Autism and Cannabis

Posted on February 7th, 2021 to Adults

Autism comprises social, communicative, and behavioral difficulties that challenge the wellbeing of both the sufferers and loved ones. 

Over the last couple of years, the rate of people willing to use cannabis as a potential treatment for autism has increased. However, the lack of sufficient medical research to prove the ability of cannabis for autism has made many doctors skeptical and slow to prescribe cannabis to minors.

Most people now prefer cannabis as an alternate treatment for autism. But is cannabis really an effective treatment for autistic patients? Let’s find out in this article.

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What is autism?

Autism refers to difficulties in communicating, socializing, and repetitive behavior.

Despite certain children reaching usual developmental milestones “on time”, parents usually realize the “unusual behavior” manifested by children during early childhood (around 2 years of age).

No one knows the exact origin of autism, but most believe that it has to do with both environmental and genetic factors.

A small amount of the world’s populace suffers from a neurodevelopmental disorder known as Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Cannabis treatment is tipped to improve certain conditions related to autism. Cannabis may help reduce autism in children.

How Could Cannabis Work for autism?

The endocannabinoid system controls different bodily processes like pain, hunger, anxiety, and neuronal excitability. The primary cannabinoids like CBD can reduce epileptic seizures by interacting with the endocannabinoid receptors in the body. Cannabis also helps ASD sufferers by balancing their ECS and support their attentional spectrum.

Research on using cannabis and autism

According to One Israeli study, cannabis can effectively reduce epileptic seizures and behavioral issues in autistic children.

This is significant because most autistic children also suffer from seizure disorders.

According to a 2013 study, endocannabinoid receptors such as the CB2 receptor can potentially manage autism. Tetrahydrocannabinol or THC, which is one of the primary cannabinoids can bind to CB2 receptors.

A study conducted on mice showed a relationship between changes in the endocannabinoid system and alterations on the X chromosome, which is linked with autism development.

The most recent study from 2017 also links the endocannabinoid system to manage neuroinflammation, which is common in autistic children.

Although there need for more studies on cannabis and autism, the current studies are already proving that cannabis can help many neurological conditions such as epilepsy and Tourette syndrome. Most children with autism also suffer from epilepsy, and it’s only recently that scientists have begun to realize the neurodevelopmental relationship between the two.

Bottom line

The current lack of studies means most local physicians won’t recommend cannabis for individuals with behavior disorders. However, more studies are ongoing as the medical cannabis policies continuously evolve.

Individuals considering cannabis for their kids should preferably talk to their doctors and pediatricians about how to use cannabis and the best strains to use. Autism is a spectrum, and the manifestations vary from one child to another. What works for your child may not work for others. Cannabis may help some symptoms of ASD; it might not help for other symptoms.

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