Cannabidiol (CBD) reduces anxiety-related behavior in mice via an FMRP1-independent mechanism.

Pharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior

“Fragile X Syndrome is a neurodevelopmental disorder which affects intellectual, social and physical development due to mutation of the Fragile X mental retardation 1 (FMR1) gene. The resultant loss of Fragile X mental retardation protein can be modelled by Fmr1 gene knockout (KO) in mice.

The current study investigated the behavioural effects of cannabidiol (CBD; a non-psychoactive phytocannabinoid) in male Fmr1 KO mice as a preclinical model for therapeutic discovery.

Overall, acute CBD at the doses chosen did not selectively normalize behavioural abnormalities in Fmr1 KO mice, but reduced anxiety-like behaviour in both Fmr1 KO and WT mice.” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31063743

“Acute cannabidiol (CBD) decreased anxiety-related behaviours in both Fmr1 knockout mice and wildtype controls in the elevated plus maze. Fmr1 KO mice were hyperlocomotive, showed fewer anxiety-related behaviours and habituated more slowly to a novel environment than controls. Acute CBD had no impact on locomotion, spatial working memory or fear-associated memory in Fmr1 knockout mice or controls.”   https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0091305718306464?via%3Dihub

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Cannabidiol: Recent advances and new insights for neuropsychiatric disorders treatment.

Life Sciences

“The pharmacological research on the Cannabis sativa-derived compounds has never terminated. Among the phytocannabinoids without psychotropic effects, the prevalent one in Cannabis is cannabidiol (CBD). Although CBD was initially considered a type 2 cannabinoid receptor (CB2R) antagonist, it did not show a good cannabinoidergic activity. Furthermore, heterogeneous results were obtained in experimental animal models of anxiety disorders, psychotic stages and neurodegenerative diseases. Recently, CBD has been authorized by the FDA to treat some rare forms of epilepsy and many trials have begun for the treatment of autism spectrum disorders. This review aims to clarify the pharmacological activity of CBD and its multiple therapeutic applications. Furthermore, critical and conflicting results of the research on CBD are discussed with a focus on promising future prospects.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30910646

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0024320519302176?via%3Dihub

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Role of the endocannabinoid system in neurological disorders.

International Journal of Developmental Neuroscience

“Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a complex neurodevelopmental disorder that begins in infancy. Although the etiology and pathogenesis are poorly understood, many studies have shown that ASD is closely related to structural and functional defects in the nervous system, especially synaptic transmission. The endocannabinoid (eCB) system is an important regulatory system of the central nervous system that regulates neurotransmission and synaptic plasticity and plays an important role in emotional and social responses and cognitive function. The relationship between eCB system and ASD has attracted increasing attention from scholars. In this review, we discuss the complex lipid signaling network of the eCB system, intracellular transport pathways, abnormal expression and association with various neurological diseases, and direct and indirect evidence for the link between eCB and ASD. Collectively, the findings to date indicate that the eCB system plays a key role in the pathophysiology of ASD and can provide new insights into potential interventions and rehabilitation strategies for ASD.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30858029

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0736574818302995?via%3Dihub

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Perspectives on the Role of Endocannabinoids in Autism Spectrum Disorders.

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“Autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) are diagnosed on the basis of three behavioral features, namely, (1) deficits in social communication, (2) absence or delay in language and (3) stereotypy. The consensus regarding the neurological pathogenesis of ASDs is aberrant synaptogenesis and synapse function. Further, it is now widely accepted that ASD is neurodevelopmental in nature, placing emphasis on derangements occurring at the level of intra- and intercellular signaling during corticogenesis. At present, there is an ever-growing list of mutations in putative susceptibility genes in affected individuals, preventing effective transformation of knowledge gathered from basic science research to the clinic. In response, the focus of ASD biology has shifted toward the identification of cellular signaling pathways that are common to various ASD-related mutations in hopes that these shared pathways may serve as more promising treatment targets than targeting individual genes or proteins. To this end, the endogenous cannabinoid (endocannabinoid, eCB) system has recently emerged as a promising therapeutic target in the field of ASD research. The eCB system is altered in several neurological disorders, but the role of these bioactive lipids in ASD etiology remains poorly understood. In this perspective, we review current evidence linking eCB signaling to ASDs and put forth the notion that continued focus on eCBs in autism research may provide valuable insight into pathophysiology and treatment strategies. In addition to its role in modulating transmitter release at mature synapses, the eCB signaling system plays important roles in many aspects of cortical development, and disruption of these effects of eCBs may also be related to ASD pathophysiology.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30854511

“Advances in our understanding of eCB actions will undoubtedly facilitate pharmacological interventions and further, provide patients the best quality of life possible.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6407886/

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The Endocannabinoid System, Our Universal Regulator

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“The endocannabinoid system (ECS) plays a very important role in the human body for our survival. This is due to its ability to play a critical role in maintaining the homeostasis of the human body, which encompasses the brain, endocrine, and immune system, to name a few. ECS is a unique system in multiple dimensions.

To begin with, it is a retrograde system functioning post- to pre-synapse, allowing it to be a “master regulator” in the body. Secondly, it has a very wide scope of influence due to an abundance of cannabinoid receptors located anywhere from immune cells to neurons. Finally, cannabinoids are rapidly synthesized and degraded, so they do not stay in the body for very long in high amounts, possibly enabling cannabinoid therapy to be a safer alternative to opioids or benzodiazepines. This paper will discuss how ECS functions through the regulation of neurotransmitter function, apoptosis, mitochondrial function, and ion-gated channels. The practical applications of the ECS, as well as the avenues for diseases such as epilepsy, cancer, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), and autism, which have no known cure as of now, will be explored.

The ECS is one of the, if not the most, important systems in our body. Its role in the homeostatic function of our body is undeniable, and its sphere of influence is incredible. Additionally, it also plays a major role in apoptotic diseases, mitochondrial function, and brain function.

Its contribution is more than maintaining homeostasis; it also has a profound ability in regulation. Working in a retrograde fashion and with a generally inhibitory nature, ECS can act as a “kill switch.” However, it has been shown to play an inhibitory or stimulatory role based on the size of the influx of cannabinoids, resulting in a bimodal regulation. Furthermore, due to the nature of the rate of degradation of cannabinoids, it does not have as many long-term side effects as most of the current drugs on the market.

The ECS may not only provide answers for diseases with no known cures, but it could change the way we approach medicine. This system would allow us to change our focus from invasive pharmacological interventions (i.e. SSRIs for depression, benzodiazepines for anxiety, chemotherapies for cancer) to uncovering the mystery of why the body is failing to maintain homeostasis. Understanding the roles of ECS in these diseases confers a new direction for medicine which may eradicate the use of some of the less tolerable therapeutics.”

https://www.jyi.org/2018-june/2018/6/1/the-endocannabinoid-system-our-universal-regulator

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Lower circulating endocannabinoid levels in children with autism spectrum disorder.

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“The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is a major regulator of synaptic plasticity and neuromodulation. Alterations of the ECS have been demonstrated in several animal models of autism spectrum disorder (ASD). In some of these models, activating the ECS rescued the social deficits. Evidence for dysregulations of the ECS in human ASD are emerging, but comprehensive assessments and correlations with disease characteristics have not been reported yet.

METHODS:

Serum levels of the main endocannabinoids, N-arachidonoylethanolamine (AEA or anandamide) and 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG), and their related endogenous compounds, arachidonic acid (AA), N-palmitoylethanolamine (PEA), and N-oleoylethanolamine (OEA), were analyzed by liquid chromatography/tandem mass spectrometry in 93 children with ASD (age = 13.1 ± 4.1, range 6-21; 79% boys) and 93 age- and gender-matched neurotypical children (age = 11.8 ± 4.3, range 5.5-21; 79% boys). Results were associated with gender and use of medications, and were correlated with age, BMI, and adaptive functioning of ASD participants as reflected by scores of Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS-2), Vineland Adaptive Behavior Scale-II (VABS-II), and Social Responsiveness Scale-II (SRS-2).

RESULTS:

Children with ASD had lower levels (pmol/mL, mean ± SEM) of AEA (0.722 ± 0.045 vs. 1.252 ± 0.072, P < 0.0001, effect size 0.91), OEA (17.3 ± 0.80 vs. 27.8 ± 1.44, P < 0.0001, effect size 0.94), and PEA (4.93 ± 0.32 vs. 7.15 ± 0.37, P < 0.0001, effect size 0.65), but not AA and 2-AG. Serum levels of AEA, OEA, and PEA were not significantly associated or correlated with age, gender, BMI, medications, and adaptive functioning of ASD participants. In children with ASD, but not in the control group, younger age and lower BMI tended to correlate with lower AEA levels. However, these correlations were not statistically significant after a correction for multiple comparisons.

CONCLUSIONS:

We found lower serum levels of AEA, PEA, and OEA in children with ASD. Further studies are needed to determine whether circulating endocannabinoid levels can be used as stratification biomarkers that identify clinically significant subgroups within the autism spectrum and if they reflect lower endocannabinoid “tone” in the brain, as found in animal models of ASD.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30728928

https://molecularautism.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s13229-019-0256-6

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Oral Cannabidiol Use in Children With Autism Spectrum Disorder to Treat Related Symptoms and Co-morbidities.

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“Children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) commonly exhibit comorbid symptoms such as aggression, hyperactivity and anxiety. Several studies are being conducted worldwide on cannabidiol use in ASD; however, these studies are still ongoing, and data on the effects of its use is very limited.

In this study we aimed to report the experience of parents who administer, under supervision, oral cannabinoids to their children with ASD.

Results: 53 children at a median age of 11 (4-22) year received cannabidiol for a median duration of 66 days (30-588). Self-injury and rage attacks (n = 34) improved in 67.6% and worsened in 8.8%. Hyperactivity symptoms (n = 38) improved in 68.4%, did not change in 28.9% and worsened in 2.6%. Sleep problems (n = 21) improved in 71.4% and worsened in 4.7%. Anxiety (n = 17) improved in 47.1% and worsened in 23.5%. Adverse effects, mostly somnolence and change in appetite were mild.

Conclusion: Parents’ reports suggest that cannabidiol may improve ASD comorbidity symptoms; however, the long-term effects should be evaluated in large scale studies.”

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Real life Experience of Medical Cannabis Treatment in Autism: Analysis of Safety and Efficacy.

Scientific Reports

“There has been a dramatic increase in the number of children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) worldwide. Recently anecdotal evidence of possible therapeutic effects of cannabis products has emerged.

The aim of this study is to characterize the epidemiology of ASD patients receiving medical cannabis treatment and to describe its safety and efficacy.

We analysed the data prospectively collected as part of the treatment program of 188 ASD patients treated with medical cannabis between 2015 and 2017. The treatment in majority of the patients was based on cannabis oil containing 30% CBD and 1.5% THC. Symptoms inventory, patient global assessment and side effects at 6 months were primary outcomes of interest and were assessed by structured questionnaires.

After six months of treatment 82.4% of patients (155) were in active treatment and 60.0% (93) have been assessed; 28 patients (30.1%) reported a significant improvement, 50 (53.7%) moderate, 6 (6.4%) slight and 8 (8.6%) had no change in their condition. Twenty-three patients (25.2%) experienced at least one side effect; the most common was restlessness (6.6%).

Cannabis in ASD patients appears to be well tolerated, safe and effective option to relieve symptoms associated with ASD.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30655581

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-018-37570-y

“Medical cannabis is an effective, well-tolerated, and most importantly, a safe treatment for autism in children, helping to reduce a range of symptoms in those with the condition, a new study finds.” https://www.studyfinds.org/cannabis-safe-effective-treatment-autism-young-children/

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Autism Spectrum Disorders: Potential Neuro-Psychopharmacotherapeutic Plant-Based Drugs.

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“Over the years, scientific researches have validated the healing benefits of many psychopharmacotherapeutic plant-based drugs to ameliorate psychiatric disorders. In contrast, the use of chemical procedures to isolate and purify specific compounds from plants that have been used to treat autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) and its clinical features may contribute to improve the quality of life of many patients. Also, herbal pharmacological treatments could improve the core symptoms of autism with fewer side effects. This review will focus on the uses and actions of phytopharmaceuticals in the behavioral conditions of ASDs. A large number of natural compound-based plant drugs have been tested in murine models of autism and in clinical trials with remarkable success in reversing the core and associated behaviors with autism such as flavonoids, cannabinoids, curcuminoids, piperine, resveratrol, and bacosides. This plant-based drug alternative is safer given that many psychiatric disorders and neurodegenerative pathologies do not often respond well to currently prescribed medications or have significant side effects. However, it is noteworthy to consider the need for large clinical trials to determine safety and efficacy. Many results are based on case reports or small size samples, and often the studies are open label. Standardization of procedures (i.e., purity and concentrations) and quality controls are strictly required to ensure the absence of side effects.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30427697

https://www.liebertpub.com/doi/10.1089/adt.2018.848

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Brief Report: Cannabidiol-Rich Cannabis in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder and Severe Behavioral Problems-A Retrospective Feasibility Study.

“Anecdotal evidence of successful cannabis treatment in autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are accumulating but clinical studies are lacking. This retrospective study assessed tolerability and efficacy of cannabidiol-rich cannabis, in 60 children with ASD and severe behavioral problems (age = 11.8 ± 3.5, range 5.0-17.5; 77% low functioning; 83% boys). Efficacy was assessed using the Caregiver Global Impression of Change scale. Adverse events included sleep disturbances (14%) irritability (9%) and loss of appetite (9%). One girl who used higher tetrahydrocannabinol had a transient serious psychotic event which required treatment with an antipsychotic. Following the cannabis treatment, behavioral outbreaks were much improved or very much improved in 61% of patients. This preliminary study supports feasibility of CBD-based cannabis trials in children with ASD.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30382443

https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs10803-018-3808-2

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