Brief Report: Cannabidiol-Rich Cannabis in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder and Severe Behavioral Problems—A Retrospective Feasibility Study
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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.
KeywordsCannabidiol Medical cannabis Medical marijuana Autism spectrum disorder Disruptive behavior
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
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.
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