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  • Writer's pictureDr. Dan Jin

CBD as a Potential Treatment for Core Symptoms of Autism  

Currently, there are no approved medications for the core symptoms of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and FDA only approved two medications for associated irritability. Prescribed medications display varying levels of efficacy, safety, and tolerability among the ASD population.  

One recent study evaluated the safety and efficacy of medical cannabis in ASD compared with commonly used medications. Safety and efficacy profiles of currently used medications were collected. Information regarding biologic plausibility of cannabis use for symptoms of ASD, and studies detailing cannabis' safety and efficacy profile for use in the ASD population were also collected. The results were used to compare medications to cannabis as a proposed treatment. 

The study concluded that prescribed medications caused variety side effects, including aggression, anxiety, irritability, and a negative effect on cognition, leading many patients to discontinue use. Meanwhile, CBD-rich medical cannabis has displayed the potential efficacy, safety, and tolerability of use for treating both such as irritability and sleep problem. However, the long-term safety is unknown currently. 


  1. Holdman, R., Vigil, D., Robinson, K., Shah, P. & Contreras, A. E. Safety and Efficacy of Medical Cannabis in Autism Spectrum Disorder Compared with Commonly Used Medications. Cannabis Cannabinoid Res (2021) doi:10.1089/can.2020.0154. 

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