Cannabis Compound Improves Sociability in Mouse Models of Autism, Study Finds
A single dose of cannabidiol, non-psychoactive component of marijuana, relieves seizures and improves sociability in mice with a mutation in the autism gene CDKL5, according to a new study. The results of the study were presented this week at the Society for Neuroscience’s annual meeting in Chicago, Illinois. The study adds to the growing evidence that cannabidiol, or CBD, is effective in treating autism and epilepsy. One notable study of the benefits of CBD for those with autism was conducted this year by researchers from Israel’s Ben Gurion University and Soroka Medical Center.
For the new study whose findings were presented this week, researchers used a mouse model that mirrored the seizure severity and social and cognitive problems seen in the condition known as CDKL5 deficiency disorder (previously known as Rett syndrome). The disorder, which results from mutations in the gene CDKL5, leads to severe epilepsy, intellectual disability, and autism-like behaviors.
According to a report by Spectrum News, the mice with mutations in the CDKL5 gene were injected with CBD one hour before testing them. Compared with untreated mice, the mice injected with CBD were found to be less prone to seizures, spent more time with other animals, and performed better on memory and learning tests.
“These animals grew up without any treatments, and just one treatment at a late age was able to deliver these changes,” Rachel White, a research associate scientist at the University of Pennsylvania, said.
The study’s findings were presented by White at the Society for Neuroscience meeting. She added that the study’s findings would also provide insight into whether there are any harmful effects of growing up with CBD.