What do the actors Dan Aykroyd, Anthony Hopkins, and Daryl Hannah have in common? They all have Asperger’s syndrome. In fact, many people living happy, fulfilling lives do! Sometimes, those people need help regulating their symptoms, so today we’re going to talk about the pros and cons of using CBD for Asperger’s.
CBD for Asperger’s at a glance
What the claims are: CBD can help relieve the symptoms and complications of Asperger’s, including behavioral outbursts, heightened anxiety, communication issues, and sleep disorders.
What the studies show: Emotional outbursts, anxiety and communication issues associated with autism spectrum disorder can be very much improved due to CBD use. CBD has shown enough promise in helping mitigate autistic-like behaviors to warrant long term clinical trials.
What the facts say: Studies, anecdotal evidence, and media reports show that adopting a CBD regimen can be beneficial for those living with Asperger’s. This can be accomplished by addressing many of the symptoms and potential co-existing conditions and complications of this disorder.
What exactly is Asperger’s syndrome?
Asperger’s syndrome (also known as Asperger’s Disorder and sometimes referred to as Autism Spectrum Disorder) is a condition related to brain development that impacts how a person perceives and socializes with others, causing problems with social interaction and communication. The disorder also includes limited and repetitive patterns of behavior.
Asperger’s was first described in the 1940s by Hans Asperger. He observed autism-like social and communication behaviors in boys who had normal intelligence and language development. For many years, it was accepted that Asperger’s syndrome was a milder form of autism. Some still subscribe to that thought, but in 1994, Asperger’s syndrome was actually added to the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders as a separate disorder.
Asperger’s begins in early childhood, with symptoms often presenting within the first year.
While there is no cure for Asperger’s, intensive, early treatment has been shown to have great results in helping children reach their full potential. Symptoms of Asperger’s include:
- Poor eye contact
- Lack of response to name
- Resistance of physical closeness
- Delayed speech or loss of speech abilities
- Speaks with an abnormal tone or rhythm
- Repeats words or phrases verbatim, but doesn’t understand them
- Doesn’t appear to understand simple questions or directions
- Doesn’t express emotion
- Appears unaware of others’ feelings
- Approaches social interactions inappropriately by being passive, aggressive or disruptive
- Difficulty recognizing nonverbal cues
- Performs repetitive movements
- Develops specific routines or rituals and becomes disturbed at the slightest change
- Coordination problems, clumsiness, and stiff or exaggerated body language
- Unusual sensitivity to light, sound, or touch
- Fixates on objects or activities intensely
The cause of Asperger’s is unknown but it’s widely accepted that there are many potential causes and that both genetics and environment may play a role. This disorder affects children of both sexes, and all races and nationalities, but boys are four times more likely to develop Asperger’s syndrome than girls.
How can CBD be used to help with Asperger’s?
CBD for Asperger’s can be a potential help in a multitude of ways. First and foremost, it can work as an antipsychotic. Antipsychotics help regulate brain functions that control thinking, mood, and perception, which can help those with Asperger’s live a more normal life.
Asperger’s also comes with heightened anxiety, which CBD has been known to address as well. This anxiety can cause sleep disturbances, which have also been shown to respond well to a CBD regimen. As these core issues are better managed on a day to day basis, other complications that can stem from Asperger’s can be mitigated as well. These include social isolation or inability to work due to anxiety and emotional outbursts.
Lastly, there is a link between seizures and autism spectrum disorder. While 1-2% of children without this disorder will experience a seizure during childhood, that number skyrockets to 5-30% for children on the spectrum. Because CBD has been shown to help with seizures, this is another potential benefit of adopting a CBD for Asperger’s regimen.
More on medical studies related to CBD for Asperger’s
In a 2012 clinical trial to evaluate CBD in comparison to amisulpride, a potent antipsychotic, both treatments led to significant clinical improvement. The difference is that CBD displays a markedly superior side effect profile and is accompanied by a significant increase in serum anandamide levels (which are significantly associated with clinical improvement).
In plain English? Because CBD is believed to be a powerful antipsychotic and is generally considered safe with very few, minor side effects, it might be the answer people living with Asperger’s have been searching for.
Because cannabis and its compounds are sometimes stigmatized, it’s also important to note that preliminary tests show CBD to be safe and have no signs of addictive effect. And, according to a recent study by the World Health Organization, CBD is not associated with abuse potential. When dealing with a disorder such as Asperger’s syndrome that affects children, this is especially comforting.
What are the risks of using CBD for Asperger’s?
CBD is known to be well-tolerated by people who take it, and it comes with very few potential side effects. Especially in comparison to some of those that can present with antipsychotics often used to treat autism spectrum disorder (which can include weight gain, sexual problems, drowsiness, dizziness, restlessness, constipation, and nausea).
Despite the fact that CBD is considered to be safe, there is a chance that CBD won’t work to help your symptoms. It’s also important to note that, if you’re currently taking any prescription medications, you should check with your pharmacist to ensure that CBD won’t interact with any of them in a negative way.
Should I give CBD for Asperger’s a try?
To date, studies seem to support the benefits of CBD for Asperger’s. The response online and in the media is also largely positive, and many are finding it helps with a variety of the symptoms that can present with this disorder. Everyone is different, though, so check with your healthcare provider to determine if CBD for Asperger’s is right for you.
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