According to the Autism Speaks Foundation, autism, also known as the autism spectrum disorder (ASD), is a broad range of medical conditions characterized by challenges with personal and social skills. Some of the primary symptoms of autism include repetitive behaviors, unexplained anxiety, and distortion in verbal and nonverbal communication.
Autism affects 1 in every 54 children in the United States alone. What makes the situation bleaker is that most parents don’t realize that their kids are autistic until it’s a bit late. Although it’s not technically considered a progressive condition, autism can increase your kid’s risk of developing other medical conditions if it goes untreated.
Causes and Symptoms of Autism
The specific causes of autism remain unknown. However, the condition mostly results from genetic predisposition and various environmental factors.
As it’s a spectrum disorder, the symptoms and severity of autism may vary from one child to another. While some children may require close support to go about their daily activities, other autistic kids can live independently.
Some of the common symptoms of autism include;
- Anxiety disorders, mostly obsessive-compulsive disorder, social anxiety disorder, and panic disorder
- Gastrointestinal complications like constipation or diarrhea
- Neurological problems, such as seizures
- Sleep disorders like insomnia
- Mental issues like short attention span or poor memory
Treatment for Autism
Sadly, there’s no magic pill for autism, and treatment mostly focuses on specialized therapies to help an autistic child bear the condition.
Thankfully, it’s now emerging that cannabidiol (CBD) can also help mediate the effects of autism. Cannabidiol works against autism by relieving some of the core symptoms of the condition, such as anxiety and insomnia.
CBD and Autism – What Every Parent Must Know
First off, every parent must begin by understanding exactly what CBD is. CBD is an extract obtained from the cannabis plant, which medical experts claim can help treat or manage various diseases. In fact, CBD accounts for many of the healing benefits of cannabis.
The substance differs from its closest cousin, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), in that it doesn’t produce any mind-altering effects. Now that you’re familiar with CBD, you could be wondering how this extract can help your autistic child.
As with many autism remedies out there, cannabidiol doesn’t reverse the condition. Instead, it helps to manage some of the worrying symptoms of autism.
1. CBD can treat anxiety and insomnia
CBD can relieve autism-related anxiety by increasing serotonin signaling in your child’s brain. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter within the human body that regulates mood. Various studies associate stress and anxiety with low serotonin levels.
By boosting serotonin levels in your child’s system, CBD might help modulate mood oscillations, social anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and other anxiety symptoms associated with autism.
Insomnia is another major side effect of autism that cannabidiol (CBD) can help with. CBD can relieve insomnia in three different ways.
First, it can shorten your child’s sleep latency, ensuring that the little one falls asleep much faster.
CBD might also address some of the core symptoms of insomnia, such as post-traumatic stress disorder.
Lastly, cannabidiol reduces or eliminates rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. Note that many dreams occur during REM sleep. Therefore, by eliminating REM sleep, your child will have fewer dreams and consequently sleep for longer.
2. Doses vary
When it comes to cannabidiol, there’s no one-dose-fits-all. Instead, each user has their own dose. As a parent with an autistic child, you should consider starting with lower amounts of CBD and increasing the doses slowly as the child gets more used to the substance.
Should you experience any side effects, such as dry mouth or drowsiness, immediately stop administering the substance and consult your doctor.
Also, it’s generally recommended not to use CBD if your child is presently on certain medications. That’s because CBD may inhibit the working of some drugs.
3. There are different methods of administration
There are at least five different ways to consume cannabidiol, including;
- Vaping CBD-containing e-liquids
- Smoking dried cannabis extracts
- Eating cannabis-infused edibles like gummy bears and chocolate products
- Sublingual administration of CBD oil tinctures
- Topical application of CBD-enriched ointments
With the rise in demand, the CBD industry has stepped up its game as well. You can invest in CBD vape juice to help you sleep or use CBD oil to alleviate your anxiety, inhalable and smokable products and oral tinctures have a faster onset time. However, their effects wear out faster.
On the other hand, edible products have a much slower onset time but have longer-lasting effects.
It’s essential to choose an appropriate CBD delivery method that doesn’t aggravate your kid’s stress levels. You want to introduce CBD to your child seamlessly without them ever knowing what they consumed, which is why you should shun inhalable, smokables, and even oral tinctures.
Your best bet is to consider edible products like CBD-infused gummies, candies, teas, and baked goods.
Autism is a debilitating medical condition which, sadly, has no cure. However, you can consider CBD as an effective way of helping your child cope with the situation. Cannabidiol treats some of the nagging symptoms of autism without presenting any severe side effects. Just remember to consult your doctor before administering any cannabidiol to your autistic kid.