How Does Medical Marijuana Help With and Treat Autism/Aspergers?

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Autism Spectrum Disorder is a common condition which has affected an estimated 700 million people the world over. Autism is simply a lifetime development disability that goes a long way to affect how individuals communicate, relate with people and even how they experience the world. In fact, autism is a complex neurobehavioral condition that includes impairment in social interaction as well as impaired developmental language and communication skills, coupled with rigid, repetitive behaviors. Currently in the United States of America, 1 in every 68 children born will be diagnosed with autism at a certain point.

Aspergers is a similar condition to autism, but generally, people with Asperger symptoms are average or above average when it comes to intelligence, unlike autistic people. Unlike autism, Asperger sufferers have no problems with communication, but they rather have the same social problems and limited scope of interest like children with autism. The severity of Autism Spectrum Disorder or Aspergers often vary from person to person and may range from a handicap that limits a normal life to a severe devastating disability that could require constitutional care. Generally, children who have autism have challenges and difficulties in communicating both verbally and nonverbally as well as understanding how other people think or perceive them.

There is no cure for autism, but there are treatments that focus on behavioral management by making good use of modalities such as anger management, family and behavior therapy as well as the sensory processing and animal assisted therapy. It should also be noted that there is also no pharmaceutical medications that specifically targets the three core characteristics of autism, namely, difficulty in communication, social challenges as well as repetitive and self-injurious behaviors. However, in the United States, the Food and Drug Administration (DFA) had approved two drugs (antipsychotics risperidone and aripiprazole) that are reported to help in alleviating autism related irritability. These drugs have been reported to have side effects such as seizures, gastrointestinal disorders, and sleep disorders as well as mood swings.

According to an article that was published in Autism Research Review International, medical marijuana was reported to be the most fairly benign when compared to other drugs that are used in alleviating the symptoms associated with autism.

In 2018 the United Sates approved the use of a compound made with marijuana in the treatment of epilepsy. Even though the compound Epidiolex, was created to treat epilepsy and not autism, it is still considered a good news for researchers on autism. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved this drug primarily to alleviate two syndromes that are associated with epilepsy. These syndromes are Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome.

However, enough research has not been done on medical marijuana and autism or Aspergers. Most of the first trials on marijuana derivatives to treat autism or related conditions are still in their early stage. Some of the trial studies are focused on testing the cannabinoids cannabidiol (CBD) and cannabidivarin (CBD-V).

According to a 2013 study from Stanford University, mice with specific and rare gene mutation linked to autism showed altered endocannabinoid signaling in the central nervous system. This data is one of the evidences that shows that medical marijuana could be used as an alternative treatment of autism.

Results from another study that was published through more mainstream media outlets like the Huffington Post and Fox News also showed alterations in endocannabinoid signaling pathways. This data also serves as evidence for the promising role of cannabis as treatment of autism. However, considering the current scarcity of data on the effectiveness of cannabis in the treatment of autism, the researchers warned that it could be potentially and erroneously harmful to conclude that cannabis should be used as a treatment for autism.

It is reported that one of the trials that started in 2017 focuses on 100 children with autism and will test the effects of cannabinoids (CBD) on aggression as well as on social behaviors and compulsion. Another ongoing study is investigating the effect of CBD on aggression in 30 autistic children.

Sources:

Wed MD
Spectrum
Cannabis.net

Marijuana strains reported to help with Autism or Aspergers:

LA Confidential
Green Crack
Blue Dream
Hindu Kush
Charlotte’s Web

How To Get Medical Marijuana

If you are a resident of a legal state interested in trying medical marijuana to treat Autism or Aspergers or other medical conditions, you will first need to consult with a certified doctor in order to get a medical marijuana card. To get started, simply fill out the MMJ patient registration form, press submit and a physician or clinic representative will contact you as available.