Cannabis and autism, explained
by Peter Hess / 7 September 2020
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Over the past decade, autistic people and their families have increasingly experimented with medical marijuana and products derived from it. Many hope these compounds will alleviate a range of autism-related traits and problems. But scientists are still in the early stages of rigorous research into marijuana’s safety and effectiveness, which means that people who pursue it as treatment must rely mostly on anecdotal information from friends and message boards for guidance.
Here we explain what researchers know about the safety and effectiveness of cannabis for autism and related conditions.
What is medical marijuana?
Medical marijuana generally refers to any product derived from cannabis plants — including dried flowers, resins and oils — that has been recommended by a doctor. It may be consumed directly or infused into an array of foods, lozenges and candies. These products have become popular among autistic people and their families for treating a broad swath of conditions, including insomnia, epilepsy and chronic pain.
Depending on the strain of the plant and the processing methods used, these products contain varying levels of active ingredients, including tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) — responsible for the ‘high’ associated with marijuana — and cannabidiol (CBD), which is minimally psychoactive. Much of the research on medical applications focuses on CBD. There are also more than 500 other compounds in marijuana that may affect people’s behavior and cognition 1 .
Is medical marijuana legal?
Yes and no. Federal law in the United States classifies marijuana and its derivatives as ‘Schedule 1’ drugs, meaning that they have no accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse. Schedule 1 drugs are illegal, and research on them requires labs to follow strict security protocols and adhere to regular facility inspections.
In 33 states, along with the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, however, people can legally buy and use medical cannabis for certain approved conditions, such as seizures and sleep problems, although the list of qualifying conditions varies by state. These same states, plus 13 others, also allow CBD oil. Fourteen states plus Puerto Rico have approved medical marijuana for autism, and some additional states may allow it for autistic people at a doctor’s discretion.
Under U.S. federal law, CBD products manufactured from industrial hemp are legal as long as they contain no more than 0.3 percent THC. And in some states, CBD oil is permitted to contain up to 5 percent THC.
In many states where medical marijuana is legal, licensed dispensaries sell products that have been tested by accredited laboratories to verify the presence of active ingredients and the absence of contaminants. Some states permit individuals or their licensed caregivers to grow their own cannabis plants for personal use. Most states in the U.S. require people who use medical marijuana to register and get a special identification card.
In many European countries, as well as in Australia, Canada, Israel and Jamaica, medical cannabis is legal, with specific laws varying from country to country.
Are there any cannabis-derived drugs approved to treat autism or related conditions?
To date, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved only one cannabis-derived drug: Epidiolex. It is a liquid cannabis extract containing purified CBD that can decrease seizures in people with Dravet syndrome or Lennox-Gastaut syndrome — severe forms of epilepsy that are sometimes accompanied by autism — and in those with tuberous sclerosis complex. It is available only by prescription, and only for these three conditions.
GW Pharmaceuticals, the company that makes Epidiolex, is conducting a trial of the drug for Rett syndrome, a neurodevelopmental condition related to autism. The Rett syndrome trial is not focused on alleviating seizures, but on improving cognitive and behavioral problems. The company is also recruiting autistic children and teenagers for a phase 2 trial of cannabidivarin, another component of cannabis. That trial will examine cannabidivarin’s effect on a range of traits in autistic children, including repetitive behaviors, and on quality of life.
How might cannabis help autistic people?
Epidiolex’s success has spurred many parents to try marijuana and cannabis extracts for seizures, behavioral issues and other autism-related traits in their children, but experts warn that these drugs remain largely untested for such purposes. Some studies on cannabinoids have shown promising results in animal models and in early-stage clinical trials, but this research does not yet support their widespread use.
Cannabis’ active ingredients are thought to exert their effects by binding to proteins called cannabinoid receptors in the brain: THC activates the CB1 and CB2 receptors, whereas CBD seems to block them 2 .
Both types of cannabinoid receptors are located in neurons in the brain and throughout the body. The brain contains more CB1 than CB2 receptors, and the activation of each receptor type affects a range of ion channels and proteins involved in cell signaling 3 . The ultimate effects of cannabinoid receptor activation depend on which body system they belong to. For instance, the activation of CB1 receptors in the brain can either increase or decrease neuron excitability, depending on which kind of neuron a cannabinoid binds to; activation of CB2 receptors in the digestive system can decrease inflammation 4,5 .
Blocking the CB1 receptor can relieve seizures and memory issues in a mouse model of fragile X syndrome, a condition related to autism, according to a 2013 study in Nature Medicine 6 . A 2018 clinical trial of a synthetic CBD drug by the drug maker Zynerba showed significant improvements in anxiety and other behavioral traits in people with fragile X. Cannabinoid receptor activation has also been shown to lead to memory improvements in fragile X mice 7 .
Research has also demonstrated that CBD alleviates seizures in children with CDKL5 deficiency disorder, an autism-linked condition that is characterized by seizures and developmental delay. CBD also lessens seizures and improves learning and sociability in a mouse model of CDKL5 deficiency disorder.
Complicating the picture, CBD alone may not be sufficient for cannabis’ therapeutic effects. A 20-to-1 ratio of CBD to THC relieves aggressive outbursts in autistic children, a 2018 study suggests 8 . This same ratio of compounds significantly improved quality of life for some children and teenagers with autism in a 2019 study 9 . Specifically, researchers observed significantly fewer seizures, tics, depression, restlessness and outbursts. Most participants reported improvements, and about 25 percent of participants experienced side effects such as restlessness.
Cannabis may have effects that go beyond the cannabinoid receptors, too. Mice that ingested CBD over extended periods of time displayed changes to DNA methylation in sections of the genome associated with autism, a 2020 study showed 10 . The researchers suggested that epigenetic changes may be at least partly responsible for CBD’s behavioral effects, though they did not directly examine the mice’s behavior.
Is cannabis safe?
It’s unclear. Large doses are usually not fatal, but taking it regularly may have long-term effects.
Based on the clinical trials of Epidiolex, the FDA warns that the drug could cause elevated liver enzymes, which can be a sign of liver damage. This is especially likely in people who take Epidiolex and the epilepsy drug valproate at the same time.
CBD is considered minimally psychoactive, but many preparations of it contain undisclosed amounts of THC, which may lead to inadvertent intoxication and impairment.
Many studies have shown that cannabis treatment carries only minor side effects such as sedation or restlessness, but these studies have not looked at long-term side effects. Researchers still don’t have a solid grasp on how the active ingredients in marijuana actually affect the brain, nor do they know how these compounds might impact a child or teenager’s developing brain or interact with other medications.
Some research has shown that recreational marijuana use beginning in one’s teenage years can have negative long-term effects on cognition 11 . But experts note that the dosages used for medical purposes are often quite lower than those used in a recreational context.
Are some cannabis products safer or more effective than others?
Many people who self-administer cannabinoids for epilepsy or other conditions cultivate it at home. Others purchase it directly from companies rather than buying it at state-licensed dispensaries, and research has shown that these products are not created equal.
The actual potency of CBD products varies widely from their advertised concentrations, according to a 2017 study in JAMA, and some products contain more than the legal limit of THC — potentially enough to cause intoxication, especially in children 12 . Less than one-third of the products tested contained within 10 percent of the advertised CBD concentration, and THC was detected in about 21 percent of samples.
In a presentation at the 2020 meeting of the American Academy of Neurology, researchers concluded that ‘artisanal’ CBD products available for purchase online and in health-food stores are not as effective at controlling seizures as pharmaceutical-grade CBD.
Autistic people and their families are increasingly experimenting with marijuana to try to ease problems such as insomnia, epilepsy and chronic pain — and traits of autism. But there is little evidence for its safety or effectiveness.
Best Cannabis Strains for Autism — Here’s What the Research Says
Increasing numbers of people have Autism, a neurological disease. Moreover, those concerned undergo problems with social communication and presentation. Cannabis could be a brand-new treatment for this disease. Explore the best cannabis strains for autism symptoms. Continue reading this article to know where and how medical marijuana is used to treat the patients of Autism.
Now, if you ask me which is the best cannabis strains for autism then I’ll say its, “ Green Crack ” from ILGM Seed Bank, Visit official website now!
Many factors make a marijuana strain ideal for treating Autism. But even before getting to the strain, many critical factors come to mind when considering marijuana treatment for Autism .
This article highlights most of the medical marijuana treatment issues for Autism and concludes with a discussion on the best strains to turn to when Autism seems to get the better of your child.
What is Autism Spectrum Disorder?
Autism (or Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD)) is a complex developmental disorder that influences the brain. There are many forms of the disease, where the person concerned shows problems in the following domains:
- interaction with other people
- verbal and non-verbal conversation
Monotonous and stereotypical behavioral patterns, interests, and actions are also typical of the disease. Asperger’s syndrome is a sort of Autism where cognitive growth or language is in no way damaged. Autism is much more traditional than many people believe. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 1 in 160 children deals with Autism, whereas other references suggest significantly higher numbers.
However, the tense upsurge in autism diagnoses globally is undeniable. People think that both hereditary and environmental circumstances are aiding the progress of Autism, but a complete explanatory guide is yet to come.
Autism relates to the impairment in neural development. The signs will vary depending on the characteristics of the child. For instance, children with Asperger’s syndrome have notable social interaction challenges. In extreme circumstances, the troubled child cannot perform most activities on their own.
In moderate cases, one can rarely tell the difference unless taught to identify the exact symptoms of Autism.
Signs of autisms include having repetitious behavior, being non-verbal or having inadequate communication skills, and having undermined social skills, among others. These marks usually become visible before three years of age.
Can marijuana help people with Autism?
While people declare cannabis assists keep symptoms in check, there are only a few researches regarding cannabis and Autism. The studies are less because specialists are not ready to give marijuana to children without prior scientific data that confirms it works.
Due to its less prohibitive cannabis regulations, Israel became one of the world leaders in marijuana research since its legalization of therapeutic cannabis in the early 1990s.
How Ethical is it to Treat Children with Medical Marijuana?
There has been debate on the usefulness of marijuana medication on children. In 2015, the Canadian Pediatric Society published a statement stating that there was incomplete data on the effectiveness or safety of marijuana use in children.
However, since the FDA authorized Epidiolex (a cannabis-based drug), for the medicine of intractable childhood illnesses, the medical organization has become less skeptical.
The subject of ethicality is not a candid one. Cannabis with high CBD and low THC is safe and, consequently, ethical to use for children’s treatment. However, high THC strains are entertained with uncertainty; long term consequences of THC on the developing brain are uncertain.
Accordingly, high CBD/low THC strains are favored when treating Autism in children, except the case is moderate. The following states have introduced Autism on their list of qualifying requirements for the use of medical marijuana.
What is MAMMA? ( #cannabis4autism )
More than 3 million people in the USA have Autism, but a few have reliable, licensed, or affordable medical marijuana access. Mothers Advocating Medical Marijuana for Autism (or MAMMA ) is a popular education group whose principal aim is to educate caregivers, parents, and doctors about the usefulness of medical marijuana for Autism and empower them to improve the laws within their province. You can read MAMMA’s mission statement to understand more about the organization. Moreover, you can also watch their video to perceive more information on this fantastic group.
Medical marijuana is allowed for Autism in the following US states:
- The Territory of Puerto Rico
- Rhode Island
- Washington DC
- New Mexico
Each state establishes its laws for the usage of medical marijuana within its control. Pennsylvania was the first state to legalize marijuana for the treatment of childhood autism. To get medical cannabis for Autism, you’ll require a prescription from a qualified doctor to acquire a medical marijuana card.
Confirmed! Marijuana alleviates the signs of Autism — Israeli Study
As we have discussed above, many sufferers support the usefulness of cannabis for nursing ASD symptoms. What is crucial to note here, though, is that these are particular conclusions that were not conducted by strict practical tests that determine that no other parts are liable for the transpired effect.
These conclusions are inadequate for most physicians to prescribe medicinal marijuana products comprising THC to children, particularly when you acknowledge that there are also matters of THC’s influence on brain development .
What’s more, various indications of Autism react very uniquely to THC treatment, and further study is needed to learn more accurately what these indications could resemble.
A 2019 Israeli study builds hope. Academics at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) and Soroka University Medical Center confirm that cannabis embodies a safe, effective, and well-tolerated form of treating ASD symptoms .
We anticipate that this will lead the direction for future medical marijuana research. Double-blind, placebo-controlled researches are now expressly important, as demanded by one of the doctors of the BGU-Soroka Clinical Cannabis Research Institute.
Can CBD Oil Benefit in Treating Autism?
Anecdotal data has revealed that CBD can be utilized to reduce symptoms of Autism , such as aggression. CBD holds calming and anti-anxiety qualities. A few pieces of research reviewing the connection between marijuana and Autism have revealed that CBD can overcome aggression-related to Autism.
Many people with ASD frequently encounter anger, hyperactivity, concentration issues, and stress. And, many of these individuals have difficulty in having a restful sleep.
Regular and precise CBD treatment can assist with all of these difficulties by easing the user, assisting in preventing irritation, helping with focus and concentration problems, and helping them to relax better at nighttime .
Because we assume CBD could greatly assist some people with Autism, we have hand-picked the best products from the following ten CBD vendors that we believe will be the most reliable.
The 10 Best CBD Oil Vendors to Buy CBD Products:
- Farmacy Bliss
- Calm by Wellness
- NuLeaf Naturals
- The Brothers Apothecary
- Plus CBD
Best ways to consume cannabis
Utilizing medical marijuana for Autism doesn’t certainly mean that you want to light up a joint. As we know, smoking is not the only alternative to get cannabinoids into your body. Here are some alternatives:
- CBD oils: It can be beneficial in the form of drops and sprays .
- Edibles: When eating cannabis-infused food, it takes much longer to experience the effects opposed to smoking (when you can feel the high spontaneously), primarily if you picked a THC strain. The digestion process needs some time, but the effects will last longer.
- Vaping: Depending on the cannabis strain you select, vaping is one of the less toxic methods to achieve that ‘high’ feeling. You can inhale the vapor instead of smoke if you use vapes. It’s particularly suitable for newcomers, too.
Best Cannabis Strains for Autism
A few strains might work for Autism. However, some set apart as the best marijuana strains that can give maximum relaxation for the signs of Autism. Picking the best strain for any kind of medical ailment is never an effortless job.
Since we are all complex with individual requirements, some cannabis strains might not work on you. So, take time and have patience, and stay determined in obtaining the best strain for your demands.
#1 – “Green Crack” from ILGM Seed Bank
Green Crack is a pure Sativa cannabis strain. Its bud has a sweet fruity, citrus, and tropical flavor. Besides, it has fixed nugs with light orange fibers. This pure Sativa strain is subtle and effective.
Moreover, Green Crack is a complete energy booster that will make you do some more work, or produce enough energy to accomplish a tedious task, finish your assignment, or clean your garage. Green Crack marijuana is most suitable to consume in daytime use.
Green Crack marijuana strain produces an energetic and euphoric cerebral buzz. It increases focus, intensifies creativity, and keeps you progressing all day long—a perfect power booster. In terms of health benefits, it can alleviate depression, stress, and stimulates appetite.
#2 – “Blue Dream” from ILGM Seed Bank
Blue Dream is a Sativa dominant hybrid cannabis strain. The growers of this strain remain unknown. Blue Dream presents the body leisure effect of Indica and uplifts cerebral happiness from Sativa. Due to a high THC level of up to 21 percent, this marijuana gives long-lasting relief without complicated sedation.
Interestingly, it is proper for seasoned and first-time users, as the strain has a pleasant onset and lengthened pain relief properties. Furthermore, Blue Dream is a perfect strain to use in the evening time. In terms of its medical benefits, It alleviates worry, stress, and pain.
#3 – “Charlotte’s Web” from Pacific Seed Bank
Charlotte’s Web is a 60/40 Indica dominant hybrid cannabis strain. The weed got its title after Charlotte Figi, a young Colorado girl who suffered from severe epileptic seizures. Her narrative promoted driving medical marijuana legalization in many states. Charlotte’s Web cannabis is known for its extreme therapeutic potency due to 17% CBD and 1% THC level.
The buds have a mixed smell of earth, pine, and flowers. Moreover, Charlotte’s Web marijuana strain is beneficial in making cannabis oil. Furthermore, this strain produces soft and calming body buzz. It can control pain and nausea. At last, it also provides excellent support to people having seizures and to those who undergo the treatment of epilepsy.
#4 – “Remedy” from Farmer’s Lab Seed Bank
Remedy cannabis strain is a 75/25 indica with a high CBD content of 18% and a low THC level of 1%, making this a desirable medicinal strain. It has a flowery forest smell with delicious notes of sour lemon. Nugs have purple twinges and occasional, but intense orange hairs with resin drop you can see. The remedy can treat stress or anxiety, pain, inflammation, seizures, and muscle tremors or spasms. This strain is excellent for either daytime or evening usage, given its high CBD content.
Remedy cannabis strain’s high is a gentle one, due to its composition. You’ll feel mildly relaxed and completely relieved in body and mind. Sleepiness and paranoia won’t occur, you’ll just be resting in a swaying hammock of peace.
#5 – “Hindu Kush” from ILGM Seed Bank
Hindu Kush cannabis strain is a pure Indica. This weed grows mainly on foothills of the Hindu Kush mountain range that stretches 500 miles between Pakistan and Afghanistan, historically used primarily for hashish production. Hindu Kush marijuana strain is highly potent, produces dark green plants with broad Indica leaves. Moreover, the buds are dense and highly resinous. The Hindu Kush is suitable for evening and nighttime medicinal and recreational use.
Hindu Kush marijuana strain induces cerebral euphoria, followed by full mind-body relaxation. Uplifts mood, energizes the mind, prompts giggles. At higher dose leads to complete sedation and sleep. Relieves stress, controls pain, stimulates appetite.
Research on cannabis and CBD for Autism is still in its early stages. So far, however, evidence shows excellent promise. Further studies are already in development, and these should help confirm whether cannabis and CBD can be beneficial for Autism and its associated symptoms. Moreover, you may choose any of the above-given best cannabis strains for Autism.
That said, it’s important to remember that there is little data on the long-term effects of cannabis and CBD on children with Autism. Current research suggests that CBD may improve behavior, communication, and anxiety with a low risk of adverse effects, but much more research is needed.
If you have a child with ASD and would like to try cannabis or CBD, it is essential to talk to your doctor first. They should be able to advise you on the most appropriate substance and dosage for your child and discuss how to incorporate a cannabis-based therapy into your daily routine safely. You can also visit Mothers Advocating Medical Marijuana for Autism (MAMMA) for more information on the usage of medical marijuana in children.
This verdict brings us to the end of the best strains for Autism. What do you think about the usage of medical marijuana on children and other patients? Let us know your thoughts. If you have any further details regarding cannabis and Autism, place your comments below.
This informational article is not a substitute for medical consultation, diagnosis, or treatment. Always discuss with your doctor or other licensed medical professionals before utilizing medical marijuana. Do not ignore any medical advice because of something you have read in this article. Know the cannabis-related laws in your region. Read federal and local/county laws before buying, growing, possessing, using, and selling marijuana. We do not promote or undertake any illegal activity.
Now that you know the best cannabis strains to grow indoors and all concerning things about it, you should also explore some of The Best Nutrients for Weed Seedlings that you can use to flourish your weed plant with exceptional yields.
Explore the best cannabis strains for autism symptoms. Read on to know where and how medical marijuana is used to treat the patients of Autism.