Cannabis-Based Medicinal Products Reported to Improve General Health-Related Quality of Life for Adults with ASD

October 03, 2022

Treatment Found Beneficial for Managing Anxiety Levels and Aiding Sleep Disturbances

For years, cannabis-based medicinal products (CBMPs) have been considered promising treatments for managing symptoms and comorbidities related to autism spectrum disorder (ASD). However, there has been very little evidence to back up this claim. For the first time, a team of British scientists assessed changes to health-related quality of life indicators and recorded the incidence of adverse events in adult patients with ASD treated with CBMPs. The study’s design included identifying participants treated with CBMPs from the UK Medical Cannabis Registry (UKMCR). The participant’s primary outcomes were then measured by Generalized Anxiety Disorder-7 (GAD-7), Single-Item Sleep Quality Scale (SQS), 5-level version of the EQ-5D (EQ-5D-5L).  The research team took outcome measurements at 1, 3, and 6 months and compared them with the participant’s baseline. Adverse events were also recorded and analyzed. In total, 74 adult patients with ASD were included in this research. The mean age of participants was 32.7 years. Overall, the current study linked CBMPs use with statistically significant improvements in managing anxiety levels and aiding in sleep quality. Interestingly, the patients saw generalized anxiety benefits at the 1 and 3-month measurements, but the same beneficial findings were not present at the 6-month marker. The authors believe this result could be due to a limitation in the study design, since there was a reduction in the number of participants that were followed up at 6 months. Therefore, they view this finding as insignificant. The study also discovered an associated improvement in self-reported sleep quality among participants during each of the three measurement markers. Of particular significance, a reduction in concomitant medication use during the treatment was identified. In total, 33.3% of patients stopped taking benzodiazepines during the study, and there was a 25% reduction in neuroleptic prescribing. Adverse events were reported by 18.9% of patients. No life-threatening or disabling adverse events were recognized, and most adverse events were considered mild or moderate. The authors believe their findings are not conclusive but provide scientific justification for further evaluation. 

Original Study

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