A lack of social understanding, a limited ability to carry on conversations, and an all-absorbing interest in particular subjects are the basic characteristics of Asperger’s syndrome. This neurodevelopmental disorder with a higher incidence rate among men alters the way in which a person perceives the world, processes information, and their relationship with others. Asperger’s syndrome is described as an unusual set of talents and abilities featuring traits such as logical thinking, prodigious memory, and a special talent for maths and technology. Until the end of the 20th century, this description remained unlabelled. This disorder is named after the descriptions of Dr. Hans Asperger, a paediatrician from Vienna, who observed, in 1944, that some children who came into his clinic displayed very similar behaviour and personality traits.
The lack of cognitive flexibility hinders social interaction and makes it hard for people with Asperger’s to understand the non-verbal aspects of language, such as body language and implicit statements. Social deficits lead to anxiety and a higher likelihood of developing depression, which sometimes affects the quality of life of the person, requiring a specialised therapeutic treatment.
Asperger’s calls for a comprehensive and interdisciplinary approach. Part of the job consists in developing skills that improve social and work interaction, as well as implementing non-pharmacological techniques to curb anxiety. The need for drug treatment varies depending on each patient’s mood and anxiety levels.
Therapeutic Effects of Cannabis
A double-blind study in 2010 by Crippa Jas looked into the effect of CBD in people with generalised anxiety disorders by contrasting it with functional neuroimaging. Subjects were administered 400 mg of CBD or placebo, and then they were switched to the other alternative.
The study found that CBD produced a significant decrease in the subjective feeling of anxiety, which correlated with the effects of this cannabinoid on brain activity in the limbic and paralimbic regions.
The mechanism of action by which cannabis improves a patient’s quality of life may be related to the functioning of the endocannabinoid system, which explains these kinds of symptoms and the positive response to cannabis treatment. The reason for some of these effects may be the fact that CBD has antidepressant and anxiolytic properties as this compound acts directly on serotonin receptors. Still, it is necessary to further research and to study the therapeutic effect of whole plant formulations. It is worth noting that—generally speaking—this approach requires trying more than one cannabis strain or several formulations with different concentration levels, as well as stressing and reminding people that the main treatment for this disorder is therapy.
Patients are advised to use varieties with a high CBD concentration, or containing equal amounts of THC and CBD, and, if possible, varieties rich in terpenes such as limonene, linalool and myrcene. In these cases, the recommended administration forms are cannabis oil and resin, taken sublingually, and vaping flowers. Patients should always begin with small doses and monitor all effects.