Autism And Cannabis UseAutism and cannabis use. There’s a lot of anecdotal evidence about the good results of treating autism with cannabis. Around 1% of the world’s population has a diagnosis of autism with 1 in 68 children diagnosed with some form of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) every year. It has become a big problem. There is no known cure for ASD, but it is treatment is with different drugs and therapies. While some patients find these help, people are seeking better ways to treat the symptoms of the disease.
Autism And Cannabis Use SymptomsAutism symptoms vary, but it affects communication skills, cause aggression, and affect social interaction. Children and people with ASD also can self-harm and be obsessive compulsive. Autism severity can range from mild to severe and affects people in different ways. Marijuana has shown to be effective for treating the symptoms ASD in children. But it is still a Schedule 1 drug so many parents using it are putting themselves at risk using it. Also, it hampers research efforts into it as a treatment option.
A lack of scientific evidenceIsrael leads the way in medical cannabis research for treating ASD. Its Ministry of Health has taken the steps required for Israel to lead the world in medical marijuana research. Minister of health, ultra-Orthodox rabbi Yaakov Litzman allowed the dispensing of medical cannabis in a similar way as all other medications in 2016. He was also behind allowing the export of medical marijuana into inject billions into the country’s economy.
Pionneering Autism And Cannabis UseResearchers in Israel are pioneering research in this field. It currently involves 120 people ranging in age from five years old to 29 with different degrees of ASD. Every patient receives two types of cannabis oil containing CBD and very low amounts of THC or a placebo. Dr Adi Aran leads the study which is still continuing. His interest came from observing the effects of cannabis on 70 of his patients in another study. Although the results are promising, he says they need replicating to determine if cannabis is a viable alternative treatment.
Australian company funds autism study in PhiladelphiaAlthough medical marijuana is available in 29 states of America, very few consider ASD as a qualifying condition. Many parents who want to use cannabis to treat their children have to do so illegally. Australian company Zelda Therapeutics is funding a study at the Philadelphia Children’s Hospital. This study will look at the benefits of medical cannabis for children and is the first of its kind in the US. Children’s Center for Pharmacology director Athena Zupp said the study was purely observational. And, they would not be giving children marijuana. She said they will gather data by observing children already receiving medical cannabis under the Pennsylvania Safe Harbor Provision. This study aims to build on a study Zelda backed in 2017 in Chile. Zelda is also ready to start clinical trials for treating children with medical cannabis this year.
Can cannabis help children with autism?Researchers and doctors are reluctant to talk about the potential benefits of medical cannabis for treating autism as there is so little research. The other issue is the variables because it involves children which makes researchers reluctant to research the subject. People diagnosed with autism tend to have a lack of endocannabinoids occurring naturally in their system. It is because of these researchers believe cannabis may be beneficial. Marijuana has similar properties in the CBD and THC. And, they believe low levels of endocannabinoids can be a cause of autism.
Cannabis has potential for treating autismOrganisations like the Autism Research Institute believe CBD can help the symptoms of autism. But, they are quick to say patients should only take it under the supervision of a doctor with the right dosage. Currently parents using cannabis for their children are relying on the stories of other parents who found it effective. The anecdotal evidence says its use does not produce the side effects of traditional options. With the research in Israel showing potential for cannabis as effective for treating autism, children are not smoking weed. Most of the research is with children and teenagers who have had negative experiences with the traditional medications. Children in the trial use CBD so they do not get high. It is important people understand this. Researchers are not giving children medical cannabis with THC in it so patients do not get high.
Autism And Cannabis Use ResearchAlthough the limited research so far is promising, there is a long way to go. Research is ongoing with more studies starting up across the world. However, parents should avoid giving their autistic children cannabis although some evidence says it may help. It should only be given to children under medical supervision.
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