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CBD and Autism

While anecdotal evidence mounts for the efficacy of cannabis in helping children on the spectrum, science is still lacking. Initial research has shown that alterations in endocannabinoid signaling may contribute to autism,1 and the CB2 receptor seems to play an important role.2 An animal study showed that blocking the enzyme that breaks down our own endocannabinoid anandamide improved anti-social behaviors.3 CBD blocks that same enzyme, meaning it could be helpful. Compelling anecdotal evidence suggests that cannabis can help reduce self-harming behaviors common in children on the spectrum.

  1. C. Földy, R. C. Malenka, and T. C. Südhof, “Autism-Associated Neuroligin-3 Mutations Commonly Disrupt Tonic Endocannabinoid Signaling,” Neuron 78, no. 3 (2013): 498–509, doi:10.1016/j.neuron.2013.02.036.
  2. Dario Siniscalco et al., “Cannabinoid Receptor Type 2, but Not Type 1, Is Up-Regulated in Peripheral Blood Mononuclear Cells of Children Affected by Autistic Disorders,” Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders 43, no. 11 (2013): 2686–95, doi:10.1007/s10803-013-1824-9.
  3. V. M. Doenni et al., “Deficient Adolescent Social Behavior Following Early-Life Inflammation Is Ameliorated by Augmentation of Anandamide Signaling,” Brain, Behavior, and Immunity 58 (July 2016): 237–47, doi:10.1016/j.bbi.2016.07.152.