Can Cannabis Help Patients with Autism?

  Currently one in every 68 children has autism spectrum disorder in the United States alone. All over the world, there is approximately one percent of the world population with autism, which is equivalent to more than 700 million people.

Using cannabis as a treatment for autism is not something recent. People have watched it on the news and read it somewhere on the Internet. If you have a loved one with the disorder, you will probably be inspired by the many success stories reported regarding the use of cannabis to treat autism, particularly children.

What is Autism?

Frequently, autism is diagnosed in young children, and until now, there is still no known cure. It is a neurodevelopmental disorder, which is complicated by certain factors, including the environment, parental age, and genetic mutations.

The symptoms can vary, but they typically include lack of abilities to communicate, impaired social skills, compulsive or repetitive behavior that can often lead to self-injury. Parents usually notice that their child has autism due to specific signs, including lack of eye contact, acting out violently, or the inability to speak.

Although there is no cure for autism, efforts to manage the disorder focus on therapies and not drugs. These therapies include coaching for social skills and modifying behavior.

Can Cannabis be the Cure for Autism?

Many individuals with autism often suffer from various medical conditions, such as sleep problems, seizures, and metabolic and gastrointestinal disorders. It is known that autism is quite complex, which is why some people question how cannabis can help in the treatment of this neurodevelopmental disorder. Based on studies, the key seems to be found in the endocannabinoid system of the body, which is our primary regulatory system.

In truth, there is no clinical study that can support whether or not cannabis is the much-awaited treatment for autism. However, there is a growing body of anecdotal evidence that comes from parents and even doctors. All these people have witnessed the positive impacts of cannabis on patients.

Since there is no scientific data that supports the significant effects of marijuana for autism, doctors cannot endorse it as a treatment for the disorder. Favorable ancillary research does exist though, which shows how promising marijuana is for the patients.

Increasingly, parents become quite frustrated because of the lack of options for treatment. For this reason, many of them, especially those whose children have severe autism, have turned to cannabis. Although there is no substantial evidence that cannabis can be used for treatment, there is promising research that supports marijuana as a cure for autism.

For instance, a 2013 study determined indications that specific compounds, such as the CB2 receptor, which is found in cannabis may help those with autism. Another research in the same year discovered that changes in the signaling of endocannabinoid might help in the treatment process.

It is also known that some of the symptoms of autism may be relieved with the help of medical marijuana, including anxiety, panic disorder, aggression, generalized rage, self-injurious behaviour, and tantrums.