Treating Autism With Cannabis Now Has Scientific Support

Photo Credit: Civilized

Photo Credit: Civilized

A new study has found CBD extract may be able to provide support for those diagnosed with autism. Many researchers attribute the symptoms of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), which include problems in communication, odd social interactions, restricted or repetitive movements, to reduced inhibition in the brain. Now, in a breakthrough study, a team of researchers from the University of Washington has sought to use CBD as a way of restoring inhibition in the brain. Scientists used a genetic mouse model, in which the genes have been mutated in order to produce the symptoms of Dravet Syndrome, which includes inducing spontaneous seizures and exhibiting autism-like behaviors, to determine the effects of CBD on autism, specifically. In the model, mice were offered a choice between interacting with other mice or objects. While mice would usually prefer to spend time with other mice, the autistic-like mice usually have no preference and will split their time equally between the two. Upon receiving small amounts of CBD (about 10-20% of the anti-epileptic dose), the autistic-like mice significantly increased the amount of time they spent with other mice. Additionally, CBD reduced the urge autistic-like mice felt in escaping these social situations, and they exhibited improved performance in regards to the quality of their social interactions.

To understand these results, the researchers recorded electrical signals within the brains of the individual mice. They found CBD blocked the brain receptor GPR55 from interfering with how the brain cells communicated, thereby restoring balance and brain inhibition. The next steps will involve breaking down the barriers that exist as a result of cannabis’ Schedule I status so that researchers can test the effects of CBD on autism in large-scale human models. This information has been provided by Civilized and approved by our Chief Medical Officer.