Scientists from the University of California, San Diego (UCSD), have just received a $4.7 million grant to research the possible health benefits of cannabidiol or CBD on people with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The multi-disciplinary research is to be conducted at the world-renowned Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research at the UCSD School of Medicine.
The financial windfall is a gift from the Ray and Tye Noorda Foundation, a non-profit whose primary mission is “to alleviate suffering and to provide educational access and support for all, with special emphasis on those who are most disadvantaged.” The grant is now considered the largest research award ever given to date by a private institution for cannabis-related research.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 1 in 45 infants worldwide and 1 in 68 American children are diagnosed with ASD. Symptoms vary according to the individual child and where he or she falls on the spectrum. Common indicators of ASD include a tendency to engage in repetitive behaviors, diminished social interactions, avoidance of eye contact, and in more severe cases, language and speaking impairments. The UCSD research will span basic science, clinical trials, genetic techniques, and advanced mathematics to determine if and how CBD can be beneficial for people diagnosed with severe ASD.
“UC San Diego is pleased to partner with the Noorda and Wholistic foundations to advance understanding of when and how medicinal cannabis works, and to use this information to transform the lives of the many people for whom medicinal cannabis may make a meaningful difference in their quality of life… “We believe that by working together using evidence-based data, we can make the greatest impact on the field, our community and policy decision-makers.”
- David A. Brenner, MD, vice chancellor of UC San Diego Health Sciences via KPBS News
Unlike other childhood illnesses that can easily be detected by blood or urine samples, symptoms of ASD may not make themselves apparent until after the child is two-years old or later. Scientists have already conducted research indicating that CBD therapies can be beneficial for patients suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), schizophrenia, depression, arthritis, diabetes, obsessive compulsive disorder, anxiety disorders, and more. An FDA advisory panel has even given the go-ahead for a CBD-based drug that may prove useful for epilepsy patients in managing their related symptoms.
Meanwhile, there are several unconfirmed reports from holistic practitioners and other “alternative” therapists that CBD shows tremendous promise for patients with severe ASD. However, there is currently no scientific evidence by reputable researchers proving that it indeed works. The UC team hopes to provide the first in what they hope will be a long series of related studies which will ultimately help doctors diagnose ASD in patients earlier while providing a higher quality of life for their patients.
Vaping CBD is not the same as vaping marijuana
There is a common misconception that vaping cannabidiol is more common among burnouts and potheads than within the more generalized vaping community itself. But most vapors may be surprised to learn that if a “pothead” wanted to get high, the last thing that they would stuff in their pipe would probably by CBD.
Cannabidiol is completely non-toxic to the human body, provides a wide range of medicinal purposes and therapeutic benefits, and is non-psychoactive. In other words, CBD doesn’t give the user that hazing feeling so often associated with recreational marijuana.