Is Autism the Step-Child in the Medical Marijuana World?
With nearly 2 million people suffering from one or other form of autism, it is mind-boggling that it is not included on the list of diseases treatable with Cannabis. Up until now, there are no empirical studies showing any results on treating Autism with cannabis. This year, 2017, there is a panel discussion scheduled in Michigan to discuss the treatment of autistic children with medicinal marijuana.
Evidence supporting medical marijuana as a viable treatment for autism is piling up day-by-day. But the hands of medical doctors are still bound because of lack of studies done on the effect of cannabis on autism.
What is autism? It is a brain development disorder that begins to appear in young children and impacts mostly communication and social skills. Autism is not a specific disease but rather a vast spectrum of conditions and often gets called Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Interesting enough though, some forms of Autism are a result of a lack of endocannabinoids. Cannabis, with the phyto-cannabinoids like THC and CBD could help to balance the endocannabinoids system and therefor bring relieve to symptoms of those suffering from Autism.
Lack of proven data that Cannabis can treat autism or symptoms there of forced parents with suffering kids to experiment when everything they have tried just did not bring relieve. Because of the anecdotal evidence where it is seen that Cannabis makes Autistic children healthier and happier, some doctors are willing to listen.
One researcher in Puerto Rico, a clinical psychologist, has started to introduce CBD OIL as a treatment for kids suffering from Autism. The results are very positive and in one such case, a child was given a twice a day spray of Hemp oil. This child could not speak at all, but after 3 weeks the child started to develop significant language abilities. From being very frustrated in not being able to communicate and as a result ended up injuring himself, he laughs and enjoys life now.
More success stories – In another case, a little boy Noah who could not communicate and was hyperactive, compulsive and obsessive, was treated with a 1:3 CBD/THC ratio. It is found that autism could be better treated with a higher THC ratio as THC redirects the neurons in a more manageable way for Autism. When he was introduced to a higher THC ratio in addition to inactivated THC-oil, his life changed. He started to smile, calm down, cry, communicate and listen. In 6 months his mentally development changed from that of an 18 month old to that of a 30 month old. Noah could be a little boy again.
A mom from Chicago, Marie Myung-Ok Lee, experimented with cannabis infused edibles in the form of cookies to treat her 9 year old autistic son. He had violent rages and would scream for hours on end and bang his head. He threw tantrums and would scratch and hit himself or others. When she got the cookies to perfection, she gave him one and he calmed down. His violent outbreaks became less frequent and he even learned to ride his bike, something that was said never to happen. He was diagnosed with severe autism and gut disease that left him in pain most of the day when he was still very young. All kinds of treatments were tried and by the age of 5 he was put in a special school and he was on a hypoallergenic diet. But a couple of years later all medication stopped working and his violent outbursts increased dramatically.
The school insisted that he should seek treatment and Marie found only one treatment for Autism at that time. The results were not favorable though and out of desperation she stumbled on an article of Cannabis being used to relief pain and help with slowing down short-term memory formation. After attending a medical-marijuana patient group and listening to how cannabis helped them in many ways, she decided to give it a try. After doing research with the help of an expert on what strain would be best for her son, they settled on White Russian and finally changed from cookies to an oil tincture.
The ongoing struggle is to find a licensed provider in time as it is not as easy as just walking into a pharmacy to find the medication. It makes it also difficult as medical usage of cannabis is approved, but growing it is not always legal in all states.
Until the whole dilemma with legalization is settled, the struggle will continue, even if all the proof in the world is there that the results are positive and that Autism can effectively be treated with cannabis.