According to the CDC, one in 54 children has autism spectrum disorder (ASD). It affects boys more frequently than girls, and girls generally exhibit less obvious signs. Doctors prescribe various treatments to help improve communication, social, and functional skills. With effective treatment, individuals with ASD can live independent and productive lives. One such treatment that’s been gaining attention is cannabis oil for autism. Here’s what you need to know.
What Is Autism Spectrum Disorder?
Autism spectrum disorder is a developmental condition. Individuals with ASD face challenges with social interactions, communication, and more. The severity of the condition also varies from one person to the next.
Generally, doctors diagnose ASD in early childhood. Most symptoms become evident around the age of two to three. Children with ASD may have trouble with back-and-forth conversations or understanding social cues. They may be sensitive to certain textures, sounds, or flavors, or they may show an unusually intense interest in a specific activity.
Conventional Treatments for ASD
There are several different treatments for ASD. Behavior and communication approaches provide structure, organization, and direction to children with ASD while helping them learn important skills. These treatments include:
- Occupational therapy
- Speech therapy
- Social skills training
- Applied behavior analysis
Some doctors may recommend medications to help with ASD symptoms. Medication can’t cure the condition, but it can help individuals with ASD function better. Depending on the medication, it may help manage energy levels, increase focus, control seizures, or assist with behavioral reactivity.
How Cannabis Oil May Help
More and more states are beginning to legalize cannabis for recreational and medical purposes. Research on the plant is showing that the various compounds in it may help to treat a variety of different conditions.
Some studies are showing that cannabis oil may also be beneficial for individuals with ASD. The compounds in the oil can help to treat some of the symptoms of the condition, such as seizures, anxiety, depression, and behavioral issues. The problem, however, is that there isn’t a lot of research currently available. There’s also the issue of using cannabis for children with ASD. While many states allow medical cannabis, not all of them consider ASD a qualifying condition. Much like other treatments, cannabis can’t cure ASD or eliminate the symptoms, but it may help to make them more manageable.
Are There Any Side Effects?
Cannabis oil doesn’t have the same side effects as many conventional medications. The exact side effects vary depending on the specific medication. For instance, antipsychotics may lead to weight gain or cause drowsiness. SSRIs for anxiety and repetitive behaviors may cause sleep problems and irritability. Medications for seizures may cause changes in behavior or stomach upset.
There are very few side effects associated with cannabis oil. They may include things such as lower blood pressure, changes in appetite, or sleepiness.
There isn’t a ton of research available on the effectiveness of cannabis oil for autism spectrum disorder. Not every state that allows medical cannabis lists ASD as a qualifying condition. If you’re interested in giving cannabis oil a try for yourself or your child, be sure to consult with your doctor.