Autism, more correctly referred to as ‘Autism Spectrum Disorder’ is a chronic condition related to brain development and has a huge impact on how a person socializes with others. It affects about 1 in 59 children and is almost four times as likely to be diagnosed in boys than girls, according to the Center for Disease Control.
Being a chronic disease, there’s no cure for it, and the best one can do is diagnose it early and manage the symptoms. No drug yet exits that’s been shown to lessen the extent of a person’s autism, but the symptoms surrounding it can be controlled, improving their quality of life greatly.
What is autism?
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is characterized by various challenges in social skills, verbal and nonverbal communication and repetitive behaviors. It’s referred to as a ‘spectrum’ because there are many subtypes of autism, each influenced in its own way by environmental and genetic factors. As such, each person faces unique challenges in coping with society and has just as unique a set of strengths.
ASD begins in early childhood and causes problems trying to fit into society – in school, at work or with friends, for instance. Indicators usually begin to appear at age 2 or 3, but others can be diagnosed even earlier. The sooner the child is diagnosed, the smoother their life will be.
When it comes to dealing with ASD, social interactions are only half the battle. Often accompanying it are other sensory sensitivities and medical issues such as gut and sleep disorders, seizures and mental health challenges.
According to the CDC, more than half the children diagnosed with ASD have chronic sleep problems; anxiety and depression affect 11 – 40% of children and teens diagnosed with ASD, and depression affects 7% of children together with 26% of adults with ASD.
To manage these symptoms, conventional drugs like Prozac may be used, for instance, to keep anxiety in check. CBD and Autism have continued to be found on each other’s radars because of the national attention they have been receiving. So, if CBD can’t lessen the intensity of people’s autism, what can it do, exactly?
How CBD and Autism go hand-in-hand
The presence of autism is usually made worse by psychosomatic illnesses such as stress, depression and anxiety. In dealing with these aspects of the illness, CBD helps to take care of the most problematic factors, which are often difficult to handle.
Relieves insomnia: People on the spectrum may find themselves unable to fall asleep as fast as the rest of the general population, but we’re not sure quite why. This may worsen certain aspects of the condition such as repetitive behaviors, that make sleep even more difficult.
This feedback loop is extremely destructive and sleep problems tend to be among the most urgent problems families grapple with. It’s also important to note that a consistent lack of sleep has been attributed as the root cause of aggression and anxiety in a number of people with autism.
Part of the charm CBD brings to the table is the fact that it binds with receptors in the brain responsible for regulating wakefulness and sleepiness (referred to as the circadian rhythm). In people with autism, a CBD dropper before bed can be incredibly useful.
Managing anxiety: Another large part of individuals with autism’s lives is anxiety. Levels of anxiety felt vary depending on the situation at hand, but social interactions are by far the most common cause.
A dosage of CBD oil at regular intervals during the day (via a CBD tincture, if discretion is necessary) leads to calming of the nerves and a marked improvement in socialization and learning for some people.
Fewer seizures: There have been very few clinical trials involving CBD, and the FDA has been incredibly active in warning companies not to blatantly broadcast links CBD and autism, or any other disease directly. However, the one CBD product that has gotten CBD FDA approval is for the treatment of seizures, on account of its effectiveness and lack of side-effects.
In people that frequently experience seizures, relatively fast-acting CBD administered via a CBD dropper or CBD tincture are bound to come in handy.