Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 49, Issue 3, pp 1284–1288 | Cite as

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

  • Adi AranEmail author
  • Hanoch Cassuto
  • Asael Lubotzky
  • Nadia Wattad
  • Esther Hazan
Brief Report


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.


Cannabidiol Medical cannabis Medical marijuana Autism spectrum disorder Disruptive behavior 


Author Contributions

AA: Study conception and design; acquisition, analysis and interpretation of data; drafted manuscript; critically revised manuscript and gave final approval. CH and LA: Study conception; interpretation of data; critically revised manuscript and gave final approval. WN: Study design; acquisition of data; critically revised manuscript and gave final approval. EH: Study design; acquisition, analysis and interpretation of data; drafted manuscript; critically revised manuscript and gave final approval.


The authors received no financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Supplementary material

10803_2018_3808_MOESM1_ESM.docx (28 kb)
Supplementary material (DOCX 27 KB)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Neuropediatric UnitShaare Zedek Medical CenterJerusalemIsrael
  2. 2.Clallit HMO (Kupat Holim)JerusalemIsrael

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