cbd oil for neurological autism help

Cbd oil for neurological autism help

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a heterogeneous neurodevelopmental disorder affecting over 1% of the general population. While it is well established that ASD stems from a combination of genetic and environmental factors, there are no defined mechanisms of pathogenesis, rendering curative therapy very difficult to establish. No effective therapy exists for ASD, presenting an urgent clinical need for better control of common core pathologies of ASD regardless of its etiology. Cannabidiol (CBD), a major phytocannabinoid constituent of the cannabis plant, is gaining significant attention in both the media and in medicine for its antiepileptic, anxiolytic, and antipsychotic properties. Recent anecdotal reports, accumulating preclinical and clinical data, and mechanistic insights suggest that CBD provides a viable treatment opportunity for patients with ASD.

Key words

pathogenesis, Cannabidiol, Autism spectrum disorder (ASD)


Autism spectrum disorder (ASD), often characterized by impaired social interaction and communication, as well as repetitive and stereotypic behaviors, is one of the most common (∼1/64 at births in US) and fastest-growing neurodevelopmental disabilities. The basic symptoms of ASD are often accompanied by other neurological deficits including, but not limited to, anxiety, mood disorder, sleep disturbance, as well as seizures. These medical conditions associated with ASD interact with each other and result in difficulty of any single symptomatic relief of ASD. Many patients must undergo a series of therapies, medications, and clinical visits in an attempt to alleviate some of the symptoms, which often causes economic and personal stress on the patient and their family. For this reason there is urgent clinical need to better manage multiple neurological pathologies of ASD simultaneously, and in so doing improve the quality of life of ASD individuals and their caregivers.

Cannabis has demonstrated its potential for the therapeutic treatment of a variety of ailments and diseases. The naturally grown plant contains over 80 different biochemical compounds called cannabinoids, many of which share very similar chemical structures and active properties [1]. Cannabinoids are often classified into three sub-groups: Phytocannabinoids, endocannabinoids, and synthetic cannabinoids. Phytocannabinoids are the cannabinoids that are found naturally in the cannabis plant, of which cannabidiol (CBD) is the 2 nd most naturally abundant in the plant. CBD has been gaining increasing worldwide attention because of its broad therapeutic potential for providing neuroprotective, anti-inflammatory, antipsychotic, anxiolytic, and anticonvulsant effects in both clinical and preclinical studies [2-8]. Recent anecdotal reports, accumulating animal and human research suggest that CBD provides a viable treatment opportunity for diverse developmental disorders, including ASD. Therefore, CBD holds the potential to simultaneously ameliorate seizures, anxiety, and motor and behavioral deficits that are prevalent in ASD (Figure 1). In an open-label FDA expanded access study, Anderson et al. [9] showed that CBD was not only effective in treating seizures, but also had positive effects on measures of behavior, in a cohort of children with ASD [9].

Figure 1. The beneficial spectrum of CBD provides a strategy for treating ASD pathologies.
Mechanism of action of CBD

Though the mechanism underlying the beneficial effects of CBD is still largely unknown, converging lines of evidence suggest dysregulated cannabinoid signaling likely could play a critical role in the pathophysiology of social functioning deficits in ASD [10]. Unlike psychoactive phytocannabinoid delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), CBD displays low affinity but unexpectedly high potency as an antagonist of cannabinoid receptor 1/2 (CB1/CB2) in vitro, which likely accounts for its lack of psychotropic activity [11,12]. Contradictorily, CBD can exhibit an indirect effect on the CB1 receptors by inhibiting the degradation of the endocannabinoid anandamide [13]. However, the broad CNS benefits of CBD are likely a result of its complex pharmacological mechanisms. Besides cannabinoid receptors, CBD also interacts with many other, non-endocannabinoid signaling systems, including the equilibrative nucleoside transporter, the orphan G-protein-coupled receptor GPR55, the transient receptor potential of melastatin type 8 channels, the 5-HT1a receptor, the α3 and α1 glycine receptors, and the transient receptor potential of ankyrin type 1 channel [14]. The multiple mechanistic-targets of CBD make it a unique candidate for treating complex symptoms associated with a number of disorders, including ASD [15].

Anticonvulsant effect of CBD

Epilepsy is common (20-30%) in ASD and is more prevalent in individuals with autistic-like behavior resulting from particular genetic predisposition (e.g. Angelman syndrome, Rett syndrome, Dup15q syndrome, etc.). Animals possessing such genetic modifications also exhibit CNS hyperexcitability, enhanced seizure susceptibility and/or spontaneous recurrent seizures. CBD exhibits potent anti-epileptic features in both clinical and preclinical studies [8,16-21]. Notably, CBD significantly reduced the frequency of total seizures of all types in a recent clinical trial for the treatment of drug-resistant seizures in Dravet syndrome [8]. The antiepileptic mechanisms of CBD are still unclear, but may involve multiple targets [14], which renders it an appealing candidate for complex and refractory epilepsy in ASD. Importantly, the anticonvulsive effects of CBD may be useful in suppressing explosive rage and calming severe anxiety. It is hypothesized that unrecognized partial complex seizures, which cause changes in consciousness but not muscular convulsions, are one source of autistic behavior disturbances [22].

Anxiolytic effect of CBD

Of children with ASD, 40% had at least one comorbid diagnosed anxiety disorder [23], which interacts with and exacerbates the other symptoms of ASD. Anxiety negatively impact quality of life of ASD individuals and is associated with higher health care usage and other social costs [24]. Studies using a wide range of animal models of anxiety suggest an anxiolytic-like effect of CBD [2,4]. Interestingly, CBD reduced general anxiety in a bell-shaped dose-response curve, with anxiolytic effects observed at moderate but not higher doses [25-27]. CBD also alleviated stress-induced anxieties in mice. Acute administration of CBD reduces anxiety induced by restraint, re-exposure to a context that previously paired with foot shocks or predator stress [28-31]. Evidence from human studies also strongly supports the potential for CBD as a treatment for anxiety disorders. CBD reduced anxiety in a group of social anxiety disorder patients and was shown to regulate cerebral blood flow in limbic and paralimbic brain areas [4]. CBD also reduced anxiety induced by simulated public speaking in both healthy volunteers and patients with social anxiety disorders [32,33]. Consistent with animal studies, acute administration of CBD induced anxiolytic effects in healthy subjects with moderate (300 mg), but not lower (100 mg) or higher (900 mg) doses [34]. CBD can also attenuate anxiety related sleep problems. Animal studies revealed microinjection of CBD into the central nucleus of the amygdala blocks repeated combination tests-induced rapid eye movement sleep suppression, probably through its anxiolytic effect [35]. A case study reported CBD decreased anxiety and improved the quality and quantity of sleep of a ten-year-old girl diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) [36]. The broad anxiolytic effects of CBD provide a unique treatment opportunity for the diverse anxiety phenotypes in ASD.

Wide-spectrum behavioral benefits of CBD

Animal studies suggest that CBD has a broad spectrum of behavioral benefits. CBD administration was found to rescue reserpine-induced motor and cognitive impairments, normalize MK-801-induced social deficits and hyperactivity, and attenuate THC-induced reduction in social interaction in rats [37-40]. Acute CBD treatment also protected against hippocampal cell death and improved cognition in mouse models of ischemia and cerebral malaria [41,42]. CBD can also reduce learned fear by decreasing fear expression, disrupting memory reconsolidation, and enhancing extinction in contextual fear memory paradigm as shown in a study involving mice [43]. These findings suggest CBD holds therapeutic potentials for ASD-related behavioral abnormalities.

Concluding remarks

Individuals with ASD typically face many challenges that worsen their quality of life, create a host of social and behavioral problems, can force their families into a reduced socioeconomic lifestyle, and potentially increase their risk of death. These individuals and their families currently have no available options to alleviate the devastating toll that this experience can have on them. It is for these reasons that there is a great need to find effective treatment options and explore the safety, efficacy and tolerability, of this promising drug, CBD, for these desperate patients. Establishing, in a preclinical and clinical setting, the quality of life and other daily function changes that CBD could be causing in social behavior, cognition, or motor skills is important. Introduction of CBD into a regular treatment regimen could lead to significant reductions in their otherwise untreatable symptoms. The evaluation of changes examined in sophisticated studies while participants are receiving CBD treatment is an important step in therapeutic testing of the drug and in understanding its potential.

Collectively, the pharmacologically broad-spectrum of CBD covers diverse neurological pathologies of ASD, thereby providing a unique and viable therapeutic opportunity to alleviate multiple core ASD symptoms simultaneously. The increasing interest and attention of its beneficial effects in controlling seizures, behavioral and mood abnormalities in ASD call for systematic preclinical and clinical studies to reveal the mechanisms, efficacy, therapeutic spectrum and safety of CBD in ASD.


I thank Christopher L. Anderson (Department of Biomedical Engineering, University of Florida, United States) for critical discussions and reading of the manuscript.


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Article Type
Publication history

Received date: June 20, 2017
Accepted date: July 19, 2017
Published date: July 21, 2017


© 2017 Gu B. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.


Gu B (2017) Cannabidiol provides viable treatment opportunity formultipleneurological pathologies of autism spectrum disorder. Glob Drugs Therap 2: DOI: 10.15761/GDT.1000134

Corresponding author
Bin Gu

Department of Cell Biology and Physiology, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC 27599, USA

Everything You Need to Know About CBD Oil for Autism

If you’re a parent that has a child with autism, you might wonder if these anecdotal reports about CBD Oil are actually true. It’s hard to ignore the growing popularity of our society using CBD to treat many different conditions and symptoms. Sources like Forbes project CBD products to be a $2.2 billion dollar industry over the next 2 years.

CBD is recommended as a treatment for conditions such as seizures, depression and anxiety, and symptoms such as sleeplessness, inflammation, acne, and pain. It seems to be something that everyone could benefit from using; its effects can be so widespread.

But can CBD oil really help children and adults with autism?

What is CBD?

Cannabis plants produce thousands of compounds but the most recognized belong to a class called cannabinoids. There are several cannabinoids but the two that are most well-known among consumers are THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol).

Derived from an extraction process from the flowers and buds of cannabis plants, either marijuana or hemp, CBD does not produce intoxication as it is a non-psychoactive compound, unlike marijuana’s “high” which is caused by the chemical tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).

If you are interested in or have been researching medicinal marijuana for those with autism, CBD oil could possibly be a better option. This is something you should discuss with your child’s doctor.

You may hear the term “hemp oil” when referring to CBD oil. Hemp is one of the varieties of cannabis plants that CBD is most commonly extracted from. Although in most cases CBD oil from hemp has no THC, it’s important to note that isn’t always the case. So going forward, we recommend focusing on CBD oil for those with autism.

CBD oil can be taken orally in many forms – some sources break consumption into categories – ingestible, topical, and smokeable. CBD oil can be administered in a dropper as a tincture, be encapsulated into a pill, baked into a brownie, vaped or even smoked. CBD products include edibles like gummies, beverage drinks, soaps, and creams or a transdermal patch similar to a nicotine patch.

Full Spectrum or Isolate?

Besides the type of plant CBD is extracted from, you can also choose the type of CBD you want based on how it’s processed. Full spectrum, or “whole plant” CBD, has a variety of potentially beneficial cannabinoids plus plant terpenes and flavonoids found in the original plant. CBD isolate is when all the other cannabis compounds are removed and only the CBD is left. It is not “whole plant” based and contains only one part.

It’s believed that using full-spectrum has more benefits than using CBD alone.

How do you choose which CBD oil to use?

There are so many brands of CBD oil to choose from. There are also many “snake oils” on the market, so it’s important to do your research. Find out the source of the CBD, where it’s grown and how it’s processed. You should check third-party testing results provided by CBD Oil companies.

If a company can’t provide you with a third-party lab test or a certificate of authentication (CoA), then we would recommend finding another brand.

Is CBD Legal?

In December 2018, Congress passed the 2018 Farm Bill which, if it hasn’t already, will be signed by the President.

What this means is that CBD processed from hemp, with a THC level of less than 0.3%, will be legal in all 50 states. If CBD oil has more than 0.3% THC it is considered non-hemp and has no federal legal protection at all.

And even though CBD oil from hemp is now legal, there are still strict regulations, as well as government oversight as to who can grow hemp, where it can be grown and how it’s cultivated and produced.

Click here for state by state regulations concerning cannabis products that do not fall under the protections of the 2018 Farm Bill.

Some states allow doctors to use their clinical discretion to prescribe CBD to their autistic patients. Some parents have sought out CBD separately to treat other symptoms such as pain or sleep issues, and have noted the secondary effects on the symptoms of autism. The therapeutic properties of cannabis, primarily of CBD, can help alleviate some of the negative behavioral effects of autism, such as anxiety and epileptic seizures.

Additionally, with CBD oil there are regulation issues around how much CBD vs THC are in the oil. Oral absorption is difficult to measure, and it is thought that less than 20% of the drug is absorbed when taken by mouth.

A recent study of CBD oil products found some productions had too little and others too much, and 1/5 CBD products contained THC, which can cause anxiety or make seizures worse.

As with any new treatment, it needs to be closely followed by doctors to watch for potential interactions with other meds, as well as resultant liver problems.

What is the correct dose of CBD Oil for Autism?

There is no recommended daily allowance (RDA) of CBD. Doctors may suggest a dosage to a patient, but don’t typically prescribe it due to legal issues. For doctors in training, the use of CBD oil and its benefits hasn’t been studied enough to be taught in pharmacology classes in medical school – there are no experts here.

CBD oil manufacturers often recommend a serving size on the label, but the amount of CBD is different in each product. The most common recommendation is to start small and increase as needed. Our chart will give you an idea of where to start with your child based on his or her weight.

Because every child is different, it will take time to find the best dose for your child.

How Does CBD Oil work for those with Autism?

We all have an endocannabinoid system that receives signals from cannabinoid that enters the body. When you consume CBD it enters your bloodstream, brain and nervous system almost immediately.

The endocannabinoid system moves in the opposite direction when compared to neurotransmitters. It moves up to the neurons and attaches to the cannabinoid receptors of the neuron that will send a “message”. Once there, the cannabinoids control what happens the next time the neurons activate and can effectively change what happens to the body and mind.

Endocannabinoids can help regulate hunger, anxiety, neuronal excitability, protection, and pain, among other things. With individuals with epilepsy, CBD oil can help suppress seizures. Those who look to cannabinoid medicine to help with autism believe that it can help bring order to the brain. It is well known that individuals with autism struggle with focus and attention, and cannabis can alter their spectrum of attention.

The effect of CBD oil begins at different rates for different people depending on dosage and product. Vaping/smoking can produce effects the quickest, sublingual tinctures may take 20-40 minutes, and edibles can take 1-2 hours to move through the digestive system. CBD taken topically in a cream or salve can also take an hour to get into the bloodstream, but their effects can last up to 6 hours.

Is it effective for autism andAsperger’s?

We want to know how CBD oil impacts autism. Is CBD an effective treatment for autism? Is obtaining medical marijuana for autism a good investment of time and resources? And do the benefits outweigh the risks?

There are multiple facets to consider when answering these questions. The simple answer is that there isn’t a wealth of research done for pediatric patients with autism – there is practically NO study validating the idea that cannabis is an effective and available option for the treatment of autism yet.

Nevertheless, one can’t ignore the reports of this “miracle drug” that has so many proven success stories.

For an individual with autism, a developmental disability with no proven “treatment”, you’re open to many therapies and strategies that might alleviate symptoms. CBD itself has shown promising results as a treatment for a variety of conditions, many of which are otherwise not treatable.

The most well-known properties of CBD are neuroprotective, anticonvulsant, anti-inflammatory and analgesic. CBD also possesses therapeutic value to treat conditions like depression, anxiety, and dependence.

Some reports show a decline in aggressive behavior, a significant decrease in seizures, and improved speech. Some accounts include children who did not speak before treatment who achieved significant results in a short period of time after their first dose of CBD oil.

Can we prove the benefits of CBD oil for autism?

Back in 2015, the Harvard Review and Boston Children’s Hospital put together a baseline study of cannabis research to date, which stated that most research was animal-based and did not yet show a generalized impact on human subjects.

The review concluded with the cautionary statement that cannabis treatments should be used as a last resort after all conventional therapies have failed. Indeed, a widespread reluctance exists within the pediatric community to study the effects of cannabis in children, due to the potential of harmful side effects.

There have been hundreds of studies on the effect of marijuana and different health impacts. Currently, there are two studies slated to study cannabis specific to autism – but they have not yet started. There is a risk to study children in general, and especially with a controlled substance like marijuana, which is known to damage the cells of a developing brain.

In many studies of CBD oil, there have been clinical trials done with adults, but they are not specific to children. Use of CBD oil for antipsychotic, antidepressant or sleep aid uses have been studied on animals but limited research has been to include humans.

Some published studies used case reports and retrospective accounts, but not true research with clinical trials and placebo groups. A recent retrospective study of individuals with ASD did report improvement in disruptive behavior, anxiety, and communications. Unfortunately, there were some (minimally reported) adverse effects such as sleep disturbance, irritability, and loss of appetite in participants.

A pediatric neurologist in Israel began research last year with 60 children on the autism spectrum and while still to be published, some preliminary results have been released. These qualifying study subjects had not responded to previous conventional drug therapies. 80% of participants who were treated for 7 months with 20:1 ratio of CBD to THC saw improvements. After the study, parents were asked about communication, behavior, and anxiety. 80% of parents noted a decrease in problem behavior, with 62% reporting significant improvement in behavior. Additionally, 50% noted an improvement in communication, 40% reported a decrease in anxiety (2/3 of the participants began the study with anxiety).

In 2017, there was a retrospective study conducted in Chile on 20 children who were given a CBD oil tincture orally for 3 months. The CBD to THC ratio was 1:1 – but the specific dosage wasn’t indicated. In looking at that study, one can note that this substance was not solely CBD, but equal parts CBD and THC.

The positive part of this study was that it was done with children with ASD – something that we don’t have a lot of research on. The outcome of the study was that caregivers reported improvement in at least one core symptom of autism – social communication, language, or repetitive behaviors. Additionally, sensory difficulties, food-based/texture tolerance, sleep disorders, and/or seizures improved as well.

CBD Oil for Autism and Epilepsy

Did you know that less than 2% of the general population has epilepsy, but up to 33% of people with autism also suffer from epilepsy? While scientists do not clearly understand the reasons behind the relationship, they suspect that the different brain development that occurs in autistic children is more likely to create circuits that cause epileptic seizures.

Earlier this year, a U.S. Food and Drug Administration advisory panel unanimously recommended approval of the CBD medication Epidiolex to treat two rare forms of childhood epilepsy, Dravet Syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome. These two conditions have early onset in childhood and present with seizures that are difficult to control.

The syndromes have impacts that grossly affect the child’s development and overall quality of life. This news is huge for the medical and autism community; as this is the first time the FDA has approved a marijuana-derived substance.

Where to Buy CBD Oil for Autism

Because of the FDA, no company can sell or market CBD oil specifically for autism, ADHD, or any sort of special needs. This would be making claims not yet confirmed by the FDA.

When looking for CBD oil for autism, you’ll need to investigate on your own if the company is a high-quality supplier.

You’ll want to make sure the company uses true, “Full-Spectrum” CBD, offers a Certificate of Analysis, and has their product 3rd Party Tested.

While you should always do your own research, we at Harkla have tried and really like Natural Stacks CBD Oil combination.

They have 2 different blends. One of which you take in the morning that comes with Omega-3, which is important for inflammation and brain development, and another which is blended with melatonin and lavender oil for a great bedtime combination.

The team at Natural Stacks was kind enough to give us a discount code exclusively for those coming from our site!

If you use the code “S397N986CPEY” while checking out, you’ll save 15% off your order!

What’s Next?

Efforts to legalize cannabis continues –although there are significant concerns that it will become more available to adults and teens, and its dangerous effect on brain development. You probably see the movement in your own states and communities, depending on where you live. In the meantime, activist groups like MAMMA (Mothers Advocating Medical Marijuana for Autism) are working tirelessly to add autism as a qualifying condition for medical marijuana use in certain states where it is already legal.

Continued research involving CBD and autism is needed to continue to validate these incredible anecdotal reports. US-based studies are necessary to influence decision-makers in our country. Fortunately, there are more studies coming, which will be conducted in the United States.

Large grants and donations have been allocated for research out of the University of California San Diego and Montefiore Medical Center in New York as well as New York University. There was a $4.7 million dollar gift for medical marijuana research specific to autism, the largest private gift for cannabis research in our country.

Safer production, consistent packaging, and streamlined recommendations are needed for medical use of CBD oil. PCP involvement in monitoring the use of CBD oil is crucial – especially to watch for interaction with other drugs, liver health, and symptom management. Patient education about all of these issues is necessary to create informed consumers to validate this new “miracle drug”.

We are at an exciting point as we watch cannabis products, especially CBD oil, become more mainstream in our pool of alternative therapies for autism.

Although with marijuana, there can be a risk to the developing brain and the fear of access for all teens/children, it’s not hard to see why legalization is so difficult. These same risks don’t seem to exist with CBD Oil.

There are so many positive impacts of CBD for conditions that aren’t easily remediated, many of which are the core symptoms of autism. But safety is still a concern.

It’s hard to ignore those accounts of children who have never spoken, of individuals whose behaviors were so difficult but untouched by conventional drug therapies. A parent will do anything to help their child but should know how the risks and benefits compare.


Molly Shaw Wilson MS OTR/L BCP

Molly Shaw Wilson MS OTR/L BCP is a board-certified pediatric occupational therapist with 16 years experience. She owns a private practice and provides service in homes, community and school settings, as well as her outpatient sensory clinic.

Molly enjoys working with young children and their families, focusing on parent-child interactions and home routines. She is a regular contributor to a parenting blog about typical development. Her professional interests have stemmed from her certificate work in assistive technology, hippotherapy practice, and consultation to a nature-based program in New Hampshire.

To find out more about Molly, please visit her website at www.trainingwheelsnh.com

34 Responses

Thanks for the info Molly. I’m an OTA and my husband is an OTR. Our young son is severely Autistic and we have been researching CBD as a means to regulate his behaviors.


January 27, 2020

There are many brands that come in tincture form and can be mixed with juice or any food your child likes. You might consider joining the CBD for Kids group on Facebook to get more info on specific brands that meet your child’s individual needs!

All the best,
Nicole from Harkla

Linda DeJesus

January 27, 2020

Thanks for your article….very interesting information as I am considering trying CBD with my 14 year old daughter who has Autism. I appreciate the link to the company/product you recommended, however I have not yet been able to get my daughter to swallow pills. Any other recommendations or suggestions other than a pill? Thanks in advance for your help ! Sincerely, Linda


January 15, 2020

Thanks for reading our blog! I found this link: https://cbdstore.co.za/ for you to look for CBD oil in South Africa. We wish you all the best and please let us know if you have any other questions.

-Nicole from Harkla


January 15, 2020

Good Day, we live n Durban, South Africa. Please advise where can I get CBD oil from. There are so many different products in the market so not sure. I have a 5 going on 6 year old boy who is non-verbal, broad spectrum autism. His neurologist put him on rispedal, which I don’t see working honestly. His tantrums at times are unbearable. Many Thanks


December 03, 2019

thanks for the information


November 08, 2019

It is possible to feel nauseous after taking CBD oil. It’s not extremely common but possible. I would make sure you’ve eaten before taking a dose. That might help!

Thanks for reading our blog!
Nicole from Harkla

James W

November 08, 2019

Have you ever felt sick to your stomach after taking CBD oil?

Kerri Davis

November 08, 2019

I stumbled across this website searching (again) out of desperation for help with my 9.5 ur old daughter with hfa she has sensory processing disorder and has also been diagnosed with arfids she shows alot of the typical hfa traits but interestingly she also changed and stopped eating after a nasty virus before that she ate just fine, this happened just before age 2 she’s just entering early puberty, wS always a challenging child but now and f orly recently she’s almost unmanageable for us, we live in New Zealand I’d love to hear more about cbd oil can we get it here or import it? and also love to hear from anyone else whose child changed after a bad virus thank you for your time and.. help. please


October 23, 2019

I just want to say exercise caution. Anxiety in children with autism, is not the same as anxiety experienced by neurotypical individuals. Just because you have taken off the “jacket”’ of anxiety, does not mean they can suddenly accept, process and regulate sensory input. Anxiety is painful—however I do believe it serves some purpose. Again, proceed cautiously.


I noticed one reply in here mentioning PANDAS & I have to say, if your ASD child starts having OCD/Tick symptoms, becomes aggressive, regresses, becomes emotionally more volatile, has increased anxiety or becomes clingy, please, please, please look in to PANDAS & PANS. These are acquired conditions related to exposure to bacteria. PANDAS is specifically related to exposure to strep that is not fully treated. As strep hide in the brain waiting to become active, the cells hide by masking themselves to look like brain tissue. The body’s natural immune system detects the irregularity and creates antibodies that not only attack the strep but also the brain tissue causing an autoimmune response in the basal ganglia region of the brain. That region is now thought to control OCD, tics, anxiety & the regulation of mood and behavior. Once the body has learned to create these specific antibodies, any subsequent exposure to strep that your child has can trigger more antibodies to be created & you will see a return to bad behavior.

My son was born 15 weeks premature and later diagnosed with PDD/NOS which later became ASD. Every time something unusual occurred with his behavior, such as the onset of OCD, aggression, mood swings, regression, self harm, etc. I was told it was just the progress of his ASD. His initial diagnosis of ASD was dubious at best but it got him additional services such as ABA therapy so we went along with it. You see, he is nearly blind so if he doesn’t make eye contact, is it ASD or poor vision. He is nonverbal which is classic ASD but he also spent the first three years of his life on a ventilator. He lacked physical coordination & body awareness often associated with ASD but later it turned out he had Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome which could account for both. Because of his complex birth complications and lack of a definitive genetic problem, it became easy for him to be considered ASD & to attribute all of his ensuing behavior issues to ASD.

Recently his behavior got so bad he was harming himself constantly & others as well. The powers that be said it was hormones since he was 13. But then he got strep again & even with multiple treatments of antibiotics, he kept testing positive for strep so the doctor ran a test on his strep antibodies to see if his levels were high enough to attribute his issues to PANDAS. The test came back normal. He got strep again & again & again for months & finally a specialist ran a different test for the antibodies. Anything above 200 is abnormal. 400 & above is very abnormal. My son was 1400. While reviewing his history, it became clear that there has been a historic correlation between his swings in behavior & subsequent treatment with antibiotics for a variety of illnesses. His body has been attacking his brain for more than a decade and then when he would catch something like pneumonia or strep or while fighting a battle he had with MRSA, his brain would get a small break from the rising strep antibodies and his behavior would get better. Doctors attributed that to simply a change because he felt better physically & not to the fact that he had PANDAS that was being treated as a byproduct of treating something else.

I know this is a lot of rambling, but please once again. If you notice your child’s behavior is changing & you can’t figure out why, look at PANDAS & PANS. There are a lot of parents who are turning to CBD to help lower the inflammation in the brain caused by the strep antibodies & also to terpines. I wish there was more research on which components are the most helpful and milligrams to use, etc.