Cannabis Cannabinoid Res. 2021 Aug 24. doi: 10.1089/can.2020.0154. Online ahead of print.


Objective: The objective of this study was to evaluate the safety and efficacy of medications commonly used in autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and compare this to what current research has shown regarding medical cannabis use in this population. Methods: Searches were performed to collect information surrounding currently used medications and their safety and efficacy profiles, biologic plausibility of cannabis use for symptoms of ASD, and studies detailing cannabis’ safety and efficacy profile for use in the ASD population. Results were used to compare medications to cannabis as a proposed treatment. Results: The heterogeneity of ASD produces great difficulties in finding appropriate treatment, leading to many medication changes or treatment trials throughout a patient’s life. Commonly prescribed medications display varying levels of efficacy, safety, and tolerability between patients and symptoms targeted. Some of the most common side effects cited are also considered the most troubling symptoms associated with ASD; aggression, anxiety, irritability, and a negative effect on cognition, leading many patients to discontinue use as the side effects outweigh benefits. Recent case reports and retrospective studies have displayed the potential efficacy, safety, and tolerability of cannabidiol (CBD)-rich medical cannabis use for treating both core symptoms of ASD and many comorbid symptoms such as irritability and sleep problems. Studies have also identified circulating endocannabinoids as a possible biomarker for ASD, providing another possible method of diagnosis. Conclusions: Currently, there are no approved medications for the core symptoms of ASD and only two medications Food and Drug Administration approved for associated irritability. Prescribed medications for symptoms associated with ASD display varying levels of efficacy, safety, and tolerability among the heterogeneous ASD population. At the time of this study there are no published placebo-controlled trials of medical cannabis for ASD and the observational studies have limitations. CBD-rich medical cannabis seems to be an effective, tolerable, and relatively safe option for many symptoms associated with ASD, however, the long-term safety is unknown at this time.

PMID:34432543 | DOI:10.1089/can.2020.0154

Source: ncbi

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