A paper analyzing recent peer-reviewed literature to identify the current state of evidence regarding CBD use for those affected by autism. At this time, three large-scale clinical trials are currently at varying stages of progress and publication of results. Only five small studies were identified that have specifically examined cannabis use and autism. Studies which examined effects of cannabis on shared symptoms of autism such as hyperactivity, sleep disorders, self-injury, anxiety, behavioral problems, and communication were also reviewed.
Five research studies exist which have examined the direct effects of medical cannabis in individuals with autism. The most recently published study conducted in Israel, examined the safety and efficacy of medical cannabis use amongst 188 patients . Patients were treated using cannabis oil (1.5% THC and 30% CBD), and functional activities of daily living, mood, and quality of life were assessed using structured. A third of participants reported significant improvements (Schleider et al., 2019)
With a focus on behavioral problems in children and youth with autism, researchers in Jerusalem are studying the efficacy of a cannibinoid mix, while also examining safety and tolerance. The study is a double-blind randomized placebo-controlled trial and the cannabinoid mix consists of a 20:1 ratio in a 160/ 8.0 mg per ml of CBD/THC olive oil-based solution . Results from this clinical trial are eagerly anticipated
There is an urgent need for additional controlled studies to increase understanding of risks and benefits and also to examine the impact of “entourage effects.” These additional studies would support discussions of treatment options between health care providers and autism patients and their families.
Bar-Lev Schleider L, Mechoulam R, Saban N, Meiri G, Novack V. Real life experience of medical cannabis treatment in autism: analysis of safety and efficacy. Sci Rep. 2019;9:200.