Could medical marijuana help children with autism? Say that sentence a decade ago, and you’d receive, at best, quizzical looks. Marijuana, though, has come a long way in the 21st century in terms of its public image. No longer seen as the ‘zombie’ of the drug industry, the old stereotypes that used to litter cannabis culture are dying out.
The world no longer views all people who consume cannabis as layabouts with a terminal lack of ambition. Today, they see many successful people be open about their participation in using cannabis.
And it now looks like that shifting perception could see cannabis used for what it was always supposed to: medical assistance. Cannabis has long had a long-term connection to medical improvement when used in the correct manner.
So long as tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is removed from the plant, it does not contain any of the psychoactive components. In effect, it cannot get you ‘high’ if there is no THC within the plant.
Therefore, many people are turning to using cannabis that is mostly cannabidiol (CBD), which is the part that is used to help give people medical comfort. Talk has recently turned to giving children who have autism the chance to use this product to help soothe body, spirit, and mind.
However, according to lead researcher Dr. Adi Aran, people shouldn’t be buying pot for their children just yet: more research is needed. The Shaare Zedak Medical Centre in Jerusalem is looking closer at this, and according to Dr. Aran more time is needed.
Dr. Aran noted: “Thousands of parents already are treating their kids with cannabis based on rumors of this study,”
“I don’t want it to be even more.”
A new form of helping those with autism?
The study took in 150 children with autism, splitting them up into three groups. One was given was given a placebo drug. Another was given a whole-plant extract of marijuana. And the other received a THC/CBD mix, with a 20-to-1 ratio for CBD to THC.
THC is the part that people are concerned about – that it could turn their kids into ‘stoners’ who get intoxicated. CBD, though, is different. It does not produce any intoxication, but it does ‘speak’ to our cannabinoid receptors.
CBD has been used for treating numerous medical conditions for some time and is growing in usage for not just physical ailments but also behavioral issues such as social-anxiety problems. It could be useful for combatting autism, but more work is needed to verify this.
The THC was included as part of research as Dr. Arran believes that it could be a useful part of helping those with autism before more socially comfortable; an important part of the process. The results so far are interesting.
Across the test, there was an improvement of 49% and 53% for the children based on two major autism symptom measures. Those on placebo showed around 32% and 44% improvement.
However, those with cannabis in their system were also suffering from decreased appetite and a sense of sleepiness. So, for now, it’s about simply biding time and waiting to see what more information about this comes out. It could be a solution, but nothing is concrete – not yet.