Parents and caregivers are increasingly turning to CBD products to mitigate autism symptoms in children, according to survey data compiled by Autism Parenting Magazine.

Editors provided survey questions to more than 160,000 worldwide e-mail subscribers. Among US respondents, 22 percent affirmed having provided CBD to a child on the autism spectrum. Seventy-two percent of all respondents were parents while the remaining 28 percent were caregivers.

The majority of respondents reported using products marketed as hemp-derived CBD (which are advertised to possess less than 0.3 percent THC). Only about 14 percent of respondents reported providing CBD extracts that possessed more significant amounts of THC.

Respondents said that they were most likely to administer CBD products to treat symptoms of anxiety, “challenging behavior,” pain, or to improve sleep. Eighty-three percent of those surveyed said that they would recommend the use of CBD products to other parents caring for autistic children.

A recently published review of nine clinical trials assessing the use cannabinoids in autism patients identified beneficial changes in symptoms following cannabinoid therapy, including “decreased bouts of self-mutilation and anger, hyperactivity, sleep problems, anxiety, restlessness, psychomotor agitation, irritability, perseverance, aggressiveness, and depression [and] improvement in sensory sensitivity, cognition, attention, social interaction, and language.” Researchers concluded, “Cannabis and cannabinoids have very promising effects in the treatment of autistic symptoms and can be used in the future as an important therapeutic alternative.”

Additional information on cannabis and autism spectrum disorder is available from NORML.

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