- General Health
CBD for Autism [Does It Have an Effect?]
Autism has become a mental condition that most people are aware of these days. While the very idea of it used to be heavily stigmatized, it is now a pretty regular and accepted thing.
A big part of that is the degree to which the condition has become normalized. But also it is due to the growing rate of diagnoses across the world.
However, no matter how well-known a condition becomes, there are still varying levels of it that make it unpleasant. Even though autism is now considered pretty safe and easy to deal with, there are plenty of people out there that find it incredibly challenging to live their day to day lives.
Autism is an especially interesting mental condition, as it is not really classified as an illness. While many people used to think that autism was a death sentence for their child upon diagnosis, it turns out to be more complicated than that.
There are all kinds of different medication and treatment options for autism, but the fact remains that, no matter how many different types there are available, none of them are quite useful enough.
Let’s take a closer look at how to define autism and why CBD might be helpful.
What Is Autism?
Autism is simply a different setup of brain function, meaning a variation in cognitive thinking. Properly known as a developmental disability, autism is something that medical science has yet to really understand.
Autism occurs from birth and, if you are diagnosed with autism, then you have it for life; there is no cure. In fact, many autistic people would say that they neither want nor need treatment, as they do not consider themselves disabled.
Properly diagnosing and recognizing autism can sometimes be a bit difficult, as autism is a spectrum disorder. This means that there are lots of different levels and types of autism. It is possible to be mildly autistic,and thus fly under the radar when it comes to diagnosis.
When you are autistic, you typically exhibit difficulties with attempting to maintain normal social interaction and communication. Autistic children often exhibit repetitive behaviors, as well as enhanced color and pattern recognition.
When it comes to the dangers of autism, the only real problem is the difficulty autistic people find with ‘fitting in.’ Most autistic people appear neurotypical, exhibiting no external signs of disability. However, over time, they exhibit a tendency towards harsh communication or general difficulty with social situations.
In recent years, people have begun worrying that the rate of autistic people in proportion to the general population has been increasing. However, this is actually a myth, as it is not that more autistic people are being born; it is that more are being diagnosed.
This increased rate of diagnosis is due to better testing practices, as well as medical staff and being better educated regarding autism.
So, what kind of things should you try and look out for when considering autism? What are the specific symptoms of this developmental disability?
In the effort of raising autism awareness, there is a surprising amount of information available about the precise symptoms of autism.
For most autistic people, diagnosis occurs exceptionally early in life – typically within the first three years. Most of the time, either the child’s doctor or parents will notice that they tend to exhibit a few particular symptoms.
For starters, autistic children will tend to exhibit heightened levels of pattern recognition, as well as color coordination. One very stereotypical example of this is a child finding pleasant symmetry in stacking or building objects organized to color coordination.
While this might sound pretty regular, this kind of pattern and color recognition is usually far beyond children aged three years old or less.
As a child gets older, autism tends to be noticed in their attitude towards social interaction. While all people experience some difficulty with social situations or interactions, autistic people find it exceptionally hard to attempt to socialize.
This can present itself as a chronic inability to maintain conversations or friendships, or a tendency to be antisocial and disassociated from the conversation and social activity.
Autism is, inherently, about a lack of ‘correct’ sociability. However, autistic people do not view the world incorrectly, nor are they ‘wrong.’ Instead, they simply view social interactions and the importance of correct decorum and behavior differently from neurotypical people.
At the very end of the spectrum of autism, people can become increasingly hostile and difficult to interact with. At its most extreme, autism can cause people to be utterly devoid of social intelligence, preferring to remain completely inward and being incapable of grasping most social norms or attitudes.
So what is the reason that people develop autism? Is it true what they say about vaccines causing autism in young children?
What Causes Autism?
The causes of autism are especially challenging to understand because we still don’t really understand autism itself. To tackle the myth straight away, no, vaccines do not cause autism. There is an incredibly mistaken belief that, somehow, the mercury within vaccines causes children to develop autism.
This strange belief occurred due to a scientist’s attempted efforts to prove his own conclusion in a series of botched experiments and forged data. Yet, somehow, the myth continues, and a myriad of people all over the world still attempts to preach the so-called evils of vaccines. So, no, vaccines do not cause autism whatsoever. But what does?
As far as we can currently tell, autism is the result of a combination of both genetic and cognitive causes. There is a good deal of evidence to suggest that autism is primarily a genetic condition, something that is carried by your ancestors and passed down.
There is also a surprisingly large quantity of evidence that autism is caused by environmental conditions during development in the womb. While this is difficult to comprehend, certain things can occur during pregnancy. Some odd combinations of different drugs or medications or chemicals could induce autism in a child in-utero.
Again, this is not yet adequately understood, meaning we aren’t really able to recognize what the precise causes of autism are. Instead, autism remains one of those conditions that affect different people all over the world to varying degrees.
In fact, autism classification is quite advanced, as we are able to delineate autism into three precise categories, or levels.
Levels of Autism
The tricky thing about autism is that it is a spectrum disorder. What this means is that every single person with autism presents their autism a little differently and to varying degrees.
This is something that makes it surprisingly challenging to categorize everyone with autism into specific categories or groupings reliably. However, there is a rough guide to help classify autistic people, so as better to understand their needs and level of required support.
Level 1 Autism
Level 1 autism is the category that contains all autistic people with lesser traits of autism. People in level 1 tend to have a decent amount of social difficulties and may require some support in their day to day activities.
People with level 1 autism will struggle with conversations and may end up responding incorrectly or inappropriately as a result. Another characteristic of this level is their relative social inflexibility. This means that they might struggle with change, both in new situations or new environments around them.
They will also need some help with long term planning and organization.
Level 2 Autism
Level 2 autism is those autistic people that tend to require a decent level of support. They likely find regular conversations exceptionally difficult, even struggling with healthy communication.
They might speak sporadically or prefer to speak using shorter sentences, or only focus on specific topics that interest them.
This level of autism is well known because people with it tend to struggle with nonverbal cues and eye contact. They might find themselves physically distancing themselves from those around them in an effort to remain more comfortable.
Again, they will likely struggle with change, reacting with much more distress than you would think reasonable in a neurotypical person.
Level 3 Autism
Level 3 autism is, as the name might suggest, the most severe of autism diagnoses. People that suffer this type of autism struggle with basic verbal and even nonverbal communication. They might speak very rarely, if they speak at all, and may respond differently to how you think they should.
People with this type tend to be extremely inflexible, as well as preferring repetitive behaviors. They might completely exclude themselves from other people, divorcing themselves from all social activities and conversation going on around them.
People with this type of autism require constant support, needing either full-time individual care or to be educated within a larger group setting in special schools.
So what can autistic people do when it comes to treatment? What kinds of treatments are there available for them?
The key thing to remember when considering treatment for autism is that autism is not something that needs to be treated. While many people might say that autism is a significant problem, it is nothing to be severely worried about.
While there are people with autism that require constant help and supervision, the vast majority of people with autism can perform and function in society just fine. The main thing about treatment options for autism is that it is really more about helping autistic people fit into regular society.
Things like regular therapy and cognitive behavioral therapy are common options, and attention focusing treatments are also available. However, there are also people looking for more natural treatment options when it comes to treating autism. What about CBD oil? Could you be using CBD oil for autism?
Natural Autism Treatment
Before considering CBD oil as a treatment option for autism, maybe you should consider some home remedies for autism. These kinds of home remedies are an attempt to not precisely ‘cure’ or treat autism, but instead to encourage a healthy and easy life while struggling with the condition.
Autism natural remedies are more about helping to supplement your regular diet and attitude during the day. Things like nutritional supplements, or sleep aids like melatonin, can help encourage a healthy lifestyle.
One method that many people consider is relaxation techniques. These are any treatment options that seek to lighten the load when it comes to stress or behavioral problems.
With autism, especially more severe types of autism, you can struggle with overstimulation or quick change. Calming, relaxing techniques, such as massages, weighted clothing, or even various physical therapies, can actually be a wonderful help in treating autism in the long term.
Of course, CBD oil can also be considered a natural autism treatment.
CBD Treatment for Autism
The idea of using CBD to treat autism can be considered a pretty strange one. After all, anything related to cannabis is more about relaxation and enjoyment than medication, right?
Well, it turns out that cannabis, and more specifically CBD, could be helpful for treating autism.
But how does it actually work?
CBD for Autism
When you imbibe CBD oil, it begins to interact with the endocannabinoid system, working with the two primary receptors on the ECS, known as CB1 and CB2.
These two receptors interact with all kinds of different bodily functions, allowing CBD to help with all kinds of different conditions.
When it comes to trying to treat autism with CBD, we again need to remember that autism is not something that really needs curing. Instead, it is more about helping to improve the lives of people with autism on a day to day basis.
This also makes choosing a CBD oil dosage for autism particularly hard, because different autistic people might benefit from CBD oil in different ways.
There are a remarkable number of CBD and autism studies currently available, with more on the way. For example, one pivotal study by Barchel et al. for the journal Frontiers in Pharmacology found that, when children with autism were dosed with CBD oil, their behaviors and lifestyles improved.
Testing 53 children with a two-month period of dosage, their rate of self- injury and rage attacks reduced by two thirds, while their sleep problems and anxiety also diminished to similar levels. This study is a great example of focusing on the benefits that CBD can have on an autistic person’s life.
While CBD might not be able to specifically change or alter the way with which autistic people think or act, it is still remarkably effective for helping them with their lives. Periods of anxiety, depression, and a tendency towards self-harm often result as a reaction to overstimulation.
Through taking CBD oil, studies like Barchel’s demonstrate that people with autism can calm themselves down through self medication.
So, how might CBD help those living with autism?
Does CBD Oil Help Autism?
The tricky thing with trying to consider whether or not CBD oil actually helps autism, or indeed if autism needs helping at all, is the complexity with the very idea of ‘helping.’
Autism is quite unique as a developmental disability, as it does not necessarily impair or diminish the sufferer’s mental faculties, nor does it make them lesser as a person. Instead, it sort of rewires how they think of the world around them.
This change in thought patterns and behavioral responses makes autistic people more of a subsection of humanity in general, rather than just something ‘different’ or alien.
This is why many people will balk about the idea of combining CBD oil and autism or even treating it in general. However, CBD and autism spectrum disorder most certainly go hand in hand, even if only for the purpose of making an autistic person’s life easier.
Another study for the journal Frontiers in Neurology by Fleury-Teixera et al. found that, by taking regular CBD oil, people with autism could be treated not just effectively, but compassionately. This idea of compassionate treatment isn’t something most people consider when it comes to drugs or medications.
This is because, most of the time, drugs and medication are about trying to cure or fix a condition.
However, CBD oil settles firmly in the category of compassionate medicine, as it allows autistic people to help calm down and ameliorate their symptoms. Even if an autistic person does not mind the fact that they have autism, it is still a good thing to be able to soothe their reactions to an overabundance of external stimuli or too much social interaction.
Summary of CBD for Autism
CBD oil for autism still has a long way to go when it comes to using it as a commonplace treatment. In fact, the very idea of treating autism is still something considered pretty taboo in the medical world.
However, when it comes to helping improve the lives of those with the most serious of autism cases, CBD for autism could have a useful role. While most people with autism can easily get through life with only a few adjustments to what would be considered a ‘normal’ lifestyle, there are plenty of autistic people that simply cannot cope.
For those who really struggle with staying calm despite the world around them, CBD oil could prove a huge benefit to their regular lives. Even just in helping soothe their anxiety, CBD oil could make autistic people’s lives far better. However, it’s essential to stick to reputable brands that provide lab results for the cannabinoid content of their CBD oil.