As research into the various benefits of using cannabis continues, attention has turned to certain medicinal cannabis strains in relation to the treatment of autism. More and more, parents of children who suffer from the most severe forms of autism are turning to more unconventional treatments, such as cannabis, in the hope it can improve their child’s quality of life. People are doing this as there has been a lot of anecdotal evidence which suggests that using cannabis for epilepsy has been successful for many. Despite these anecdotal success stories, clinical research into the link between cannabis and autism, unfortunately, remains non-existent.
But there have been two studies which have raised hopes. The first study found indications that certain compounds which interacted with the CB2 receptor may be useful in controlling autism. A second study identified that changes made to endocannabinoid signaling can help with autism. So with these studies raising hopes, why are there no clinical studies taking place?
Anecdotal evidence has suggested that medicinal marijuana is able to help autism patients who suffer from:
- Aggressive tendencies
- Extreme panic
Dr. Daniele Piomelli, a leading researcher into autism’s link with cannabis, identified that certain chemicals within marijuana may in fact aid in limiting behavioral issues within autistic children. The researcher has also been involved in other ground-breaking studies including identifying that certain cannabinoids could be used to treat autism by regulating what he called “social reward”.
As we know, science is driven by cold hard facts. Because of this, many doctors are unwilling to allow their patients to use cannabis in the treatment of autism. This is especially true when many parents who may want to use cannabis as a treatment option may not be able to provide proper dosing or choose the wrong strain, which may result in serious consequences.
Dr. Piomelli stated “It is all about the level of doses that a person provides. Low doses can be therapeutic and high doses can be spell bad news. And because cannabis is a plant, this adds another potential risk. With drugs, there may only be one or two active compounds, but in cannabis there are hundreds, and we don’t know how each of these active compounds will affect the patient. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but we need more research and ultimately clinical trials into this area. This can be a good thing or a bad thing.
While we have seen success in the treatment of epilepsy with cannabis, we need to try and strive towards trying to replicate the same success with using cannabis for autism. This can only be achieved with hard work and funding. It is certainly worth researching as the potential benefits could be enormous and life-changing for a large number of autism sufferers, throughout the world.
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