UCSD To Study CBD’s Effects On Autism

By Benjie Cooper

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Not very much was known about cannabidiol (CBD), the non-psychoactive sibling of THC, until recent years when the cannabinoid’s spectrum of medicinal properties was discovered. After epileptic children began to show dramatic improvements with CBD, people soon found that it could be used to treat a myriad of conditions.

But now, the University of California San Diego is getting ready to conduct a study involving CBD and another condition that affects an estimated 1 in 64 children: autism.

“US San Diego is pleased to partner with the Noorda and Wholistic foundations to advance the understanding of when and how medicinal cannabis works, and to use this information to transform the lives of the many people for whom medicinal cannabis may make a meaningful difference in their quality of life,” said UC San Diego Health Sciences vice chancellor, David A. Brenner, MD in an April 25 press release. “We believe that by working together using evidence-based data, we can make the greatest impact on the field, our community, and policy decision-makers.”

Image Source: Scientific American

Autism rates rise, CBD may help quell

What causes autism is not fully understood, but lower serotonin levels, neurotransmitter imbalances, and irregular brain network organization have been observed in autistic individuals. The team conducting the study believes that, due to CBD’s positive effects on the central nervous system and enhancement of endocannabinoid activity, it may be a relevant treatment for autism.

“Given numerous anecdotal reports from parents suggesting CBD may be improving their child’s functioning, we are thrilled to partner with UC San Diego to understand under what circumstances CBD may be effective for autism, and why it seems to help certain individuals and not others,” said Wholistic Research and Education president and co-founder, Pelin Thorogood. “This is especially exciting since the multi-disciplinary approach employed by UC San Diego combining clinical, basic and translational data across the same group of children, has the best chance of helping us understand the role of the endocannabinoid system in treating autism.”

Made possible by a $4.7 million donation from the Ray and Tye Noorda Foundation, the study will involve 30 children and attempt to determine whether or not CBD oil can reduce their seizures, anxiety, self-harm, and improve their overall quality of life.


Chart via Scientific American