Cannabidiol as a suggested candidate for treatment of autism spectrum disorder

Prog Neuropsychopharmacol Biol Psychiatry. 2019 Mar 8:89:90-96. doi: 10.1016/j.pnpbp.2018.08.030. Epub 2018 Aug 29.


Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is characterized by persistent deficits in social communication, restricted and repetitive patterns of behavior, interests, or activities and often intellectual disabilities. ASD has a number of prevalent co-morbidities, such as sleep disorders, attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder and epilepsy. No effective treatment for the core symptoms of ASD is currently available. There is increasing interest in cannabinoids, especially cannabidiol (CBD), as monotherapy or add-on treatment for the core symptoms and co-morbidities of ASD. In this review we summarize the available pre-clinical and clinical data regarding the safety and effectiveness of medical cannabis, including CBD, in young ASD patients. Cannabidiol seems to be a candidate for the treatment of ASD. At present, however, there are no convincing pre-clinical or clinical data showing efficacy and safety of cannabinoid treatment in ASD patients.

Keywords: Autism spectrum disorder; CBD; Medical cannabis.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder / drug therapy*
  • Cannabidiol / adverse effects
  • Cannabidiol / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Psychotropic Drugs / adverse effects
  • Psychotropic Drugs / therapeutic use*


  • Psychotropic Drugs
  • Cannabidiol