not playing well with other children
      • Abnormal repetition of specific words and phrases
      • Repetitive movements or compulsions
      • Self-abusive behaviors
      • Sleep issues
      • Issues of abnormal aggression
      • Deficient non-verbal communication skills
      • Gastrointestinal disorders
      • Repeated infections

The Israeli researchers began by introducing the youthful participants to low-dosage, low-concentration CBD therapies on a weekly basis.  Gradually over time, their individual treatment plans were modified according to how well each child responded to the prior therapies.  Each autistic child was allowed to progress at his or her own level of comfort, based on their collective positive or negative responses.  Meanwhile, the doctors were carefully monitoring the frequency and severity of each child’s most troublesome symptoms.      

Related Article:   Once upon a time, there was a girl named Charlotte: The story of CBD-based Charlotte’s Web

Based, in part, on information received from the children’s respective parents, the scientists soon discovered that approximately 80 percent of the children with autism experienced notable declines in their problematic behaviors.  62 percent of the group reported exhibiting vast improvements, as well.

About half of the 60 participants witnessed tremendous progress in their speaking and communication abilities, and perhaps the most remarkable statistic involves the children living with behavioral and anxiety disorders.  Over 40 percent of these youngsters – or about 66 percent of the overall group – experienced significant decreases in episodic events. 

CBD: Possible autistic therapy, not a cure

While CBD therapies may provide physicians and parents of autistic kids with an improved treatment option, the medical community still does not know what causes this rare neurological disorder.  Without knowing the known cause, they cannot pinpoint a precise cure.  Therefore, parents of autistic children should view the Israeli research with these facts in mind.

Autism typically makes itself known to parents in early childhood, although some medical professionals can diagnose the disorder as early as two years of age.  A delayed ability to learn to speak, poor eye contact, and compulsive or repetitive behaviors are common first warning signs.

However, scientists now believe that the earlier that the child is diagnosed, the higher his or her chances will be of eventually leading an independent lifestyle as an adult.  Early diagnosis coupled with the most appropriate autistic medicines and treatment plans improves the odds even more.

Just because CBD products are marijuana- or hemp-based does not necessarily mean that they are unsafe for children.  In fact, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently approved a new CBD-based medication called Epidiolex which helps treat two of the most severe forms of childhood epilepsy.  Parents should be sure to contact the child’s medical professional before experimenting with any CBD-related therapies, edibles, tinctures, or oils.

Related Article:   FDA approves CBD-based Epidiolex to treat severe forms of epilepsy

(Image courtesy of Shutterstock)

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