A pilot study underway in Australia is exploring whether CBD can quell behavioural problems in children with intellectual disabilities.

The study will build on anecdotal reports of medical cannabis being used to reduce aggression and self-harm in children.

The preliminary study, led by Daryl Efron from the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, will involve 10 children aged between eight and 16.

Efron hopes that CBD could be an alternative to stimulants, antidepressants and anti-psychotics, which are known to carry a risk of serious side-effects.

Efron said:

“There is little research into new drugs to help these children, but medicinal cannabis has been shown to be effective to treat other medical conditions, including some severe epilepsies in children, and chemotherapy side effects and multiple sclerosis in adults.”

There are currently several American studies underway exploring CBD and other cannabinoids treatments for symptoms of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

One large-scale study is examining whether cannabidivarin (CBDV) can reduce repetitive behaviours and irritability symptomatic of the condition.

The Australian study will explore a broader spectrum of intellectual disabilities associated with severe aggressive behaviours.

Effron said:

“As a paediatrician, parents often ask me if medicinal cannabis would help their children.

“But I am unable to advise on the effectiveness of medicinal cannabis for children with severe behavioural problems, as there has been no research in the field. We hope to fill that void with some quality research.”

Source: New Atlas

Image: Chuck Coker [Flickr]