During this lockdown period, 2 customers with children on the autistic spectrum have reported positive results since turning to CBD oil.
One of them shared their encouraging story with me, and I have gone on to share it with you below.
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a neurodevelopmental condition that is typically diagnosed in early childhood. ASD has a wide range of symptoms; rarely are two people with autism affected in precisely the same way. - WayofLeaf
‘Autism Spectrum Disorders comprise conditions that may affect cognitive development, motor skills, social interaction, communication, and behaviour. This set of functional deficits often results in lack of independence for the diagnosed individuals, and severe distress for patients, families, and caregivers.’
As a neurodevelopmental disorder, ASD has been linked to the functioning of the Endocannabinoid System and its ability to produce endogenous cannabinoids - namely anandamide, a major cannabinoid produced by our bodies to fuel our endocannabinoid systems ability to perform its function of maintaining homeostasis.
In August 2016, an observational study investigating the compassionate use of CBD was conducted on 18 autistic patients, with promising results.
Of these, positive outcomes were reported for 15 patients that adhered to the treatment - "especially regarding improvements in sleep disorders, seizures, and behavioural crisis. Also, signs of improvement were reported for motor development, communication and social interaction, and cognitive performance."
As always, more research is needed to further understand the relationship between this wonderous plant and Autism Spectrum Disorders, but as there are currently no drugs or psychotherapeutic approaches to improving quality of life, social skills and cognitive development of the most severe ASD patients, it's clear that alternative therapies are needed.
For now however, the anecdotal evidence of cannabis as a treatment option is greatly encouraging.
I met Gregory a few days before lockdown started. He came into the store looking for CBD oil for his 7-year-old son who is on the Autism Spectrum. He is non-verbal and has difficulties with social interactions and engagement. Knowing that lockdown would be a stressful time, with huge change and limited access to intervention programmes, their family decided to take a chance with a new approach.
Initially, his son responded to the drops ‘like an angry little man’ which prompted Gregory to stop administering the drops. However, his wife decided to continue secretly. After a week or so they started noticing a difference in his behaviour (what would we do without moms - am I right?).
He started to calm down significantly and has been far more enthusiastic when it comes time for his daily dose. Gregory says he comes ready with his tongue lifted; he is clearly as aware and excited about the progress as his family. Gregory’s sister came to stay with them during lockdown and could not believe the difference.
This 7-year-old boy went from being non-verbal to being able to call out to his grandma while on a video call. He’s also trying really hard to say his twin brother's name. He experiences a mixture of frustration, shyness and joy as we all do when learning a new skill, but with the help of his loving family and CBD oil, he’s even starting to hum melodies he hears on the TV.
Another huge change is his emotional and social awareness. He is more expressive and engaged than before, joining his dad and brother for a game of cricket and showing understanding when he’s done something he shouldn’t – like fiddling with the buttons of the printer when he thinks no one is watching.
Gregory is hopeful moving forward, as this is the only intervention they’ve tried with such noticeable benefits. More conclusive evidence is needed when it comes to CBD and ASD; but this heart-warming testimonial is amongst many that serves as anecdotal evidence for parents looking into CBD oil to complement existing interventions.
One parallel I’d like to make considering the times is the importance of routine. Kids on the spectrum thrive through maintaining their routine. It brings structure, freedom and peace into their lives and inner worlds, that are so often misunderstood.
I think with everything going on in the world and the feelings of uncertainty and chaos, many of us find ourselves in need of routine and practices that ground us in some sort of reality. It’s not easy to define and carve out when we’re so used to following a prescribed formula.
My hope is that we use this time to build the routines and practices that bring us the most balance and harmony as individuals connected within a global community.
Can we give our nervous systems a break and quieten the angry little men inside us all?