Many of our children on the autism spectrum suffer with debilitating anxiety. As mentioned in my previous postings, I do like to use herbal approaches in a step-wise fashion. We get to cannabinoids if what I have been doing has only produced minimal results.
The term cannabinoids refer to compounds produced by the plant Cannabis sativa – most commonly known as marijuana. Cannabinoids work in the brain and activate cannabinoid receptors within what is called the endocannabinoid system. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), is one of these compounds and produces the “high” associated with marijuana. And no, we don’t have to get our children “high” to reduce anxiety! Cannabidiol (CBD) represents the “other” 85 cannabinoids that potentially can help alleviate anxiety WITHOUT the “high” associated with marijuana use.
I typically start with “over the counter” CBD oil. Since this preparation does not contain the THC, it can be purchased on line. Not ALL CBD oils are created equally and thus, there are variable responses. I have a favorite that I use for my patients, but I am sure there are many good quality brands. I typically use the type with the “pump” and depending on age, weight, and how anxious the child, I will use anywhere from 2-10 pumps 2-4 times daily.
For my patients who live in the “GREEN” states, we can use preparations that include THC. Again, the goal is to provide relief from anxiety, but no “high.” These products are obtained through what is called a dispensary. Depending on the individual state’s laws, the patient is required to have a medical referral in order to buy these products. I use a dispensary in California where the PhD in charge works out the various doses for each individual’s needs. He actually works with a local children’s’ hospital working with terminally ill children or those who have chronic pain and anxiety – part of the palliative care team.
There is no magic formula or ratio. Each child’s response has to be individually “titrated” or, adjusted specifically on how the child responds.