UC San Diego

UC San Diego Seeks Participants for Clinical Trial on CBD as Treatment for Autism


Researchers at the University of California San Diego School of Medicine are seeking 30 participants with autism spectrum disorder from ages 7 to 14 to take part in a clinical trial to determine if CBD could help in reducing behavioral symptoms.

The clinical trial involves giving half of the group of children cannabidiol (CBD) and the other half a placebo in the form of flavored oral drops. In the second half of the study, the groups will be switched so that those who initially received the placebo will receive cannabidiol and vice versa. All participants will receive MRI scans, behavioral testing and electroencephalograms.

Cannabidiol is an extract of cannabis that is non-psychoactive. It’s marketed as a useful tool in treating chronic pain, anxiety and cancer. However, supporting evidence of such claims is “scant or non-existent,” UC San Diego says.

“CBD may have potential for many neurological disabilities, but there is particular interest in autism because the behavioral problems can be severe and limit the child’s ability to learn and socialize,” Dr. Doris Trauner said in a statement. She is a Distinguished Professor of Neurosciences and Pediatrics at UC San Diego School of Medicine

Autism spectrum disorder affects about 1 in 68 children in the U.S., primarily impacting boys. The neurodevelopmental disorder may impact a person’s social and cognitive functions. Some suspected causes of autism include environmental conditions, inherited genetic mutations and metabolic dysfunction.

Parents who are interested in having their children participate in the clinical trial can contact Lauren Smith via email or by reaching her at 619-627-1133.

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