I was inspired to write this blog from a conversation I had encountered with a customer at work. He was very concerned for his child who was diagnosed with autism and couldn’t sleep. He had tried everything and finally wanted to take a dive into CBD, a more natural approach. While this may be a controversial topic, in my family, we have ONE set of twin boys and one of them was diagnosed with Autism— this is rare.
I understood his determination to try anything to help his little one sleep but also how attentive to care you have to be with small ones who have ASD. This interaction led me to forward some information that I found in hopes it will help a parent or even someone with ASD.
What is Autism?
Autism or ASD for short is a developmental disability that’s caused by differences in the brain. ASD affects 1 in 44 American children. Those with autism may have difficulty with communication, social interactions, and repetitive behaviors or interests. In most cases, boys are more often diagnosed than girls are. Symptoms and severity differ from person to person.
“The DSM-5 classifies symptoms of ASD into two categories: Problems with communication and social interactions.
- This includes difficulties with Emotional-social reciprocity. For example, trouble sharing emotions or interests and maintaining back-and-forth conversations.
- Nonverbal communication is important to social interaction. For example, trouble understanding body language or communication cues, like eye contact.
- Developing and maintaining relationships. For example, difficulty making friends.
- Repetitive or restricted behavior patterns or activities. This includes: having an intense need to adhere to specific routines exhibiting an increased sensitivity to specific sensory stimuli or having fixated interests”
A diagnosis of autism happens when a person displays all three symptoms from the first category and at least two from the second. Some common ways that are explored to help with ASD are occupational or speech therapies.
Let’s take a look and see how CBD could possibly be beneficial for you and your family.
What is CBD?
CBD or Cannabidiol is a chemical compound found in the Marijuana plant. Unlike THC(Tetrahydrocannabinol), CBD is non-psychoactive. There are three different types of CBD categories you can look into when searching for products: Full-Spectrum and Broad-Spectrum.
Full-Spectrum: Full-spectrum CBD products will contain multiple elements, or what we call cannabinoids, of the Marijuana plant. This means there will be a small portion of THC, usually less than 0.3%, and will not be psychoactive.
Broad-Spectrum: Broad-spectrum CBD products will contain multiple cannabinoids but NO THC will be present in these products.Isolate: Isolate is going to be pure CBD, no other element of the plant will be present.
How does CBD work for our bodies?
CBD works by working with our bodies’ natural endocannabinoid system. Our endo system is what’s responsible for keeping our body balanced, what we call Homeostasis. Once our body detects an imbalance, it sends certain cannabinoids to our receptors. We all have CB1 and CB2 receptors.
The CB1 receptors are within our nervous system and are responsible for the psychoactive effects of cannabinoids while our CB2 receptors are in charge of our immune and inflammatory responses because our endocannabinoids are chemically close to the cannabinoids of the cannabis plant, our receptors react.
- pain perception
- immune cells
- motor activity
- immune system
- central nervous system
- cardiovascular system
How can CBD help my family member or child with ASD?
CBD is used on a daily basis by many to help relieve anxiety, inflammation, and ADHD and helps aid in stress relief. Children with ASD are known to wonder or even have times of anger and aggression, CBD can help by calming down their nervous system which then can lead to fewer outbursts or self-injury. This may even get them to engage more in eye contact and communication/social activities. There have been many advances in understanding ASD, but researchers still don’t know specifically what causes it.
As with anything, be sure to consult with your family doctor, especially if medication is being taken, before you explore CBD as an alternative.