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|Title||Cannabidiol Based Medical Cannabis in Children with Autism- a Retrospective Feasibility Study|
|Author(s)||Aran A., Cassuto H., Lubotzky A.|
|Journal, Volume, Issue||Neurology (in press)|
|Major outcome(s)||A CBD-rich cannabis extract may be effective in children with autism|
Objective: This retrospective study assessed safety, tolerability and efficacy of cannabidiol (CBD) based medical cannabis, as an adjuvant therapy, for refractory behavioral problems in children with ASD.
Background: Anecdotal evidence of successful cannabis treatment in children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are accumulating but formal studies are lacking.
Design/Methods: Sixty children with ASD (age = 11.8± 3.5, range 5.0–17.5; 77% low functioning; 83% boys) were treated with oral CBD and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) at a ratio of 20:1. The dose was up-titrated to effect (maximal CBD dose − 10mg/kg/d). Tolerability and efficacy were assessed using a modified Liverpool Adverse Events Profile, the Caregiver Global Impression of Change (CGIC) scale, the Home Situations Questionnaire–Autism Spectrum Disorder (HSQ-ASD) and the Autism Parenting Stress Index (APSI).
Results: Following the cannabis treatment, behavioral outbreaks were much improved or very much improved (on the CGIC scale) in 61% of patients. The anxiety and communication problems were much or very much improved in 39% and 47% respectively. Disruptive behaviors, were improved by 29% from 4.74±1.82 as recorded at baseline on the HSQ-ASD to 3.36±1.56 following the treatment. Parents reported less stress as reflected in the APSI scores, changing by 33% from 2.04±0.77 to 1.37±0.59. The effect on all outcome measures was more apparent in boys with non-syndromic ASD. Adverse events included sleep disturbances (14%) irritability (9%) and loss of appetite (9%).
Conclusions: This preliminary study support the feasibility of CBD based medical cannabis as a promising treatment option for refractory behavioral problems in children with ASD. Based on these promising results, we have launched a large, double blind, placebo controlled cross-over trial with 120 participants (NCT02956226).
|Type of publication||Medical journal|
|Address of author(s)|