According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, roughly one out of every 59 children is diagnosed with Autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The number of patients with this developmental disability has risen nearly three-fold in just 20 years and impacts boys at a rate of four times more than girls. Given the sharp rise in this disorder and the need to seek treatment as quickly as possible in order to reduce an individual’s difficulties while helping them acquire needed life skills, parents are left seeking new methods of treatment to combat their child’s condition.
Some of the most common treatments for ASD involve using prescription medications to mitigate the associated symptoms of anxiety, depression, aggression, self-abuse, irritability, and hyperactivity that many patients are challenged with. In other cases, children with ASD find benefit through therapies designed to teach communication skills, necessary life skills, and to help minimize the challenges they have as a result of the condition.
One of the more recent treatment options that research has shown to potentially help patients with ASD, combines the use of CBD (cannabidiol) and chiropractic procedures. CBD, a compound that is found naturally in the cannabis plant, is a safe, non-addictive substance that research shows may offer relief from anxiety, depression, inflammation, and chronic pain. While found in the cannabis plant, CBD does not have the psychoactive properties that produce the “high” that another compound in the plant, THC, provides. Coupled with chiropractic treatments designed to correct any existing subluxations and improve sensory processing in patients with ASD, CBD may offer benefits that traditional medicine cannot.
While research on the combination therapy is ongoing, early studies have shown that the treatments may offer improvement of autistic symptoms. One study from April 2018 showed that of the 60 children diagnosed with ASD that were treated with oral CBD, 61% said their behavioral outbreaks were “much improved” or “very much improved”. An additional benefit was that patients also reported lower stress or anxiety levels, improved sleep quality, and communication issues were reduced.
As mentioned previously, chiropractic care is often used in patients with ASD to improve sensory processing associated with any subluxations. Subluxations of the vertebrae, also known as misalignments or partial dislocations, are commonly corrected through chiropractic adjustments. By correcting these misalignments, ASD patients can achieve greater sensory processing which can help reduce some of the symptoms associated with the disorder. One study noted that patients receiving twice-weekly adjustments to their first or second cervical vertebrae reported behavioral improvements, a reduction in self-abuse, and improved language skills. Another study indicated that chiropractic treatments helped a 16-year-old male ASD patient eliminate frequent bowel accidents and think more clearly.
There is still much to learn regarding the effects of combining CBD and chiropractic for patients with ASD but the early data is promising. For patients that are seeking an alternative or supplement to traditional medication or therapies, the use of CBD and chiropractic treatments may offer them relief from the symptoms associated with the disorder. As with any treatment plan, patients should consult with their doctors to determine if the therapy is right for their situation.