UC San Diego researchers are looking for participants for a clinical trial to study the effectiveness of cannabidiol, or CBD, in treating symptoms of severe autism in children.
Cannabidiol is a chemical compound found in cannabis. CBD does not contain THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana that produces a high.
CBD oil has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as an epilepsy medication, and the chemical has been studied as a treatment for several other conditions.
The goal of the UCSD study “is to determine whether CBD reduces the problem behaviours that we see in children with severe autism,” said the study’s principal investigator, Dr. Doris Trauner, a paediatric neurologist and professor of neuroscience at UCSD’s School of Medicine.
Trauner said the behaviors the study will target “are specifically aggressive behaviors, self-injurious behavior [and] persistent repetitive behaviors, what are called stereotypic behaviors,” such as shaking or other repetitive movement that “interferes with their ability to function.”
“What we’re trying to identify is whether CBD reduces the problem with behaviors and then, in turn, whether that could improve their ability to function,” Trauner said.
The study is looking for 30 boys ages 7-14, with a second phase for girls planned for later.