How Does Marijuana Work With Autism
Autism is a neurological disorder that affects social interaction, communication, and behavior. It is a spectrum disorder, meaning the symptoms and severity can vary from person to person. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to treatment, but some patients with autism have found relief with medical marijuana (MMJ). Let’s take a closer look at how marijuana works with autism.
Many people have heard of using MMJ for various conditions, but did you know that it can also help patients with autism? While more research needs to be done in this area, there is evidence to suggest that marijuana can help improve symptoms in patients with autism. Here’s a look at how marijuana works with autism and what the current research says about its efficacy.
Marijuana contains compounds called cannabinoids. These cannabinoids bind to receptors in the brain and affect the neurotransmitters that carry messages between neurons. The two most well-known cannabinoids are tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). THC is the compound in marijuana that produces the “high.” CBD does not produce a high, but it does have medical benefits.
The Research on Marijuana and Autism
While there is some promising research on the use of cannabinoids for ASD, it’s important to note that most of the studies are small and more research needs to be done. A 2016 study involving 30 children with ASD found that those who were treated with CBD oil had significantly improved social interaction, anxiety levels, and communication skills.
Another study involving 120 adults with ASD found that 70% experienced improvements in social interaction after taking a cannabis-based medication for four weeks. However, it’s worth noting that this study did not use CBD oil, instead, it used a whole-plant extract containing CBD and THC.
Since medical marijuana laws vary from state to state, it’s important to consult your state’s laws before pursuing MMJ treatment. Some states only allow high-CBD/low-THC products while others have legalized recreational marijuana use. In states where medical marijuana is legal, you will need to get a recommendation from a licensed doctor before you can purchase cannabis products. Talk to your child’s doctor about whether medical marijuana is right for them and review common FAQs about the Michigan Medical Marijuana Program (MMMP). MMJ is legal to grow in Michigan when you meet the proper requirements. You will want to learn about what’s involved in becoming a Michigan medical marijuana caregiver especially if you want to grow cannabis so medicine is more affordable.
If you decide to pursue treatment, make sure you buy your products from a reputable state-approved dispensary so you know exactly what you’re getting. More than likely the doctor will start with small doses and increase gradually as needed. Be sure to ask about contraindications and things to avoid when consuming MMJ. Watch for side effects such as sleepiness or changes in appetite and mood. If you notice any adverse effects, immediately consult your physician.
They might reduce the dose or stop treatment altogether. Above all else, make sure you keep everything out of reach of children! Children are especially vulnerable to the effects of THC because their brains are still developing. Store all cannabis products in a locked container away from curious little hands. If you are your child’s caregiver and decide to grow cannabis then you have to abide by Michigan state law and use an enclosed locked facility.
Marijuana and the Endocannabinoid System
Marijuana (cannabis) contains over 140 different chemical compounds known as cannabinoids. Cannabinoids work by interacting with the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS is a network of receptors and chemicals that play a role in many of the body’s processes, including sleep, appetite, pain, and inflammation.
Autism and the Endocannabinoid System
Autism is a neurodevelopmental disorder that is characterized by difficulty with social interaction and communication, repetitive behaviors, and other challenges. Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a term used to describe a range of disorders that fall under the autism umbrella, including Asperger’s syndrome and PDD-NOS (pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified). It’s estimated that 1 in 59 children has ASD.
There is evidence to suggest that ASD is caused by abnormalities in the ECS. One study found that autistic children had lower levels of anandamide, a cannabinoid that plays a role in pain relief, inflammation, and other processes. A review of studies concluded that cannabinoids could help improve social interaction, communication, repetitive behaviors, and other symptoms associated with ASD.
Some parents of patients with autism have found that medical marijuana helps to decrease their child’s autistic symptoms. The most common symptom that responds well to treatment is aggression. Other symptoms that have been reported to improve with medical marijuana include anxiety, depression, sleep problems, and social withdrawal.
It’s important to note that there is no conclusive scientific evidence to support the use of medical marijuana for autism at this time. However, many parents feel that MMJ has helped their children when other treatments have failed. If you are considering treatment with medical marijuana for your child with autism, consult with your child’s doctor first as well as an experienced marijuana doctor to discuss if cannabis as medicine is an option.