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Medical Marijuana Could Help Treat Kids With Autism

Two women sitting on a bench and engaging in conversation.
Two women sitting on a bench and engaging in conversation._SCALED
CREDIT: Gardena Schwartz, USA TODAY

A first-of-its-kind clinical trial is currently taking place which is exploring the potential of medical marijuana to treat young people with autism.

Recent evidence has suggested that CBD, the non-psychoactive component of the marijuana plant, can treat children with a variety of diseases more effectively than seen with other drugs.  This trial, taking place in Israel, will help to confirm or disprove that evidence.

Autism is a disorder that affects about 1 in every 68 children, and it’s a developmental disorder that is definitely on the rise.  Symptoms of the condition include impaired social and communication skills, as well as compulsive behaviors.  The condition is not only severely distressing to the sufferers themselves, but also challenging to the parents themselves.  Many children with autism need constant care, and in some cases, it can be difficult to find a caretaker.

Anecdotal reports of children with autism being treated with cannabis were beginning to pile up.  Evidence already shows that children with epilepsy find great relief through cannabis, and about 30% of children with autism also suffer from epilepsy.

Adi Aran is the pediatric neurologist who is leading the study.  He decided to start the clinical trial after seeing 70 of his own autistic patients respond positively to cannabis treatment.  The study uses CBD oil, which ensures that the children will not be psycho-actively affected (get high) from THC.

While there are still looming concerns about treating children with severe, debilitating conditions like autism or epilepsy, the current drugs on the market to use are likely even more dangerous.  For families with autistic children, cannabis may be their latest, greatest hope for an effective, relatively safe treatment.”

Mac Jackman