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Study shows CBD-dominant cannabis may help adolescents with autism

The study reported improvements to cognition, behaviour and expressive language

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Autism: A hand pouring CBD-dominant oil into a small brown bottle

A new study from Turkey showed that CBD-dominant cannabis may be effective for autistic adolescents

Researchers aimed to examine if the long-term use of cannabis extracts containing high percentages of CBD with low THC could make a difference for adolescents with autism spectrum disorder (ASD)

The study, which was conducted over a two year period, involved 33 adolescent patients being given CBD-dominant extracts. The patients had been diagnosed with mild to severe autism. Three of the patients were also diagnosed with epilepsy.

Autism is a lifelong developmental disability. It can affect how people communicate or interact with others or their environment. The National Autistic Society estimates that there are 700,000 adults and children with the condition in the UK. It is thought that one in 100 people are on the autism spectrum.

The average daily dose for patients in the study was 0.7 mg of CBD per day. This was given over a median treatment duration of 6.5 months. The study used full-spectrum CBD with less than 3 per cent tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). The ratio of CBD to THC in the preparation was 20:1

Autism study results

The researchers found that there was a decrease in behavioural problems in ten patients, an increase in expressive language in seven patients and improved cognition in four patients. It was also noted that there was an increase in social interaction for three patients.

The parents of the children reported that there had been an improvement in cognition for patients who remained on the CBD-dominant cannabis treatment for the full two years. Six patients reported no changes.

The authors concluded: “Using lower doses of CBD and trace THC seems to be promising in managing behavioural problems associated with autism. In addition, this treatment could be effective in managing the core symptoms and cognitive functions. No significant side effects were seen at the low doses of CBD-enriched cannabis when compared to other studies.”

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