CANNABINOIDS AS A TREATMENT APPROACH FOR ASD: A LITERATURE REVIEW
Given the increasing incidence and high economic and social costs associated with ASD, along with the need for effective pharmacotherapies for its core symptoms, alternative treatment options have become widely researched. The present study is a literature review that explored the DeCS/MeSH descriptors 'cannabinoid,' 'treatment,' and 'autism.' It is estimated that up to 80% of children with ASD experience sleep disturbances, such as prolonged latency for sleep onset, along with nocturnal and early morning awakenings, which are widely associated with alterations in the sleep-wake circadian cycle. In this context, it is known that the endocannabinoid system (eCB) is one of the main regulators of the sleep-wake cycle. However, the effect of phytocannabinoids on the sleep quality of children with ASD still lacks further clarification. Furthermore, these cannabinoids exhibit anti-inflammatory properties, reducing levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines and contributing to a neuroprotective microglial phenotype. In ASD, cannabinoid derivatives have demonstrated efficacy in controlling behavior and irritability. However, as of now, there is no FDA-approved product for regular use.