Autism and autism spectrum disorders are some of the most common developmental disabilities, impacting perhaps 1% of people around the globe, according to the Centers for Disease Control. At the same time, autism remains one of the most mysterious health issues, as many people who are afflicted can lead fully functional lives, while others require significant assistance from family, friends, and caregivers.
Fortunately for people with autism, there are researchers like Adi Aran, who are on the forefront of conducting trials to determine revolutionary new ways that autism and its symptoms could be addressed. Dr. Aran, who heads the pediatric department of Jerusalem's Shaare Zedek Medical Center, is launching a double-blind clinical trial with a sample of 120 adults and children with low- to medium-functioning autism.
The trial will compare the effects of a hemp oil solution with high levels of cannabidiol (CBD) alongside other cannabinoids with a placebo. The goal is to determine whether the CBD oil for autism, and other non-psychoactive cannabinoids, will have an impact on emotional, developmental, and behavioral symptoms that have been known to occur with severe epilepsy. The researchers hypothesize that regular supplementation with CBD will reduce aggressive behavior, promote more stable emotional expression, and perhaps foster other social benefits.
The original news article on the topic, published in Israel's premier newspaper, Haaretz, had noted that the inspiration for Dr. Aran's current CBD study was related to prior clinical and research support for reducing epilepsy symptoms. Roughly 30% of people who have autism have been diagnosed with epilepsy, so the potential therapeutic connection makes sense.
On this site, we have discussed CBD oil and autism in the past, because of the potential for CBD to address certain aspects of autism, at least according to the current body of research. Mice with modeled autism, for example, have shown higher than normal inflammatory actions in various tissue throughout the body. Anecdotally, some people who have used CBD oil have reported decreases in the severity and frequency of perceiving sounds, touch sensations, noises, and even bright lights as unpleasant or unbearable. Harsh sensory input reactions and epilepsy may be related to inflammatory reactions and the overactivity of free radicals, both of which CBD may be able to attenuate, according to animal studies and personal reports.
Another newsworthy aspect of Dr. Aran's study is that it is pioneering research to investigate the value of CBD for humans. The connections between CBD oil for autism, inflammation, and reducing free radicals have often concentrated on animal models to ensure that sufficient evidence existed to merit conducting safe, yet potentially valuable human research. Previous studies investigating the role of CBD supplementation have often been limited to anecdotal, single-person case studies or cohort studies that did not involve double-blind, clinical procedures.
The Israeli CBD and autism study goes beyond the past research we have covered. It is the first CBD autism clinical trial of its type, and will offer validity and reliability in a way that earlier studies could not. Dr. Aran's study will apply a high degree of scientific rigor to this important topic, which will make the results that much more valuable to the scientific community, persons with autism and their loved ones, and people interested in the vast possibilities CBD could hold for our health, well-being, and daily living.
We will watch Dr. Aran's study progression, and subsequent publications, with great interest, and report on them as soon as we have more information. Hopefully, the Israeli government's decision to open epilepsy research up to including CBD will be a catalyst for other nations to do the same, increasing the amount of evidence available on this vital topic.
In the meantime, if you or someone you know is living with the challenge of autism, you may consider adding CBD into your usual regimen. CBD oils, similar to those used in Dr. Aran's study, as well as the extensive array of topical and edible products available, may be helpful for people who have highly specific preferences for taste, scent, and topical sensations.
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