Medical Cannabinoids for Patients with Autistic Spectrum Disorder: Parents Perspective

Poster Presentation
Friday, May 11, 2018: 5:30 PM-7:00 PM
Hall Grote Zaal (de Doelen ICC Rotterdam)
O. E. Stolar1, D. Barchel2, T. De-Haan2, T. Ziv-Baran3, N. Saban4, G. Koren5,6 and M. Berkovitch2, (1)Autism Center, Assaf Harofeh Medical Center, zerifin, Israel, (2)Clinical Pharmacology and Toxicology Unit, Assaf Harofeh Medical Center, zerifin, Israel, (3)Department of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine, School of Public Health, Tel-Aviv University, Tel-Aviv, Israel, (4)Tikun Olam LTD, Tel aviv, Israel, (5)Maccabi Institute for Research and Innovation, Tel Aviv, Israel, (6)Research Institute, Maccabi Healthcare Services, Tel Aviv, Israel

Parents to patients with autistic spectrum disorder (ASD) are in an endless search for treatment modalities to alleviate symptoms such as aggression, self- injury, restlessness, sleep disturbances, hyperactivity and other co-occurring conditions. In this study we report, for the first time, the experience of parents who administer oral oil-based cannabinoid extract to their child with ASD.


The aim of this study was to analyze parent's perspective on the usefulness of oral oil-based cannabinoid extract on their child with ASD.


Patients with diagnosis of ASD were administered oral drops of oil-based cannabinoid extract, after getting license from the Israeli Ministry of Health. The cannabinoid oil solution was prepared by "Tikkun Olam" company, at a concentration of 30% and 1/20 ratio of cannabidiol (CBD) and Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). During the first meeting, parents were instructed by a nurse practitioner how to administer the preparation. Thereafter, a weekly follow-up telephone interview was performed, where issues on efficacy and safety of the preparation were discussed. These reports were analyzed using statistical methods.


The parents of 53 patients with ASD and a mean age of 11.6 (4-22) years participated in this study. Mean duration of treatment was 66 (30-588) days. Mean daily CBD and THC dose were 102 (1.5 – 315) and 8.4 (0.5-49.5) [mean (range)]mg, respectively. Hyperactivity symptoms, reported among 38 patients, were improved in 26 patients (68.4%), not changed in 11 cases (28.9%) and worsened in 1 patient. Self-injury and rage attacks, reported among 34 patients, was improved in 23 cases (67.7%), not improved in 8 cases (15.1%) and worsened in 3 cases (8.8%), after the administration of the cannabis. Sleep disturbances, described in 21 patients, were improved in 15 patients (71.4%), not changed in 5 cases (23.8%), and worsened in 1 case. Anxiety and mood changes, reported in 17 patients, were improved in 8 cases (47.1%), not changed in 5 patients (29.4%), and worsened in 4 patients (23.5%). When parents were asked on overall change of ASD symptoms, 43.1% described a significant improvement, 31.4% mentioned any improvement, 21.6% described no change of symptoms, and worsening of symptoms was reported in 2 cases (3.9%). 5 families discontinued treatment. The most common reported adverse effects were somnolence and nausea, which resolved spontaneously.


This study showed that cannabidiol is probably effective in improving ASD co-occurring symptoms, with few and transient adverse effects, however, the long-term effect and safety of these preparations should be evaluated in further large-scale, controlled studies.