CBD Oil for Asperger's Syndrome: Is It Worth Trying?

CBD Oil for Asperger's Syndrome: Is It Worth Trying?

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It is estimated that Asperger Syndrome (AS), a condition on the autism spectrum, affects approximately 1 in 200 people. This equates to two to six out of every 1,000 children, highlighting a significant portion of the population dealing with its challenges. Interestingly, boys are three to four times more likely than girls to be diagnosed with AS, underscoring a gender disparity that has puzzled researchers for years.[1]

For people navigating the complexities of AS, finding effective treatments can be a challenging process. Traditional therapies often focus on behavioural interventions and, in some cases, medication. However, there is growing interest in natural alternatives, particularly cannabidiol (CBD), a non-psychoactive compound derived from cannabis. Unlike THC, CBD does not contain psychoactive elements that cause "high", making it an appealing option for alternative use.

Recent research indicates that CBD may offer significant benefits for individuals with AS, particularly in managing symptoms like anxiety, social interaction difficulties, and repetitive behaviours. While scientific studies are still in their early stages, some of the evidence from CBD users points to improved overall quality of life. This article will closely examine the scientific evidence behind CBD and its potential as a treatment for Asperger's Syndrome.

Fact-Checking Asperger Syndrome Myths

Before we proceed with our investigation into the potential benefits of CBD for individuals with Asperger Syndrome, it is vital to address the prevalent myths that often hinder our understanding of this condition. By challenging these misconceptions, we can pave the way for a more informed approach to the potential therapeutic benefits of CBD and Asperger's Syndrome.

Myth 1: AS is a mental disorder or disability.

AS is a brain difference that might or might not be accompanied by other difficulties. Some people with Asperger's find it challenging to hold down a regular job and can suffer from anxiety, depression or other conditions. Many others have successful careers.

It's important to remember that Asperger Syndrome is a brain difference, not a mental disorder. While some people may have trouble with things like anxiety or keeping a job, many others do really well in their careers and have successful lives.

Myth 2: People with Asperger's syndrome don’t make eye contact.

It is a common misconception that individuals with Asperger Syndrome (AS) do not make eye contact. In fact, many people with AS are capable of making eye contact, often because they have learned its social importance. However, for some, eye contact can be challenging or even uncomfortable due to difficulties in interpreting nonverbal cues.

Myth 3: People with AS are loners and they can’t make friends or proper family.

“Many people with AS crave relationships. Nowadays there are special support groups created for partners of autistic adults as well as for neurodiverse couples (at least one partner has AS or a similar issue). Some researches on autistic adults reveale that 43% of respondents were currently married.

The common perception that individuals with AS are isolated and incapable of forming relationships is inaccurate. Many individuals with AS desire and maintain meaningful relationships, with research showing that 43% of autistic adults are married. Support groups and specialized therapy for neurodiverse couples further aid in fostering these relationships.

Myth 4: Aspies are not funny and don’t have a sense of humour.

AS actually allows people to see life from a completely different angle, which can be conducive to humour. People with Asperger syndrome often have a unique perspective on life, which can enhance their sense of humor. Dan Akroyd, a famous comedian who has worked on Saturday Night Live, has talked about having Asperger Syndrome and says that people with it can be funny.

Myth 5: AS is a condition that affects only males.

It's worth noting that while males are about four times more likely to be diagnosed with AS than females, there's a worrying lack of diagnosis in females. This is largely down to differences in how they present themselves. It's not uncommon for women on the autism spectrum to display stronger verbal, social or nurturing abilities, which can make it harder to spot their underlying condition. This shows just how important it is to recognise and understand the different ways that AS can present itself in different genders. There are some great resources out there, like Aspergirls and Women and Girls with Autism Spectrum Disorder, which help us understand these different ways of presenting AS, and why it’s so important to raise awareness and support for women with AS.

Examining the Research: CBD's Potential for Managing Asperger Syndrome Symptoms

With the myths surrounding Asperger Syndrome now clarified, we can direct our attention to the emerging research on the potential benefits of CBD for individuals on the autism spectrum. A notable 2022 case study explored the use of cannabidiol (CBD) in combination with low-dose tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) to manage symptoms associated with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), to enhance the overall quality of life for affected individuals and their families.

The study focused on a nine-year-old male diagnosed with nonverbal autism spectrum disorder (ASD), who exhibited emotional outbursts, inappropriate behaviours and significant social deficits. These challenges severely impacted his ability to communicate and attain independence, both at school and at home, placing a considerable burden on his caregivers.

To address these issues, the patient was treated with a full-spectrum oil containing high levels of CBD and low levels of THC. Each millilitre of the formulation contained 20 mg of CBD together with less than 1 mg of THC. The treatment commenced with a dose of 0.1ml of CBD oil twice daily, with a gradual increase every three to four days to a maintenance dose of 0.5ml twice daily.

The results were encouraging. The patient exhibited a notable decline in disruptive behaviours, including violent outbursts and self-injurious actions, and demonstrated improvements in sleep patterns. Furthermore, there was a notable improvement in social interactions, concentration, and emotional stability. This case study indicates that a combination of high CBD and low-dose THC oil could be an effective treatment option for managing autism symptoms, resulting in improved quality of life for both the patient and their caregivers.

A study published in Frontiers in Neurology on 31 October 2019 revealed significant improvements in patients with ADHD, sleep disorders (SD), and schizophrenia (SZ). Over 80% of these patients experienced enhancements of 30% or more. Furthermore, the study revealed that patients with epilepsy and those without epilepsy demonstrated notable improvements across various categories, including ADHD, SD, and cognitive-social impairment disorder (CSID). The study demonstrated that improvements in sleep quality and reductions in hyperactivity have a significant positive impact on mood, general health, and the effectiveness of psycho-pedagogic therapeutic interventions. Furthermore, psycho-pedagogic therapy may enhance the social, cognitive, and behavioural benefits observed after cannabis extract (CE) treatment in the long term.

However, the study observed that the least pronounced effects were observed in addressing autonomy deficits (AD). This indicates that a longer period may be required for patients and caregivers to establish and reinforce new routines and behavioural patterns before the full benefits of CE treatment can be realised.

Pros and Cons of CBD for Asperger's Syndrome

While there is growing evidence that CBD has potential benefits in various areas, considering both the positive and negative aspects of using it to make an informed decision is crucial.

The positive aspects of CBD for Asperger Syndrome might include:

  • Anxiety and stress

CBD has been demonstrated to possess anxiolytic properties, which may assist in feeling more comfortable in social situations, potentially improving their social interactions and relationships. This is due to the reduction of anxiety and enhancement of mood.

  • Focus and concentration

Some research indicates that CBD can improve focus and concentration, which are often areas of difficulty for individuals with Asperger Syndrome. This can assist in academic and occupational settings.

  • Sleep Quality

CBD has been shown to assist with sleep disorders, which are prevalent in individuals with Asperger Syndrome. This may have a positive impact on daily functioning and overall health , which is beneficial for individuals with Asperger Syndrome.

Negative Aspects of CBD for Asperger Syndrome

  • Lack of Extensive Research

While initial studies and reports are encouraging, there is still a lack of large-scale, long-term clinical trials specifically examining the effects of CBD on Asperger Syndrome. This makes it challenging to reach definitive conclusions about the efficacy and safety of CBD.

  • Potential Side Effects

It should be noted that CBD can cause drowsiness, dry mouth and gastrointestinal issues. In some cases, these side effects may be more pronounced and may outweigh the potential benefits. It should be noted that individuals with Asperger Syndrome may respond differently to CBD, with some experiencing significant benefits while others may see little to no improvement.

  • Interaction with Other Medications

Please be aware that CBD interacts with other medications. CBD may interact with other medications that individuals with Asperger Syndrome may be taking, potentially leading to adverse effects or reduced effectiveness of treatments. Consult with a healthcare professional before commencing CBD use.

  • Legal and Regulatory Issues

The legal status of CBD varies by region, and there may be regulatory issues related to its purchase and use. Quality and purity of CBD products is also a concern, as the market is not uniformly regulated.

While there is potential for CBD to be a supportive treatment for managing symptoms of Asperger Syndrome, further research is needed to fully understand its benefits and risks. Individuals considering CBD should consult with healthcare professionals to make an assessment of the potential advantages and disadvantages and ensure it aligns with treatment plan.

Best CBD Forms and Dosage for Asperger Syndrome

When considering CBD as a treatment for Asperger Syndrome, it is important to understand the appropriate dosage and preparation. CBD is available in a variety of forms, each offering distinct benefits. CBD oil is the most popular choice due to its versatility and fast absorption when taken sublingually. Capsules offer precise dosing and are convenient for daily use. CBD sprays offer a convenient and discreet way to administer the product, making them ideal for those seeking on-the-go relief. It is advisable to start with a low dose and after monitoring the symptoms gradually increase it under medical supervision in order to identify the optimal amount for each individual.

Conclusion

In conclusion, Asperger Syndrome (AS) affects approximately 1 in 200 people, with boys being diagnosed more frequently than girls. Conventional treatments typically involve behavioural interventions and medication, but there is growing interest in CBD as an alternative. A 2022 case study and a 2019 study indicate that CBD may assist in managing AS symptoms such as anxiety and social difficulties. While these findings are encouraging, further research is required to substantiate the efficacy and safety of CBD. It is of the utmost importance that those considering CBD consult with healthcare professionals. This ensures informed decisions and the creation of personalised treatment plans for managing Asperger Syndrome.

Sources:

  1. Asperger Syndrome
  2. Cannabidiol in Treatment of Autism Spectrum Disorder: A Case Study
  3. Effects of CBD-Enriched Cannabis sativa Extract on Autism Spectrum Disorder Symptoms: An Observational Study of 18 Participants Undergoing Compassionate Use
  4. Cannabidiol in Anxiety and Sleep: A Large Case Series
  5. Review of the neurological benefits of phytocannabinoids

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