Life in High Definition (CBD Oil & Autism)

Background

CBD oil (Cannabidiol) is a derivative of the Cannabis plant. There are two types of CBD, with or without the psychoactive substance THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol). CBD without THC is legal in the UK and can be bought at health food shops and online.

Andy is Autistic.  He was diagnosed as an adult and has embraced his Autism, as he has many strengths and talents that are significantly enhanced by his autistic experience. He gives talks to professionals as part of the Autism Training that 3 Spirit UK provide. Through this and his online activities, Andy promotes understanding of Autism from an Autistic perspective.

Recently Andy has been conducting an experiment to see if CBD can help him cope better with his more obvious signs of Autism.

Here is What Andy Discovered

“Like many Autistic people I try my best to blend in to a Neurotypical world without displaying my Autism. I stim only in private for instance…

Autism isn’t logical. It would be so much easier if it was! Here is my dichotomic dilemma;

The main problem I have in dealing with my Autism is my sensory differences. Too many sources of noise particularly screw with my ability to think, make rational decisions and with my ability to communicate effectively.

Which wouldn’t be a problem if I hid myself away from the world.

However I am a Musician and play live often…

When I first started gigging regularly I used to really struggle. The close proximity of the audience, the pressure of playing well, a particularly unsupportive band and the raucous reaction of the audience to the energetic music we played. It all added up to make me a tight wound ball of nerves throughout the gig.

I have learnt over time to use certain coping methods to get me through and towards the end of the gig. I am sometimes comfortable enough to join the audience on the dance floor as I play!

However there is one aspect that I couldn’t change. The day after a gig I would be zombie-like. Unable to communicate properly with my family and needing peace and solitude to recharge my ‘Social Battery’. After a particularly stressful gig it could take me 48 hours to recover to my ‘normal’ state. It is at these times when I would be visibly and more obviously Autistic.

There is a lot of anecdotal information on the internet about the effects of CBD on various conditions. I saw a few people who had experienced a decrease in some of the features of their Autism after taking it. It became available to buy over the counter in the UK so I decided to try it out…

The first time I took it was a day when I had to attend two events in one day. An outdoor gig and ceremony to unveil a statue in the afternoon, followed by a sold-out gig at my local theatre that evening. I was in a state of extreme social anxiety that afternoon, a feeling that had been building for a few days.

As everyone was crowding around to catch a first glimpse of the statue I took myself off to the local health food store and bought some CBD oil. We left for home and I took some. 3 drops, under the tongue and leave it there for a few minutes before drinking.

By evening I felt much better. We were on the front row. I even got chatting with the people around me and became friends with 2 of them. This was quite a revelation. It was wonderful just watching the show without thinking about how close the person next to me was, how loud they were talking, did they have perfume on, had they eaten garlic???

Although it did have a profound effect that evening I found that subsequent doses didn’t have the same effect. Further research told me that the CBD I had bought is actually a really low dose.

Then, a few months later we were on a holiday and we took ourselves to Glastonbury for the day. We went in a typical Glastonbury shop, hippy clothes, juggling materials and drug paraphernalia like bongs and pipes. On the counter however was a display of CBD oil of various dose strengths. From my research I knew that the ideal strength was 500mg. I bought a bottle for £38 and looked forward to trying it.

I started taking it on the day after I play a gig and found that it removed the brain fogginess and pressure that I felt. My recovery time was cut and by afternoon or early evening was almost back to normal.

Fast forward to this weekend just gone;

I played a gig some distance from home. I arrived home in the early hours and needed something to eat and drink. I decided that it would be a good idea to take CBD at the same time. I did. I was anxious about a gathering my neighbours had invited us to the next day. It was a drop in type event for the neighbours to all meet and chat. I had pre-warned them that I may be too exhausted to attend. This relieved some of the pressure.

I got in bed after 3 am and slept the best I have slept for some time. I woke in the morning feeling quite fresh, certainly not the head crushing feeling I would normally endure. I took some more CBD with breakfast.

That afternoon I felt more than able to attend the neighbour’s house and be sociable. They have recently done some building work and they have two young children. They also had a friend visiting with her three children. Acoustically the new build is really echo-y. No soft furnishing or curtains to absorb the sound and a hard floor to reflect it. Laughing, running, screaming and crying kids being kids and trying hard to concentrate on lip-reading what people were saying to me.

This would normally be enough to see me running to the hills, to shut myself away to recover. However I was able to cope with it. It was a marked difference that was remarked on by my wife. It felt good to be ‘normal’ for once.”

Conclusion

“I have found that taking CBD oil of 500mg strength reduces my social anxiety, helps me to sleep and dramatically reduces the recovery time I need when socially exhausted.”

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