CBD Oil For Asperger’s Syndrome 2022: Does It Help?

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There is promising research being done on the use of cannabis and CBD oil to treat symptoms of Asperger Syndrome and other forms of Autism Spectrum Disorder. Some of the symptoms that could be alleviated include stress, anxiety, social communication, and repetitive behaviors.

When choosing a CBD oil for Asperger Syndrome, there are some factors you need to consider such as hemp and CBD strain quality, full-spectrum or isolate extraction method, and manufacture testing.

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Does CBD Help with Asperger Syndrome?

Asperger Syndrome, also called Aspergers, is a form of high functioning autism. People diagnosed with Asperger’s disorder typically go undiagnosed because of their high intelligence and verbal skills. However, due to their lack of social skills, they struggle with social interactions, usually leading to depression, stress and anxiety.

Over the past decade, there has been an increase in anecdotal evidence[1] showing that CBD, or cannabidiol, can help with seizures, insomnia,  sensory issues, stress, social anxiety, depression, and other behavioral issues that people with Asperger Syndrome may have. 

More clinical trials are needed to show the effects of medical marijuana and related cannabis products on Asperger Syndrome.

 

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What does the research say?

Legal medical cannabis in the US is still fairly new, so it has been difficult to approve or fund studies until recently. While CBD is legal in all 50 states, federal law still classifies marijuana (even medical marijuana) and its derivatives as illegal. 

That being said, there is one FDA-approved cannabis-derived drug, Epidiolex. It is being used to treat people with autistic disorders who are suffering from seizures, epilepsy, and tuberous sclerosis complex. Because of its success, there is growing support for studies to explore the relationship between CBD and autism.  

There is growing scientific evidence showing that pure CBD and CBD-enriched Cannabis sativa is effective[2] in patients with autism who suffer from epilepsy and the greatest improvements are seen in treating seizures, Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, sleep disorders, and communication and social interaction disorders. 

How does CBD work on Aspergers?

CBD is derived from the industrial hemp plant and can help alleviate[3] symptoms of Aspergers such as stress, anxiety, depression, and other behavioral disorders by acting on specific cannabinoid receptors in the brain. 

Cannabinoid receptors in the brain

Studies suggest that cannabinoid signaling might play a role in social interaction and repetitive behaviors, like those seen in people with Aspergers and other types of Autism Spectrum Disorder. In people with Aspergers, it is possible that there is an imbalance[4] in the cannabinoid receptors of their endocannabinoid system.

By treating the imbalanced cannabinoid receptors with CBD, it is feasible to restore the balance, addressing the core issue and alleviating some of the mood and behavioral problems suffered by people with autism.

It is important to keep in mind that while Aspergers is on the autism spectrum, treatment and response will vary by individual and factors include medical history, the severity of symptoms, and other medications.

Delivery method matters

Marijuana and Aspergers may seem like an odd or unsavory combination and many people are hesitant to turn to medical marijuana.  More research is needed but there is growing anecdotal evidence that says consuming CBD oil can help people with developmental disorders like autism.

For starters, the greatest benefit for people with Aspergers comes from one part of the cannabis plant, not the entire flower. CBD is non-psychoactive, meaning it does not evoke feelings of euphoria or intoxication. 

Secondly, consuming CBD in the form of an oil (rather than smoking a cannabis flower) can improve the body’s ability to absorb all the beneficial compounds. Typically, CBD is administered under the tongue, where it absorbs quickly into the bloodstream. Administering CBD oil orally is also easier and more appropriate for autistic children compared to, say, vaporizing. 

But not all cannabis oil is created equal and there are some factors you want to consider in choosing your CBD oil. 

How to choose CBD oil for Aspergers?

While CBD is legal in the United States, the Federal laws[5] get murky when it comes to CBD. CBD is federally legal, as long as it is not being infused in food or labeled as a dietary supplement. 

Why does this matter? 

Because this means that CBD is not regulated by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA). But it doesn’t mean that no one is regulating CBD or holding it to a certain set of standards. Many states have taken matters into their own hands, developing their own regulations which can vary by state[6]. Check the local regulations in your state concerning CBD sale and use before purchasing. 

Another factor to consider when selecting a CBD oil for Asperger’s (or any other purpose) is ensuring that the companies are reputable. Look for companies that are transparent in their ingredients and extraction process as well as third-party testing for purity and quality. 

Extraction process

The two most common methods for CBD extraction are ethanol and CO2 extraction. 

Ethanol extraction involved soaking the cannabis plant in ethanol to draw out the CBD and cannabinoids. The plant is then removed and the solution has to be further filtered and refined to separate the solvent. This is a very common method for most manufacturers as it is low cost and efficient. 

CO2 extraction uses carbon dioxide under high pressure and low temperatures to extract CBD. It is preferred by many consumers because it preserves and maintains the purity of CBD. However, it requires expensive equipment, so it may not be a cost-effective option for some manufacturers. 

Third-party testing

Third-party testing is a crucial indicator of quality and purity, as long as the results are made available to customers. It is not enough for a manufacturer to say that they use third-party testing. They must show what it is that they test for and the results for those tests. 

Third-party testing means that the CBD manufacturer sends a sample of their product to a lab to be tested for cannabinoid and terpene profiles, heavy metals, solvents, and biological contaminants. 

Remember that third-party testing is not required by law, so it is up to you to do your research[7] and buy only from trusted, transparent CBD manufacturers. 

Other factors to consider when choosing a CBD oil are strain quality, full-spectrum or isolate, concentrate and dosage. It is recommended that you consult your physician before using CBD or other dietary supplements. 

Strain quality

When choosing a CBD oil, you want to select a product that has low or zero THC and high CBD. THC is the psychoactive compound that produces the euphoric, high feeling associated with cannabis. In order to be in compliance with federal law, CBD must contain no more than .3% THC. 

Full-spectrum or isolate 

Medical research is still ongoing to understand the mechanisms of the endocannabinoid system and how CBD can play a role in balancing the deficiency in people with autism. However, there could be some benefit to choosing CBD products that are full-spectrum, as they contain terpenes and flavonoids, which could provide additional benefits to the user. 

Concentrate

In CBD oil, concentrate refers to the levels of CBD found in a product compared with other compounds. They are highly potent and condensed. The benefit of a concentrate is that you can get a large dose of CBD that will begin acting quickly.

Dosage

At this time, there is no clear guideline as to the proper CBD oil dosage for someone with Aspergers and can vary depending on the person’s size and severity of autism symptoms, among other factors.  A trial-and-error approach is recommended, so start with a low dosage and adjust accordingly. 

It is always best to seek professional medical advice before beginning a new drug or dietary supplement.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can CBD help with Asperger’s and autism spectrum disorders?

CBD can help restore balance in the endocannabinoid system of people with Asperger’s and autism spectrum disorders. It can alleviate autism symptoms such as seizures, insomnia,  sensory issues, stress, anxiety, depression, and other behavioral issues that people with Asperger Syndrome may have.

What’s the difference between CBD and marijuana?

Cannabidiol (CBD) is one component of cannabis or marijuana. Whole cannabis or marijuana contains many other compounds, including THC, the compound credited for the euphoric high feeling. Cannabis oil is extracted from marijuana to make a wide range of non-intoxicating medical products.

Will CBD oil get me high?

No. While it may help you feel more relaxed or less anxious, you will not experience the euphoric, intoxicated, or “high” sensation as from whole cannabis or marijuana. CBD oil does not contain Tetrahydrocannabinol or THC, the psychoactive compound found in cannabis.

What are the possible risks and dangers of CBD oil?

Side effects can include dry mouth, diarrhea, reduced appetite, drowsiness, and fatigue. Always make sure you are purchasing a CBD product that is pure, tested, and has clear accurate dosing instructions. There is also a risk of CBD interacting with other medications, so check with your doctor before you begin any new supplement such as CBD.

What are endocannabinoids?

Endocannabinoids and their receptors are found throughout the body and are believed to affect behavior in many ways. In people with Asperger syndrome and ASD, there is a deficiency or imbalance in their endocannabinoid system.

What are the most important things to look for when selecting a CBD oil for someone with autism?

When selecting a CBD for Aspergers, you want to make sure you select a reputable company that uses high-quality ingredients and that submits all products for third-party testing for quality and purity. Other factors to consider are CBD products with less than .3% THC, full-spectrum or isolate, CBD concentrate, and dosage. 


+ 7 sources

Health Canal avoids using tertiary references. We have strict sourcing guidelines and rely on peer-reviewed studies, academic researches from medical associations and institutions. To ensure the accuracy of articles in Health Canal, you can read more about the editorial process here

  1. Thinking Autism Taking Action. (2019). Cannabis for Treating Core and Comorbid Autism Symptoms: Where are we at & what does the science say? [online] Available at: https://www.thinkingautism.org.uk/cannabis-for-treating-core-and-comorbid-autism-symptoms/ [Accessed 1 Aug. 2021].
  2. ‌Fleury-Teixeira, P., Caixeta, F.V., Ramires da Silva, L.C., Brasil-Neto, J.P. and Malcher-Lopes, R. (2019). Effects of CBD-Enriched Cannabis sativa Extract on Autism Spectrum Disorder Symptoms: An Observational Study of 18 Participants Undergoing Compassionate Use. Frontiers in Neurology, [online] 10. Available at: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fneur.2019.01145/full [Accessed 1 Aug. 2021].
  3. ADI ARAN, Hanoch Cassuto and Asael Lubotzky (2018). Cannabidiol Based Medical Cannabis in Children with Autism- a Retrospective Feasibility Study (P3.318). Neurology, [online] 90(15 Supplement). Available at: https://n.neurology.org/content/90/15_Supplement/P3.318 [Accessed 1 Aug. 2021].
  4. ‌Nezgovorova, V., Ferretti, C.J., Taylor, B.P., Shanahan, E., Uzunova, G., Hong, K., Devinsky, O. and Hollander, E. (2021). Potential of cannabinoids as treatments for autism spectrum disorders. Journal of Psychiatric Research, [online] 137, pp.194–201. Available at: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33689997/ [Accessed 1 Aug. 2021].
  5. ‌Office of the Commissioner (2021). FDA Regulation of Cannabis and Cannabis-Derived Products: Q&A. [online] U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Available at: https://www.fda.gov/news-events/public-health-focus/fda-regulation-cannabis-and-cannabis-derived-products-including-cannabidiol-cbd [Accessed 1 Aug. 2021].
  6. ‌GreenState Staff (2020). Where is cannabis legal in the United States? (Medical marijuana and CBD included) | GreenState. [online] GreenState. Available at: https://www.greenstate.com/explained/where-is-cannabis-legal-in-the-united-states-medical-marijuana-and-cbd-included/ [Accessed 1 Aug. 2021].
  7. ‌Cooke, J. (2019). How CBD Third-Party Testing Works & Why It’s Important. [online] Daily CBD – English. Available at: https://dailycbd.com/en/third-party-testing/ [Accessed 1 Aug. 2021].

Written by:

Katie Swanson, B.S.

Medically reviewed by:

Katie Swanson is a health and wellness writer with a decade of educational and work experience in public health and wellness. She loves writing to help others live healthier, happier lives.

Medically reviewed by:

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