A single dose of cannabidiol, a component of marijuana, eases seizures and improves learning and sociability in mice with mutations in an autism gene called CDKL5.
The results add to growing evidence that cannabidiol, or CBD, can treat epilepsy and autism. Researchers presented the work [October 21] at the 2019 Society for Neuroscience annual meeting in Chicago, Illinois.
“This is a starting point,” says Rachel White, a research associate scientist in Frances Jensen’s lab at the University of Pennsylvania who presented the work. “CBD had positive effects in the animals,” and no negative ones, she says.
CBD is the major non-psychoactive compound in marijuana. Last year, the United States Food and Drug Administration approved CBD to treat seizures in two conditions related to autism: Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome.
The researchers plan to study the effects of long-term treatment with CBD.
“These animals grew up without any treatments, and just one treatment at a late age was able to deliver these changes,” White says. Treating the mice earlier in life may give even better results, she says. “It would also tell us if there’s any detrimental effect of growing up with CBD.”
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