CBD oil is commonly used to treat conditions like anxiety, arthritis, and epilepsy. But what about Asperger’s? How can CBD oil help with developmental disorders in the autism spectrum? Research reveals that CBD oil may play a role in treating autism spectrum disorders, including Asperger’s.
What is Asperger’s Syndrome?
1 in 59 children in the U.S. is diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Asperger’s is classified under this umbrella term according to the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), which was released in 2013.
Asperger’s is a mild form of autism that causes people to process information differently than the general population. People with Asperger’s typically have a deficit in social skills. Common examples include the inability to interpret social cues, having trouble conversing, and lacking in eye contact.
These impairments can lead the person to isolation and distress. Because of these difficulties, people with Asperger’s tend to also develop associated disorders such as anxiety, depression, or neurological disorders.
There is no known cause of Asperger’s. Rather, its risks increase due to certain genetic and environmental factors during development. Autism tends to run in families. If an altered gene is passed down, the offspring have a higher risk of developing autism. Similarly, non-genetic factors such as the parent’s age and birth complications can increase the risk of developing autism.
Researchers have found that the brains of people with Asperger’s are wired differently than normal brains. The part of the brain that involves language and communication have weaker connections in an Asperger’s brain. Contrastingly, however, certain areas have stronger connections than normally-developing brains, supporting the fact that some people with Asperger’s have distinctive cognitive abilities.
What are the Symptoms of Asperger’s?
Asperger’s usually develops early in life, and its symptoms are most noticeable during childhood. Some of the symptoms of Asperger’s might include:
- Difficulty with social interactions
- Sensitivity to light, sound, etc.
- Limit of interests
- Anxiety and depression
- Remarkable strengths
While there is no cure or treatment for Asperger’s syndrome (or ASD in general), doctors prescribe certain medications that can help with managing its symptoms. Medications like antidepressants, SSRIs, and psychostimulants are common use. These drugs are the typical plan of action for long-term management of Asperger’s symptoms. However, they also come with plenty of potentially harmful side effects.
What about alternative treatment options? Is there anything that can help with Asperger’s symptoms without having adverse side effects?
Indeed there is. CBD oil is a natural compound that is able to provide relief from symptoms we associate with Asperger’s while also delivering many other health benefits. What’s more, it does all this without the harsh side effects that commonly result from conventional drugs.
What is CBD Oil?
Cannabidiol (CBD) oil is revolutionizing the world of medicine. It derives from hemp, a plant people use around the world for industrial manufacturing of everyday goods. It is, therefore, a natural substance with no intoxicating effects.
People tend to mistake CBD for THC, the psychoactive compound in cannabis. While these two compounds come from the same plant family, they are completely different. They have different effects on the body.
The mind-altering, high-inducing chemical you are most familiar with is tetrahydrocannabinol or THC. Hemp plants contain extremely low amounts of this compound and relatively high amounts of CBD. This makes it ideal for extracting CBD which can then be used for therapeutic purposes.
How does CBD work on the body?
CBD works with two main receptors: CB1 and CB2. CBD itself is known as a cannabinoid, and it acts on these two cannabinoid receptors. CB1 and CB2 receptors are located throughout the brain and the rest of the body, respectively. Collectively, this is known as the endocannabinoid system (ECS) and it serves an essential regulatory purpose in our bodies.
When you ingest CBD, it interacts with cannabinoid receptors which can send signals to various organs and tissues in the body to influence their activity. In short, the ECS works to promote homeostasis in the body.
Can CBD Oil Help Asperger’s Symptoms?
CBD oil has known therapeutic properties. It can relieve symptoms of arthritis, anxiety, depression, epilepsy, cancer, irritable bowel syndrome, and many more. However, none of these conditions seem to be related to autism, i.e., they are not developmental disorders. So can CBD really help treat Asperger’s?
While there is no treatment for Asperger’s, CBD oil can help treat and manage its associated symptoms. These include symptoms like social anxiety, ADHD, depression, behavioral disorders, and even epilepsy.
CBD for anxiety & depression
Anxiety and depression can develop in a person with Asperger’s due to social isolation. Social anxiety, specifically, is the fear of being misevaluated by other individuals, which can result in feelings of inadequacy, inferiority, and depression.
CBD oil has anti-anxiety properties that can promote calmness while increasing serotonin availability in the brain. Researchers believe serotonin gives us a feeling of happiness or well being. This is essentially the same effect as antidepressants like SSRIs.
CBD for behavioral disorders
Those with Asperger’s are also likely to develop behavioral disorders, particularly restricted, repetitive behaviors and communication problems. One promising CBD study shows that for “Hyperactivity symptoms (in children)-Improvement was considered as 80%” and “for self-injury, an improvement was considered as 82%”.
These results show great promise for cannabinoids as an autism disorder treatment. Because the ECS communicates with various brain regions, CBD is able to increase signaling activity and stimulate the brain areas associated with these problems.
CBD & epilepsy
Autism and epilepsy seem to have a link in that they are likely to occur together. Roughly twenty to thirty percent of children with autism develop epilepsy in their childhood. Epilepsy involves sudden seizure attacks that can be dangerous. CBD oil can help reduce the frequency and severity of seizures. Studies show that CBD was, in fact, able to reduce the number of seizures in an epileptic patient. This certainly also applies to aspies who suffer from epilepsy.
ADHD and Asperger’s both have overlapping symptoms, including social awkwardness and atypical behaviors. Since CBD can improve behavioral outbreaks and social anxiety, it is possible that CBD may be able to treat ADHD symptoms. However, results from studies are not significant enough to support this idea.
How to Use CBD Oil for Asperger’s
Dosage and frequency of CBD oil administration can vary from person to person. Some people may find that using CBD oil in higher doses helps them better. Others may benefit more from smaller doses used more frequently.
There are currently no standard dosage guidelines, but there are recommendations that can serve as a starting point.
The recommended dosage for regular strength is 0.25 milligrams of CBD oil per 1 pound of bodyweight. For a stronger dose, the recommended amount is 0.50 milligrams of CBD oil per 1 pound of bodyweight. For example, for a person who weighs 150 pounds, a regular strength dose would be (150 lbs x 0.25 mg =) 37.5 milligrams of CBD oil. This translates to 37.5 drops for a 300 mg tincture.
You can take CBD oil once or twice daily to manage Asperger’s symptoms. Sometimes, symptoms may be more severe than other times, in which case you can increase the dosage frequency. You can adjust the dosage and frequency according to the severity and frequency of symptoms. For more suggestions on personal dosing check out our informative dosing chart.
Is CBD Oil Safe?
CBD is completely safe. It has no intoxicating effects and definitely does not get you high. CBD is highly valuable for therapeutic use because it can treat illnesses without impairing cognitive and physical abilities. While CBD does have a few minimal side effects, it is very rare to experience them.
Possible side effects of CBD oil include dry mouth, nausea, changes in appetite, and drowsiness. These side effects may be experienced when first using CBD, however, they tend to fade afterward and become unnoticeable.
CBD is a natural compound that has incredible health benefits for humans due to its interactions with the ECS. It can treat a wide range of ailments and conditions with little to no side effects. Its ability to treat Asperger’s symptoms makes CBD oil an invaluable supplement to the everyday lives of those in the autism spectrum.