Can Cannabis Treat Autism?

Photo Credit: Whaxy

Photo Credit: Whaxy

One of the difficulties when it comes to treating autism is that autism is not a specific disease, but rather a variety of diseases under the broad umbrella Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). What all of the conditions have in common, however, is that it is a brain development disorder that effects children at a young age and impacts their communication and social skills. The conditions often cause patients to misinterpret actions, which can make them become hostile and aggressive due to this misunderstanding. Some of the symptoms associated with ASD conditions include hyperactivity, attention disorders, seizures, panic disorders, anxiety, tantrums, and self-injury, of which many believe cannabis may be able to relieve.

Studies suggest one cause of autism is endocannabinoid deficiency in the human body. According to researchers at Stanford University, autism could be the result of a gene mutation that blocks the body's production of endocannabinoids and interferes with cannabinoid communication with the brain. The Autism Research Institute says pharmaceutical drugs are insufficient when treating autism, often delivering undesirable side effects, but that cannabis is effective in treating the symptoms associated with different forms of autism. "Some of the symptoms medical marijuana has ameliorated include: Anxiety - even sever anxiety- aggression, panic disorder, generalized rage, tantrums, property destuction, and self-injurious behavior." 

Quite a significant amount of parental testimonies exist in support of cannabis as a treatment method for targeting the symptoms of autism, but until cannabis is rescheduled, it will be difficult to conduct extensive clinical trials on its use. It is important to remember that efficacy can vary due to the varying degrees of ASD conditions. For more information on the use of medical marijuana for autism, and for a detailed look at specific success stories, read Whaxy's analysis here