Medical Marijuana and Autism Spectrum Disorder
There is no doubt that when talking about marijuana and kids, there is bound to be controversy. But what about when that child is autistic, and the marijuana is medicinal?
More people are turning to medical marijuana to help their ailments than ever before, and research is slowly coming to light that shows all the therapeutic values of marijuana, when it comes to regulatory effects in the human body. With this new research comes new uses for medical marijuana we may not have thought about.
Autism is a neuro-developmental disorder that affects the the brain and disrupts the way a person communicates or interacts with other people, as well as how they behave, and learn.
Some distinguished symptoms of autism may include: impairments in social interaction and communication, restricted interests, repetitive behavior, aggression, tantrums, and atypical or unusual eating habits.
According to a 2007 study of 67 children with autism, 1/3 had a history of “aggression”, 2/3 had “severe tantrums”, and 30% (approx) of children with ASD were affected by “self-injury” at one time or another.
- Autism has NO Known Cure
- Boys are at higher risk for autism than girls. (4.3:1 ratio)
- Risk of autism may be influenced by pregnancy risk factors that may include: mother smoking cigarettes while pregnant, use of psychiatric drugs during pregnancy (drugs for psychiatric conditions), and age of parents at time of conception, with fathers age being a larger factor than mothers age.
Other common conditions in Autistic children: genetic disorders, mental retardation (which would be extremely difficult to assess in autistic children due to their inability to communicate properly in many cases), anxiety disorders, epilepsy, and often sleeping disorders or the inability to get to/stay asleep.
Autism and medical marijuana:
Many of the above conditions associated with autism, have been treated with medical marijuana throughout history. Many strains of medical marijuana have been shown to reduce anxiety, seizures caused by epilepsy, and other strains have been shown to help with relaxation and sleep.
Medical marijuana has many benefits that may come into play when talking about a possible treatment for autism.
Cannabis (marijuana), has been known to have a calming-effect, that would obviously help out when dealing with someone who may be experiencing a fit of rage, or throwing a tantrum (both common in children with autism).
If you have not read it yet, I highly encourage you to read “Sam’s Story”, a story I came across while writing this article, which has become a very important part of my own research into this topic.
Sam’s family began giving Sam medical cannabis, in the form of an oral concentrated hash. The “hash” that Sam was given by his family, was a small ball, about the size of a BB, or smaller. He did not “smoke” marijuana to medicate, except on a few rare occasions, he always was administered his cannabis by way of eating a small ball of hash. They also lived in a medical marijuana state, and went through all the proper channels to obtain their sons medical cannabis.You can find a link to Sam’s Story at the bottom of this article.
Sam’s story is one that is hard to relate to if you have never been around a child with behavioral problems brought on by autism, but Sam’s family searched long and hard for a way to help Sam, and eventually, when all other possibilities failed them, they got desperate and tried medical marijuana as a last-ditch effort to save their family, and their sons life.
You see, Sam’s parents and the rest of Sam’s family, were given their life back by medical marijuana, but only after they were basically at the end of the line, and had tried years worth of costly prescriptions drugs and other treatments that did not work.
Sam’s father will tell you how they went from fearing a need to hospitalize or institutionalize their son, to seeing a 70-80% improvement in Sam’s behavior/condition after beginning his medical marijuana treatment. (and being removed from ALL his other prescriptions)
Some positive effects of medical marijuana on Sam’s autism were:
Behavioral conditions reduced by cannabis: aggression, anxiety, mood swings, crying for no reason, negative self talk, obsessive/compulsive disorders, non compliance, running off and escaping behaviors. (all reduced while treated with medical cannabis)
Conditions significantly improved by medical cannabis: attitude, happiness, express happiness appropriately (Sam used to only laugh when others were crying/hurt/angry), flexibility to changes in routine plans, improved affection towards others, improved concentration and behavior at school, improved overall well-being – less stomach aches, better apatite/eating habits (possibly due to not taking the pharmaceuticals that he was taking prior to beginning medical cannabis).
Mild improvements with medical cannabis: language, reduced self-stimulation (fingers to mouth etc.), reduced hyperactivity, increased ability to learn new information, and improved sociability w/peers.
While searching the internet for information, I found several stories similar to Sam’s Story, but decided to talk about Sam because there was more information available on him and his story than any other I found, and his story also has follow-up information, which shows that his treatment continues to work. If you search google for “cannabis for autism” or look at the videos on youtube, you will see plenty of stories just like Sam’s, I encourage you to read up on them and get as much information on this subject as you can.
One thing is certain – we need to research the effects and uses of cannabis as a medicine diligently, and due to our current federal laws (which do not match up to modern-day science), we are unable to do the research we need to find out just HOW cannabis helps children with autism, but there are plenty of stories out there like Sam’s, which do prove it DOES indeed help.
If you would like more information on treating autism with cannabis, please talk to your current specialist, and if you live in a medical marijuana state, visit a medical marijuana doctor for their opinion on the best option for you and your child. If your current autism specialist is not willing to discuss medical cannabis as an option, then I suggest finding a new specialist that has an open mind when it comes to finding a safe and effective treatment for your child.
– Cannabis Chris
Sam’s Story – http://www.letfreedomgrow.com/cmu/SamsStory.htm
more information on autism can be found here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Autism