Dr. Frankel's Journal

AUTISM SPECTRUM DISORDER, CANNABIDIOL AND MORE

May 1, 2018
Allan Frankel, MD

I was just reading an article on CBD and Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

For about seven years I have been working with children and adults “on the spectrum”. Upon seeing the first group of patients I felt ill-prepared. To offer the best analysis and treatment possible, I stopped seeing these patients for a while in order to learn more about Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) as well as how they would react to CBD.

Cannabis treatment for ASD has evolved over time. For me personally, I have grown to love seeing these children and nearly always feel that they “know” they are about to try something different and potentially great for them.

Early on, the only cannabinoid focused on was CBD, and whole plant CBD certainly works well in many ways for ASD patients. These children often have a lot of anxiety and fears that are immediately benefitted by CBD. Some of these children have a related seizure disorder and I am often able to treat both diseases with a similar dose of whole plant CBD. The benefits seen early on are calming, mood improvements and help with seizures when present.

For the ASD patients with aggressive outbursts that include hitting, biting, etc., CBD is often not enough. I have seen that these children tolerate THC much better than I expected. ASD related aggression can often be treated by adding THC to the CBD mixture in various ratios. Repeatedly I will give a THC extract separately at a dose of between 2-5 mg for aggressive behavior. If this shows positive results, I calculate how much THC should be added to their baseline CBD medicine.
Finally, many of these kids have predictable times of day when they meltdown. In these situations, I always consider giving a few mg of THC before things fall apart.

THC-Acid, or the “raw” form of THC prior to heating, has also entered the scene as an effective adjunct to CBD and THC. It can be helpful in behavior control and is certainly beneficial in controlling seizures.
As THC-V is entering the scene with new strains SLOWLY becoming available, I believe it will be a huge step for ASD patients and I can’t wait to work more with it. THC-V is extremely calming and mood enhancing without any impairment at all. Many of the THC-V strains have way more THC than THC-V, which is currently a challenge. However, I am anxiously awaiting a couple of new strains, that should be more of a 3:1 THC-V:THC.

Together with CBD, this should be an effective tool to add to our bag of cannabis tricks.

So, what about long term effects? This is where I get the most excited. After one or perhaps two years, patients’ socialization and speech are often improved. I am anxious to see us treating ASD children at a younger age and I am very hopeful to see these children as they grow up with treatment. ASD is a challenge for any parent, teacher or physician. We don’t know what the cause is and why nearly 1 in 20 male children are born will develop ASD.

I can’t believe we “missed these cases” for decades; something has changed, but what?