The use of Cannabis and CBD in the treatment of several conditions has risen over the years. People are adopting it as a therapeutic agent, helpful in relieving numerous diseases and symptoms. The vast application of Cannabis or Marijuana has opened the doors of discussion about its use in autism.
People with autism do not understand and respond to situations the same way as non-autistic individuals. Their brains develop differently, giving them a different perspective about how they respond to their environment. Thus, they may often feel agitated or overstimulated by their environment.
The lead researcher Dr. Adi Aran, director of the pediatric neurology unit at Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem, mentions, “Thousands of parents already are treating their kids with cannabis-based on rumors of the study. I don’t want it to be even more.”
Parents of autistic kids want to do their best to make them feel better. Yet, doctors suggest that you must only rely on vetted studies with a concrete verdict about CBD. Researches study the components of Cannabis under electron or high magnification digital microscopes, followed by group surveys. It helps them understand the effect of components like CBD and THC on the nervous health.
Is Cannabis Helpful in Autism Treatments?
Cannabis is widely used for pain and behavior-related symptoms. Research shows that medical Marijuana can help with muscle spasms, nausea, pain, and secondary sleep disturbances in adults.
A study from 2019 reviewed Cannabis as an ASD treatment and inferred a lack of evidence regarding the subject. However, another review from 2021 says that cannabinoids (CBD) in Cannabis could help relieve Autism symptoms.
While no large-scale clinical trials have proved the significance of CBD in ASD, one showed a reduction in aggressive behavior in autistic children.
The study constituted 53 autistic children with an average age of 11 years. Each child received oral CBD oil for 66 days during the study. Results showed improvement in rage in 70% of the children. Similar results were seen for hyperactivity and sleep problems.
What are the Benefits of Cannabis in Autism?
Further studies depict the role of Cannabis in other symptoms of autism in adults and children. While Cannabis may not treat autism entirely, it can help with a range of ASD-induced symptoms like:
Cannabis or Marijuana has also improved cognitive and sensory behavior in autistic individuals. They have been observed to socially interact and communicate better. Some of the results of the study include:
- Social interaction
How does Cannabis work?
Cannabis influences the brain’s areas that impact thinking, memory, concentration, pleasure, movement, coordination, etc. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), one of the 540 chemical components of Cannabis sativa, binds to the cannabinoid receptors on neurons. The effects of Cannabis may range from high productivity or drowsiness, depending on how it stimulates the receptors. It may affect mood, memory, and cognition. Moreover, long-term use of Marijuana also impacts cognitive abilities.
Risks of Cannabis in Autism
The use of Cannabis in treating autism also comes with a few risks like restlessness, drowsiness, and sleep disturbances. A study regarding the effects of Cannabis on individuals found adverse effects such as dizziness and drowsiness in a significant fraction of people.
Is Medical Marijuana Legal?
Consumption of stimulating natural drugs such as Weed and Cannabis has always been a tough call to conclude. Many people claim that they use them for medical purposes. Yet, without proper knowledge of dose and intake, the intake of Marijuana for the treatment of any condition may affect cognition and memory.
The possession and consumption of Cannabis for recreational purposes are illegal in the USA. However, the use of Cannabis for medical purposes is legal in 37 states in America. It is also prescribed for treating autism by physicians in 14 states.
Cannabis is considered a safe and tolerable option for ASD symptoms.
The Bottom Line
Cannabis has become popular for treating ADS symptoms in children and adults. It has been shown to help minimize aggression, irritability, hyperactivity, and anxiety in autistic individuals. Other uses of Cannabis include improved cognitive and interactive social abilities besides better attention spans. It is legal in 14 states of America to use medical Marijuana for ASD. However, many states still do not authorize the use of Cannabis to treat autism. Make sure to not self-medicate and always consult your doctor to choose the best course of treatment.