Evaluation of the efficacy and safety of cannabidiol-rich cannabis extract in children with autism spectrum disorder: randomized, double-blind and controlled placebo clinical trial

“Introduction: Autism Spectrum Disorder is characterized by persistent deficits in social communication, social interaction, and restricted and repetitive patterns of behavior. Some studies have shown that substances derived from Cannabis sativa improve the quality of life of autistic children without causing serious adverse effects, thus providing a therapeutic alternative.

Method: This was a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial to evaluate the efficacy and safety of a cannabis extract rich in cannabidiol (CBD) in autistic children. Sixty children, aged between 5 and 11 years, were selected and divided into two groups: the treatment group, which received the CBD-rich cannabis extract, and the control group, which received the placebo, both used the product for a period of 12 weeks. Statistical analysis was done by two-factor mixed analysis of variance (ANOVA two way).

Results: Significant results were found for social interaction [F(1,116)=14.13, p=0.0002)], anxiety [F(1,116)=5.99, p=0.016], psychomotor agitation [F(1,116)=9.22, p=0.003)], number of meals a day [F(1,116)=4.11, p=0.04)] and concentration [F (1,48)=6.75, p=0.01], the latter being significant only in mild autism spectrum disorder. Regarding safety, it was found that only three children in the treatment group (9.7%) had adverse effects, namely dizziness, insomnia, colic and weight gain.

Conclusion: CBD-rich cannabis extract was found to improve one of the diagnostic criteria for ASD (social interaction), as well as often co-existing features, and to have few serious adverse effects.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/35617670/

http://www.trends.periodikos.com.br/article/doi/10.47626/2237-6089-2021-0396


Clinical Data on Canabinoids: Translational Research in the Treatment of Autism Spectrum Disorders

“Translational research made with Cannabis sativa L. and its biocompounds provides data for some targeted diseases, as also symptoms associated with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs). The main compounds ∆9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD), are capable of modulating the endocannabinoid system since its dysregulation interferes with the pathophysiology of ASDs there are clinical evidence for its potential use in the treatment of the disease. Conventional therapy still has limitations, as it does not always treat the central symptoms, and there are many patients who do not respond to treatment, which demands more research on new therapies. Through the analysis of published literature on this topic, it is verified that cannabinoids, in particular CBD, improves symptoms associated with common comorbidities in ASDs. Some studies also demonstrate the therapeutic potential of these compounds in the treatment of central symptoms of autism. In addition, cannabinoid therapy to ASDs is associated with low adverse effects and a reduction in concomitant medication. Although it appears to be promising, it is essential to do the translation of this data into clinical research and some of its potential and critical gaps are discussed in this review pointing to large-scale and long-term clinical trials that should include more patients and homogeneous samples.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/35453548/

Autism and associated disorders: cannabis as a potential therapy

“Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a group of disabilities with impairments in physical, verbal, and behavior areas. Regardless the growing frequency of autism, no medicine has been formed for the management of the ASD primary symptoms. The most frequently prescribed drugs are off-label. Therefore, there is necessity for an advance tactic for the treatment of autism. The endocannabinoid system has a central role in ruling emotion and social behaviors. Dysfunctions of the system donate to the behavioral deficits in autism. Therefore, the endocannabinoid system represents a potential target for the development of a novel autism therapy. Cannabis and associated compounds have produced substantial research attention as a capable therapy in neurobehavioral and neurological syndromes. In this review we examine the potential benefits of medical cannabis and related compounds in the treatment of ASD and concurrent disorders.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/35320905/

The Endocannabinoid System: A Potential Target for the Treatment of Various Diseases

ijms-logo“The Endocannabinoid System (ECS) is primarily responsible for maintaining homeostasis, a balance in internal environment (temperature, mood, and immune system) and energy input and output in living, biological systems.

In addition to regulating physiological processes, the ECS directly influences anxiety, feeding behaviour/appetite, emotional behaviour, depression, nervous functions, neurogenesis, neuroprotection, reward, cognition, learning, memory, pain sensation, fertility, pregnancy, and pre-and post-natal development.

The ECS is also involved in several pathophysiological diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular diseases, and neurodegenerative diseases. In recent years, genetic and pharmacological manipulation of the ECS has gained significant interest in medicine, research, and drug discovery and development.

The distribution of the components of the ECS system throughout the body, and the physiological/pathophysiological role of the ECS-signalling pathways in many diseases, all offer promising opportunities for the development of novel cannabinergic, cannabimimetic, and cannabinoid-based therapeutic drugs that genetically or pharmacologically modulate the ECS via inhibition of metabolic pathways and/or agonism or antagonism of the receptors of the ECS. This modulation results in the differential expression/activity of the components of the ECS that may be beneficial in the treatment of a number of diseases.

This manuscript in-depth review will investigate the potential of the ECS in the treatment of various diseases, and to put forth the suggestion that many of these secondary metabolites of Cannabis sativa L. (hereafter referred to as “C. sativa L.” or “medical cannabis”), may also have potential as lead compounds in the development of cannabinoid-based pharmaceuticals for a variety of diseases.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34502379/

https://www.mdpi.com/1422-0067/22/17/9472

Cannabis and cannabinoid use in autism spectrum disorder: a systematic review

SciELO (Scientific Electronic Library Online) | UOC LibraryAutism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by persistent deficits in social communication and social interaction, associated with the presence of restricted and repetitive patterns of behavior, interests, or activities. Cannabis has been used to alleviate symptoms associated with ASD.

Method: We carried out a systematic review of studies that investigated the clinical effects of cannabis and cannabinoid use on ASD, according to the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA checklist). The search was carried out in four databases: MEDLINE/PubMed, Scientific Electronic Library Online (SciELO), Scopus, and Web of Science. No limits were established for language during the selection process. Nine studies were selected and analyzed.

Results: Some studies showed that cannabis products reduced the number and/or intensity of different symptoms, including hyperactivity, attacks of self-mutilation and anger, sleep problems, anxiety, restlessness, psychomotor agitation, irritability, aggressiveness perseverance, and depression. Moreover, they found an improvement in cognition, sensory sensitivity, attention, social interaction, and language. The most common adverse effects were sleep disorders, restlessness, nervousness and change in appetite.

Conclusion: Cannabis and cannabinoids may have promising effects in the treatment of symptoms related to ASD, and can be used as a therapeutic alternative in the relief of those symptoms. However, randomized, blind, placebo-controlled clinical trials are necessary to clarify findings on the effects of cannabis and its cannabinoids in individuals with ASD.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34043900/

 

“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 to relieve those symptoms, especially bouts of self-mutilation and anger, hyperactivity, sleep problems, anxiety, restlessness, psychomotor agitation, irritability, and aggressiveness; as well as improve sensory sensitivity, cognition, attention, social interaction, language, perseverance, and depression.”

https://www.scielo.br/j/trends/a/LBmJK6d8bqr5jVK6fp3CHXt/?lang=en

Healing autism spectrum disorder with cannabinoids: a neuroinflammatory story

 Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews“Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a complex neurodevelopmental disorder with a multifactorial etiology. Latest researches are raising the hypothesis of a link between the onset of the main behavioral symptoms of ASD and the chronic neuroinflammatory condition of the autistic brain; increasing evidence of this connection is shedding light on new possible players in the pathogenesis of ASD.

The endocannabinoid system (ECS) has a key role in neurodevelopment as well as in normal inflammatory responses and it is not surprising that many preclinical and clinical studies account for alterations of the endocannabinoid signaling in ASD. These findings lay the foundation for a better understanding of the neurochemical mechanisms underlying ASD and for new therapeutic attempts aimed at exploiting the renowned anti-inflammatory properties of cannabinoids to treat pathologies encompassed in the autistic spectrum.

This review discusses the current preclinical and clinical evidence supporting a key role of the ECS in the neuroinflammatory state that characterizes ASD, providing hints to identify new biomarkers in ASD and promising therapies for the future.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33358985/

“Autism spectrum disorder has a multifactorial and complex etiology. Changes in the endocannabinoid system are found in autistic patients. Neuroinflammation is detected in autistic patients. The endocannabinoid system has a key role in neuroinflammation. Future therapies exploiting cannabinoid drugs.”

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0149763420306850?via%3Dihub

A pediatric patient with autism spectrum disorder and epilepsy using cannabinoid extracts as complementary therapy: a case report

 Journal of Medical Case Reports | Home page“The pharmacological treatment for autism spectrum disorders is often poorly tolerated and has traditionally targeted associated conditions, with limited benefit for the core social deficits.

We describe the novel use of a cannabidiol-based extract that incidentally improved core social deficits and overall functioning in a patient with autism spectrum disorder, at a lower dose than has been previously reported in autism spectrum disorder.

Case presentation: The parents of a 15-year-old boy, of South African descent, with autism spectrum disorder, selective mutism, anxiety, and controlled epilepsy, consulted a medical cannabis physician to trial cannabis extract to replace seizure medications. Incidentally, at a very low cannabidiol-based extract dose, he experienced unanticipated positive effects on behavioral symptoms and core social deficits.

Conclusion: This case report provides evidence that a lower than previously reported dose of a phytocannabinoid in the form of a cannabidiol-based extract may be capable of aiding in autism spectrum disorder-related behavioral symptoms, core social communication abilities, and comorbid anxiety, sleep difficulties, and weight control. Further research is needed to elucidate the clinical role and underlying biological mechanisms of action of cannabidiol-based extract in patients with autism spectrum disorder.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32958062/

https://jmedicalcasereports.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s13256-020-02478-7

Autism Spectrum Disorder and Medical Cannabis: Review and Clinical Experience

Seminars in Pediatric Neurology “Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a multifactorial, pervasive neurodevelopmental disorder defined by the core symptoms of significant impairment in social interaction and communication as well as restricted, repetitive patterns of behavior. In addition to these core behaviors, persons with ASD frequently have associated noncore behavioral disturbance (ie, self-injury, aggression), as well as several medical comorbidities. Currently, no effective treatment exists for the core symptoms of ASD.

This review reports the available preclinical and clinical data regarding the use of cannabis and cannabidiol in the treatment of core symptoms, noncore symptoms and comorbidities associated with ASD. Additionally, we describe our clinical experience working with children and young adults with ASD who have used cannabis or cannabidiol.

At present, preclinical and clinical data suggest a potential for therapeutic benefit among some persons with ASD and that it is overall well tolerated.

Further research is required to better identify patients who may benefit from treatment without adverse effects.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32892960/

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1071909120300449?via%3Dihub

Cannabinoids for People with ASD: A Systematic Review of Published and Ongoing Studies

brainsci-logo“The etiopathogenesis of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) remains largely unclear.

Among other biological hypotheses, researchers have evidenced an imbalance in the endocannabinoid (eCB) system, which regulates some functions typically impaired in ASD, such as emotional responses and social interaction. Additionally, cannabidiol (CBD), the non-intoxicating component of Cannabis sativa, was recently approved for treatment-resistant epilepsy.

Epilepsy represents a common medical condition in people with ASD. Additionally, the two conditions share some neuropathological mechanisms, particularly GABAergic dysfunctions. Hence, it was hypothesized that cannabinoids could be useful in improving ASD symptoms.

The findings were promising, as cannabinoids appeared to improve some ASD-associated symptoms, such as problem behaviors, sleep problems, and hyperactivity, with limited cardiac and metabolic side effects. Conversely, the knowledge of their effects on ASD core symptoms is scarce.

Interestingly, cannabinoids generally allowed to reduce the number of prescribed medications and decreased the frequency of seizures in patients with comorbid epilepsy. Mechanisms of action could be linked to the excitatory/inhibitory imbalance found in people with ASD. However, further trials with better characterization and homogenization of samples, and well-defined outcomes should be implemented.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32825313/

https://www.mdpi.com/2076-3425/10/9/572

Possible therapeutic applications of cannabis in the neuropsychopharmacology field.

European Neuropsychopharmacology“Cannabis use induces a plethora of actions on the CNS via its active chemical ingredients, the so-called phytocannabinoids.

These compounds have been frequently associated with the intoxicating properties of cannabis preparations. However, not all phytocannabinoids are psychotropic, and, irrespective of whether they are psychotropic or not, they have also shown numerous therapeutic properties.

These properties are mostly associated with their ability to modulate the activity of an intercellular communication system, the so-called endocannabinoid system, which is highly active in the CNS and has been found altered in many neurological disorders.

Specifically, this includes the neuropsychopharmacology field, with diseases such as schizophrenia and related psychoses, anxiety-related disorders, mood disorders, addiction, sleep disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder, anorexia nervosa and other feeding-related disorders, dementia, epileptic syndromes, as well as autism, fragile X syndrome and other neurodevelopment-related disorders.

Here, we gather, from a pharmacological and biochemical standpoint, the recent advances in the study of the therapeutic relevance of the endocannabinoid system in the CNS, with especial emphasis on the neuropsychopharmacology field. We also illustrate the efforts that are currently being made to investigate at the clinical level the potential therapeutic benefits derived from elevating or inhibiting endocannabinoid signaling in animal models of neuropsychiatric disorders.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/32057592

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0924977X20300365?via%3Dihub