Autism, also known as autism spectrum disorder, is a complex neurodevelopmental disorder. It can impact daily functioning, making communicating and functioning in social situations difficult. Autism is viewed by many to be less of a disorder and more of a different way of thinking which should be respected.
Some parents have found that CBD, one of the chemical compounds found in cannabis, has a calming and relaxing effect on their autistic children. However, despite the seemingly high success rate in these case studies it is It’s important to look beyond the anecdotal evidence though, and see what actual medical research has to say about autism and cannabis.
Signs of Autism usually begins to appear in early childhood. Children typically follow a normal developmental path “normally” until age two or three, and then begin to show signs of Autism including withdrawing from social situations, learning and cognitive impairment and communication issueswithdraw.
According to theNational Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, many of those with autism spectrum disorder, or ASD, find communication and social interactions extremely difficult to handle. They may have trouble understanding their own feelings as well as those of others, making interactions with others . a stressful situation.
Another common characteristic of those with ASD is repetitive movements or unusual behaviors, such as rocking back and forth. They may also become preoccupied with specific objects or subjects. Changes in routine can also be difficult for those with ASD.
Traditional Autism Treatments
There is no cure for ASD. Typically, interventions are aimed at helping those with ASD to function more independently or improve their social skills to help them succeed at work or school. Behavioral and educational interventions are especially helpful. Medication is sometimes used to curb other symptoms associated with ASD, such as anxiety and depression.
People with ASD are also twenty to thirty percent more likely to develop epilepsy, according to the NINDS, so this needs to be treated as welland may require treatment for such so as to minimize the risk of seizures.
Treating Autism with Medical Marijuana
Accessing the applicability and effectiveness of medical marijuana for autism treatment can behas been challenging, especially in thosesome states with stricter approaches to the drug’s use (even in medical situations).
While laws and regulations are in a constant state of flux, fFive states currently consider autism as a “qualifying condition” for using the use of medical cannabis, and four more states allow doctors to recommend cannabis as a treatment for autism. Epilepsy, on the other hand, is a qualifying condition in a far greater number of states where cannabis is an allowable treatment option.
Many more states allow cannabis to be used to treat epilepsy.
One of the reasons for the lack of access to medical marijuana for those with autism is that very little research has been done to date. One research review, completed in 2015 and published in the Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics, found that current research showed promise, but that much more research needs to be done. The review cites research from a study that suggests behaviors may be influenced by changes to the endocannabinoid system, which could then be impacted by using cannabis.
New and Increased Research is Paving the Way Forward
Fortunately, large-scale research on the effects of cannabis on ASD has increased. A large study is underway at the University of California at San Diego and another being completed at New York University.
Studies have shown that cannabis can be an effective treatment for epilepsy, which is a common co-existing condition for people with ASD. A 2018 double-blind study published in The New England Journal of Medicine examined patients with a severe form of epilepsy. Over 150 patients were treated with CBD. Two percent became seizure-free and 36.5 percent had fewer seizures. The United States also recently approved the first prescription medication for epilepsy to use CBD.
Vaping Medical Marijuana
When it comes to safe, effective use of medical marijuana, many patients turn to either oils or vaping as a safer and healthier alternative to “lighting up”. Vaping is aprovides a quick, effective delivery method for medical cannabis and concentrates.
The amount being ingested is easy to monitor, and doesn’t hurt the lungs the way smoking doeswill. Research shows that cannabis users turn to vaping for its health benefits. It’s also discreet and doesn’t have the odor associated with other ways to ingest cannabis.
For autism and epilepsy treatment, many patients utilize cannabis strains that are high in CBD and low in THC. Individuals may need to try different strains to find the one that works the best for you and your medical needs.
At Hemper we carry a full line of legal forms of CBD Products that contain no more than 0.3% THC. Some forms include: