Expert Cautions Parents on Cannabis Oil for ASD Patients

On 06/Aug/2019 / In Articles

A consultant child and adolescence psychiatrist at the University College Hospital, Ibadan, Oyo State, Dr Yetunde Adeniyi, has cautioned parents on the use of cannabis oil for children living with autism spectrum disorder.
 
Adeniyi, on Tuesday in Lagos at the 9th Annual Autism programme organised by Guaranty Trust Bank, said studies had shown that cannabis oil could improve the conditions of autistic children but there was the need for parents to exercise caution on the usage.
 
Adeniyi spoke on the topic, ‘Utility of cannabis oil in autism management — current trends’.
 
She said the use of cannabis oil containing 30 per cent cannabidiol and 1.5 per cent tetrahydrocannabinol for patients living with autism had become increasingly popular in the last 10 years, but clinical research on its use had been scanty.
 
“Our brain consists of the endocannabinoid system which is a major regulator of synaptic plasticity and neuromodulation. Activating it in animal models has shown improvements in social deficits but not yet in human beings. The EC system is often affected in ASD patients with comorbidities such as seizures, anxiety, cognitive impairments, and sleep pattern disturbances.
 
“At present, however, there are no convincing preclinical or clinical data showing efficiency and safety of cannabinoid treatments in ASD patients,” Adeniyi said.
 
Also, a consultant child psychiatrist, Dr Mashudat Bello-Majeed, during her lecture, titled, ‘ASD and technology — interface in ASD management’, said technology devices could help autistic children live normal lives.
 
“Autism is not caused by spiritual or demonic affliction; it is a neuro-degenerational disorder and that does not mean they can’t live normal lives. About 50 per cent of children living with autism are not verbal; this strengthens the need for communication gadget for them to be able to express themselves.
 
“Technology can bring engaging learning and it brings the better outcome in children living with autism,” Bello-Majeed said.
 
The Chief Executive Officer, Guarantee Trust Bank, Mr Segun Agbaje, said it was unfortunate that children and adults living with autism still often lacked the support and vocational training they needed to develop critical skills for an independent and productive life.
 
Agbaje, who was represented by the Head of Communication and External Affairs of the bank, said, “Today, most children with autism are not getting the education they need, less than 20 per cent of adult with autism are employed, and many people with autism remain largely dependent on their relatives for all their lives.”
 
He said the conference was focused on how to empower people living with autism so that they could live a life of purpose.

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