By Roland Sebestyén
A new study has found that more parents and carers of children with autism have opted to use CBD to aid with related symptoms and behaviours during the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to a survey published by Autism Parenting Magazine, almost a fifth of respondents revealed that they had used CBD to help relieve a variety of symptoms. Of 160,000 participants who reported being the parent/carer of a child with autism spectrum disorder, 18.6% confirmed their use of CBD products.
The study also found that almost one in three (31.3%) autism caregivers started giving a child CBD in the last 18 months. Furthermore, the data also shows that 16.6% of those that used CBD products have increased dosage in this time.
Emily Ansell Elfer, Editor of Autism Parenting Magazine, said: “We were not surprised to discover almost 20% of our readers use CBD as research continues to show how CBD products can help alleviate anxiety, challenging behaviours, and help with sleep.
“We are hearing of more doctors recommending CBD, and parents tell us starting CBD has been life-altering for their children.
“It is particularly interesting to note the sharp increase in usage since the COVID-19 pandemic. It is well-known that people on the spectrum prefer routine, and many suffer from anxiety.
“Such a huge disruption in daily schedules, attending school and the possible fear of germs have no doubt increased the need for calming products and treatments.”
When asked to identify the primary reason for using CBD, 42.9% responded with anxiety relief, 36.9% stated challenging behaviour, 5.1% said pain relief and inflammation, 8.1% said sleep and relaxation, 4.3% said seizures, while the remaining respondents identified “Other” reasons such as increasing speech and supporting potty training.
According to the data, the majority, 60.8% of respondents, opted to use oils. Meanwhile, 21.5% use gummies and topicals, 7.5% use capsules or tablets, 5.1% use lotions or balms, and 1.9% use vape.
The remaining respondents selected “Other” options including honey sticks and patches.
As Canex recently reported when discussing the use of CBD and cannabis for autism, there are currently no medications that address the core symptoms of autism.
Existing medications are employed to target comorbid symptoms such as anxiety or mood symptoms and aggressive behaviour. However, these options often have questionable efficacy and can be associated with a number of side effects.
There is growing anecdotal evidence supporting the use of cannabis products – including CBD – as an alternative treatment. In the US, medical cannabis has been available on prescription in 14 states since 2014. However, there remains little clinical research in this area.