Oral Cannabidiol Use in Children With Autism Spectrum Disorder to Treat Related Symptoms and Co-morbidities
Dana Barchel1, Orit Stolar2, Tal De-Haan1, Tomer Ziv-Baran3, Naama Saban4, Danny Or Fuchs1, Gideon Koren1,5 and Matitiahu Berkovitch1
1 Clinical Pharmacology and Toxicology Unit, Assaf Harofeh Medical Center, Tel Aviv, Israel; 2 Autistic Spectrum Disorder Clinic, Assaf Harofeh Medical Center, Tel Aviv, Israel; 3 Department of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine, School of Public Health, Sackler Faculty of Medicine, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv, Israel, 4 Tikun Olam, Tel Aviv, Israel; 5 Maccabi Institute for Health Services Research, Tel Aviv, Israel
Children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) commonly exhibit comorbid symptoms such as aggression, hyperactivity and anxiety. Several studies are being conducted worldwide on cannabidiol use in ASD; however, these studies are still ongoing, and data on the effects of its use is very limited. After obtaining a license from the Israeli Ministry of Health, parents of children with ASD were instructed by a nurse practitioner how to administer oral drops of cannabidiol oil. The aim of this study, conducted in collaboration with the Clinical Pharmacology and Toxicology Unit at Assaf Harofeh Medical Center, was to examine prospectively the safety characteristics and the changes in symptoms by a bi-weekly questionnaire. Parents’ reports suggest that cannabidiol may improve ASD comorbidity symptoms.
STUDY POPULATION: 53 children diagnosed with ASD (45 boys, mean age 11).
- 2 patients (3.7%) discontinued treatment during the study (lasting 66 days on average) and another 2 patients continued cannabis treatment with another provider.
- self-injury and rage attacks – Self-injury and rage attacks improved in 67.6% of patients.
- Decreased hyperactivity – Hyperactivity symptoms improved in 68.4%.
- Improved sleep – Sleep problems improved in 71.4%.
- Decreased anxiety – Anxiety improved in 47.1%.
- Side effects included drowsiness, decreased appetite, and increased appetite.