Study: Autism Patients Show Clinical Improvements Following Use of CBD-Rich Cannabis

Tel Aviv, Israel: The administration of CBD-rich cannabis is associated with clinical improvements in adolescents with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), according to data published in the journal Translational Psychiatry.

Israeli researchers evaluated the efficacy of cannabis treatment in a cohort of 82 young people (ages 5 to 25) with ASD. Subjects in the trial consumed whole-plant cannabis extracts (oils with a CBD:THC ratio of 20 to 1) adjunctively over a period of six months. Investigators used a variety of standardized clinical assessments to evaluate patients’ symptoms prior to and immediately following treatment.

They reported, “Our results revealed significant improvements in [the] overall … scores of the ASD participants who completed the 6-month treatment protocol with CBD-rich cannabis. Overall changes were mostly driven by improvements in social communication skills.

“[T]hese findings suggest that treatment with CBD-rich medicinal cannabis can lead to significant improvements in social communication skills of some ASD individuals, particularly those with more severe initial symptoms,” authors concluded. “These positive findings motivate further double-blind placebo-controlled studies for determining the efficacy of treatment with specific cannabis strains and/or synthetic cannabinoids.

The researchers’ findings are consistent with those of numerous other studies demonstrating that the use of either CBD-dominant cannabis or oral extracts is associated with symptom mitigation in adolescents with ASD.

Full text of the study, “Children and adolescents with ASD treated with CBD-rich cannabis exhibit significant improvements, particularly in social symptoms: An open label study,” appears in Translational Psychiatry. Additional information on cannabis and ASD is available from NORML.