"Cannabis as a treatment for autism spectrum disorders patients appears to be well-tolerated, safe and seemingly effective option to relieve symptoms, mainly: seizures, tics, depression, restlessness and rage attacks. The compliance with the treatment regimen appears to be high with less than 15% stopping the treatment at six months follow-up. Overall, more than 80% of the parents reported at significant or moderate improvement in the child global assessment."
Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is an extensive developmental disorder that is expressed in almost all dimensions of the child's development. It is now common to refer to this disorder as a wide range of Pervasive Developmental Disorders (PDD) in which there are various manifestations and symptoms.
According to BGU's Dr. Gal Meiri of the Negev Autism Center, "We analyzed the data prospectively collected as part of the treatment program of 188 ASD patients treated with medical cannabis between 2015 and 2017. The treatment in majority of the patients was based on cannabis oil containing 30 percent cannabidiol oil (CBD) and 1.5 percent tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Symptoms, patient global assessment and side effects at six months were primary outcomes of interest and were assessed by structured questionnaires."
Overall, after six months of treatment, 30 percent of patients reported a significant improvement, 53.7 percent reported moderate improvement, and only 15 percent had slight or no change.
|The study population in the three follow-up periods, at intake, after one month and after six months of medical cannabis treatment.|
The ability to dress and shower independently improved significantly from cannabis treatment. Only a quarter (26.4 percent) reported no difficulty prior to the treatment while 42.9 percent improved their ability to dress and shower independently at six months.
Cannabis oil medication also significantly improved sleep and concentration. Good sleep and concentration were reported by 3.3 percent and zero percent respectively at the outset vs. 24.7 percent and 14 percent during an active treatment.
"While this study suggest that cannabis treatment is safe and can improve ASD symptoms and improve ASD patients' quality of life, we believe that double blind placebo-controlled trials are crucial for a better understanding of the cannabis effect on ASD patients," says Dr. Victor Novack, of the BGU-Soroka Clinical Cannabis Research Institute.
The study, "Real life Experience of Medical Cannabis Treatment in Autism: Analysis of Safety and Efficacy," was funded by Tikun Olam Ltd.
Other researchers that participated in the study include: Raphael Mechoulam, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem; and Naama Saban, Tikun Olam LTD.
RELATED JOURNAL ARTICLE
About American Associates, Ben-Gurion University of the NegevAmerican Associates, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (AABGU) plays a vital role in sustaining David Ben-Gurion's vision: creating a world-class institution of education and research in the Israeli desert, nurturing the Negev community and sharing the University's expertise locally and around the globe. As Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) looks ahead to turning 50 in 2020, AABGU imagines a future that goes beyond the walls of academia. It is a future where BGU invents a new world and inspires a vision for a stronger Israel and its next generation of leaders. Together with supporters, AABGU will help the University foster excellence in teaching, research and outreach to the communities of the Negev for the next 50 years and beyond.