Lower Circulating Endocannabinoid Levels in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder.

Aran A, Eylon M, Harel M, Polianski L, Nemirovski A, Tepper S, Schnapp A, Cassuto H, Wattad N, Tam J.  (January 2019)


Children with ASD had lower levels of AEA, OEA, and PEA, but not AA and 2-AG. Serum levels of AEA, OEA, and PEA were not significantly associated or correlated with age, gender, BMI, medications, and adaptive functioning of ASD participants. In children with ASD, but not in the control group, younger age and lower BMI tended to correlate with lower AEA levels. However, these correlations were not statistically significant after a correction for multiple comparisons.

Brief Report: Cannabidiol-Rich Cannabis in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder and Severe Behavioral Problems—A Retrospective Feasibility Study

Adi Aran, Hanoch Cassuto, Asael Lubotzky, Nadia Wattad, Esther Hazan  (October 2018)

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Anecdotal evidence of successful cannabis treatment in autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are accumulating but clinical studies are lacking. This retrospective study assessed tolerability and efficacy of cannabidiol-rich cannabis, in 60 children with ASD and severe behavioral problems (age = 11.8 ± 3.5, range 5.0–17.5; 77% low functioning; 83% boys). Efficacy was assessed using the Caregiver Global Impression of Change scale. Adverse events included sleep disturbances (14%) irritability (9%) and loss of appetite (9%). One girl who used higher tetrahydrocannabinol had a transient serious psychotic event which required treatment with an antipsychotic. Following the cannabis treatment, behavioral outbreaks were much improved or very much improved in 61% of patients. This preliminary study supports feasibility of CBD-based cannabis trials in children with ASD.

Medical cannabis for paediatric developmental–behavioural and psychiatric disorders

Daryl Efron, Jeremy Freeman  (April 2018)

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There has been little drug discovery work in the field of child and adolescent mental health for many years, and there is an urgent need to develop safe and effective therapeutics for this vulnerable patient group. Medical cannabis (MC) may be one such treatment. MC has potential as a therapeutic option in the management of paediatric mental health symptoms; however, the evidence to support its use for these patients is not yet in. There is an urgent need to conduct well‐designed trials of pharmaceutical‐grade MC products in children with behavioural and psychiatric disorders. In the meantime, paediatricians should counsel caution in relation to MC treatment for these indications.

Plasma anandamide concentrations are lower in children with autism spectrum disorder

Debra S. Karhson, Karolina M. KrasinskaJamie Ahloy DallaireRobin A. LiboveJennifer M. PhillipsAllis S. ChienJoseph P. GarnerAntonio Y. Hardan and Karen J. Parker  (March 2018)

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These findings are the first empirical human data to translate preclinical rodent findings to confirm a link between plasma anandamide concentrations in children with ASD. Although preliminary, these data suggest that impaired anandamide signaling may be involved in the pathophysiology of ASD.

Oral cannabis extracts as a promising treatment for the core symptoms of autism spectrum disorder: Preliminary experience in Chilean patients

G.KuesterK.VergaraA.AhumadaA.M.Gazmuri  (December 2017)

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Preclinical studies and several anecdotal case reports suggest a dysfunctional endocannabinoid system implicated in Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).In this small series of ASD patients, oral cannabis extracts were dramatically more effective than conventional medicines. Large randomized controlled trials are needed to establish efficacy and safety of medicinal cannabis in ASD.

Endocannabinod Signal Dysregulation in Autism Spectrum Disorders: A Correlation Link between Inflammatory State and Neuro-Immune Alterations

Anna Lisa Brigida, Stephen Schultz, Mariana Cascone, Nicola Antonucci and Dario Siniscalco  (July 2017)

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Several studies highlight a key involvement of endocannabinoid (EC) system in autism pathophysiology. The EC system is a complex network of lipid signaling pathways comprised of arachidonic acid-derived compounds (anandamide, AEA) and 2-arachidonoyl glycerol (2-AG), their G-protein-coupled receptors (cannabinoid receptors CB1 and CB2) and the associated enzymes. In addition to autism, the EC system is also involved in several other psychiatric disorders (i.e., anxiety, major depression, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia). This system is a key regulator of metabolic and cellular pathways involved in autism, such as food intake, energy metabolism and immune system control.

Role of Endocannabinoids on Neuroinflammation in Autism Spectrum Disorder Prevention

Syed Shahid Habib, Khalid Al-Regaiey, Shahid Bashir  and Muhammad Iqbal  (June 2017)

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Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) disease has become a mounting socio-economical alarm around the world. Neuroinflammtion had been shown in postmortem brain specimens from ASD patients. The Endocannabinoids System (ES) consists of a family of locally produced, short-lived, endogenous, phospholipid-derived agonists (endocannabinoids) that control energy balance and body composition. The growing number of medical benefits of ES, such as their ability to regulate processes like neuroinflammation, neurogenesis and memory, raise the question of their potential role as a preventive treatment of ASD.