Pediatric Acute-onset Neuropsychiatric Syndrome (PANS) and Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorders Associated with Streptococcal infections (PANDAS) are autoimmune disorders that cause sudden onset of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), anxiety, tics, and other behavioral and emotional symptoms in children (and sometimes adults). These disorders are believed to be triggered by an infection or other environmental factors that cause an immune response that mistakenly attacks the brain (the basal ganlia).
The Potential of CBD in Treating PANS/PANDAS
CBD, or cannabidiol, is a natural compound found in the cannabis plant that has been shown to have anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective properties. Recent research has suggested that CBD may be a promising treatment for PANS/PANDAS, as it may help reduce inflammation in the brain and improve the symptoms associated with these disorders.
Reducing Inflammation and Improving Symptoms
The Swedo Method of care for PANS/PANDAS involves a combination of anti-inflammatory medicines and cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). Anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen, naproxen, and steroids reduce inflammation in the body and brain. CBT is a talk therapy that helps children learn coping skills and techniques to manage their symptoms.
While the Swedo Method has shown promise in treating PANS/PANDAS, CBD may offer additional benefits. Studies have shown that CBD can help reduce inflammation in the brain and improve symptoms of anxiety and OCD. CBD may also help improve sleep, often disrupted in children with PANS/PANDAS.
Research Findings: CBD and OCD Symptoms
One study published in the Journal of Child Neurology found that CBD significantly reduced OCD symptoms in a child with PANDAS. The child had previously tried multiple medications and therapies with little success but experienced a significant improvement in symptoms after starting CBD treatment.
Important Considerations and Precautions
It is important to note that CBD is not a cure for PANS/PANDAS and should be used with other treatments. Additionally, consulting with a healthcare professional before starting any new treatment regimen, including CBD, is essential.
Homeopathy and PANS/PANDAS
Some parents may also consider homeopathy a treatment option for their child with PANS/PANDAS. Homeopathy is an alternative medicine that uses highly diluted substances to stimulate the body's natural healing process. Think of introducing a tiny bit of peanuts to someone who has a peanut allergy. However, little scientific evidence supports the use of homeopathy for PANS/PANDAS or any other medical condition.
CBD may be a promising treatment option for children with PANS/PANDAS, as it may help reduce inflammation in the brain and improve symptoms of anxiety, OCD, and sleep disturbance. However, using CBD in conjunction with other treatments and consulting with a healthcare professional before starting any new treatment regimen is essential. Just like anything its not a cure all so please speak with your pediatrician about the various treatment options.