Marijuana for Autism: Are you out of your mind… would you like to be?

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The debate about whether using marijuana to treat the symptoms of autism, is a good idea or an atrocious one, is tainted by the rather arbitrary designation of it as an illegal substance. Parents who treat their child with the substance, get painted as lazy and selfish individuals, sacrificing their children to an under-researched and under-ground option instead of taking the “tried and true” safer options. Those promoting marijuana use in the context of autism are seen as corrupting the genuine search for answers to the mysteries of autism, just to provide a defence for their existing drug habits.

So I’m going to take a step back, and I ask you to do the same should you choose to comment on this post. Deal with the facts, and put aside conspiracy theories and moralised positions that come from reactions to the word “marijuana”. Think of it as “substance XYZ” if it helps.

(I should say that it’s not just those anti marijuana use, who get carried away with the over-heated rhetoric and conspiracy theories. There are lunatics in every movement, and the pro-cannabis team have their fair share. In fact, some of their out-spoken members are so extreme and obsessive that they are very good at turning people away from their cause from the first mention. The obsessive amongst them are held up as examples of what marijuana consumption does to your brain: Your reasoning and communication is affected, and your constant focus is on securing the source of your next fix.)

There is growing appreciation on a global scale, of the (non-recreational) benefits of marijuana. The research feeding that understanding though, faces barriers to funding because of its legal category, and because of the arguably limited profit from its medicinal use (it is, after all, a freely grown and widely available plant). Without adequate research, the problem of isolating which of the very large number of components in marijuana are helping to ease the symptoms of autism (and the consequences of living with autism), remains a particularly significant problem, that often leads to people preferring use of the naturally occurring variants which haven’t been stripped of certain properties the way that medical marijuana often is.

The way in which marijuana is delivered into the body also often clouds the issues (pun intended). Smoking it is neither the most effective nor safest option; vapour and digestion are better. Often the debates get caught up in images of children puffing on a joint, which is un-necessary and unhelpful. Educating users about the risks, benefits, and methods of getting the substance safely and effectively into the body, is hampered by its illegality. Even when medical marijuana is made available through prescription, some families feel too stigmatised to publicly seek out and acquire it through the safest and correct channels; preferring a clandestine approach to treating their child in a way that supposedly protects their child and themselves from governmental scrutiny (though such an approach has obvious and serious risks attached).

I don’t want to travel too far down the road of questioning its overall illegality or the current controls on its otherwise legal usage. I think the more interesting and important questions lie around its purported benefits, and the question of at what point in a treatment plan should marijuana become an option for autistic people. I admit that the issue of illegality and the benefits of its use, cannot be ultimately separated out: What’s the point of knowing its great if no one can get their hands on it. But the primary question must be whether it is great at all; once that is established, the question of illegality would start to respond more to match those benefits (which is a trend we’re already seeing.)

So how can it assist with autism?

It’s important to point out that it is not a cure for autism, it alleviates symptoms of autism. But considering that autism is defined by its symptoms, some may argue that significantly alleviating those symptoms is by definition a cure, even if one that requires on-going consumption of the substance. What symptoms then, does it assist with? The most common ones I’ve read about are anxiety, self-harm, aggression and restrictive diets. Sometimes these symptoms are so severe that the effective treatment of them with marijuana, is a life-saver in a very real sense.

Some of the behaviours that marijuana addresses (such as aggression) may be considered in the category of consequences, rather than symptoms per se, of autism. But where the behaviour would supposedly have not occured but for the precense of autism, the distinction between symptoms and consequences of autism in this context is not necessarily of particular import (though still an interesting and note-worthy distinction).

But what of alternative options; such as widely used drugs and behavioural interventions? As with any other drugs, the primary response to treating an autistic child should be educational and behavioural interventions. Where those are not working, or more extreme help is required while the benefits of those methods are coming into play for the sake of the child’s own safety, then the family may be encouraged to try drugs currently on the market. There is usually extreme caution around using any drugs on children, and particularly so for autistic children since their bodies appear to react in unusual and unpredictable ways to drugs.

The drugs that are currently widely available for treating autism, often have severe side effects; to the point that a problem has to be particularly extreme before the benefits of taking the drug will out-weigh the harms caused by taking the drug.

In turn, before turning to marijuana, a family should have tried behavioural and educational interventions, and must make an informed choice about the harms versus benefits of taking marijuana. There do appear to be less harms, and less extreme harms, associated with taking marijuana than for taking the more widely available drugs. It’s long-term use is also arguably better understood than mainstream drugs despite some limitations on official research, since marijuana has been available a heck of a lot longer than the modern manufactured and prescribed drugs, and the effects of its use have also been observed for thousands of years.

In a broader sense – beyond addressing individual symptoms – marijuana use appears to positively affect overall quality of life for autistic people too. The stories of users are not typically ones of stoned individuals staring at their fingers and pretty colours all day, when they would have otherwise been alert, independent and contributing members of society (which is the image many people call up when they talk about marijuana use more generally, and simply cross-apply it to the life of a severely autistic child). Rather, marijuana appears to – for example – lower social anxieties to the point where otherwise house-bound adults and “unteachable” children, become more engaged with those around them and better able to learn within school environments.

Would I use marijuana with my own son? No. But that is because we have never used any autism-specific drugs for our child, following the cautious approach of his developmental pediatrician who avoids using drugs on autistic children, and strongly encourages persistence with behavioural interventions instead (even in the face of his extreme anxieties that seriously impacted on his daily life). Had our son been even marginally worse than he was, when he was at his worst, I can not say what we would have done. I went through hell with my son that changed me at my core; it’s not that hard to imagine that my own values and priorities could have drastically shifted if I’d found myself in an even worse situation than I was.

From all my reading (and I know I only scratched the surface), one thing is very clear: That it is important that marijuana be further researched to identify and isolate the components that appear to alleviate autism symptoms, and to better understand how and why it may work. Marijuana is not a devil plant, the use of which will always be a statement of the poor character and judgement of the user. To treat it as such further victimizes some of the most severely affected autistic individuals and families that turned to it as a very last resort (in a world where people still painfully restrain and submit autistic people to barbaric practices, in far less appealing efforts to address the symptoms of autism). The debate surrounding its use is complicated by a wide range of issues; some of real concern, some of little weight or importance. If we can calmly approach the topic, putting aside pre-conceived ideas that aren’t backed by science or sound reason, then we’re one step closer to figuring out whether you’d have to be out of your mind to treat autism with marijuana.

(Pun intended).

***

I encountered a lot of rubbish during my research into this topic. I did my best to sieve through it; do let me know if any poor science or bad information made it through to my post.

Here though are some of the more informative and useful links I came across (do feel free to share others you’ve found useful):

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74 Responses to Marijuana for Autism: Are you out of your mind… would you like to be?

  1. I smoked pot thirty years ago. Quit when I got married as it tended to make you housebound and slow-witted. I had enough problems with that.

    But it wouldn’t surprise me that kids with autism would do well under it. Why would excitable kids do well under amphetamines? Same difference, in a way.

    You can bet the drug companies are willing to come up with a man-made version of hashish or pot. They are truly our new drug dealers. If it helps the kiddos, I’m all for it!

    • My own (also long ago) experiences with it make me aware of how it could be of enormous benefit for autistic people (in the right dosage and with the right delivery method). It’s so often abused in its illegal guise – people taking too much, too often, and sometimes laced with various unpleasant and dangerous additions – that it’s got a bad name. Plenty of legal controlled substances can be similarly abused though (like over-the-counter pain killers). The line between legal and illegal drugs, would appear to be a fine – and often arbitrary – line, but a line we cannot simply ignore either. Quite an interesting and multi-layered discussion really.

      • You could say we are at an advantage. Four states to choose from. There is the regular Asperger’s: Rigid, fast, driven, accurate, effective, scary, immovable, more kung fu than satan himself, mobs with torches & clubs at the door twice a year…

        Then there is the correct dose which, as you quite rightly state, can make us 85% NT or thereabouts!

        Or we can go beyond that, and enjoy being high, overdosed, silly, whatever you want to call it – it’s never been anything more or less than healing, comfort, forgetting and hunger! Doing this is remarkably safe for both NT and Autist alike.

        (Or one may, if one is properly initiated, go further still. Some are already there, our friends the schizophrenics do not need cannabis to know what it can reveal and for them it can push them further into the realms of dysfunction. On the other hand, it is rather difficult to permanently ‘break’ an autistic person using cannabis. Many have tried, all they ever got was more peace and better art out of us. Oh, not to mention bucket loads more empathy!!).

        Thank you so much for writing about this, it means so much to me and all of us at cannabis for autism. If you keep on it, we might fade from the ‘limelight’ sooner… ;)

        x

      • I love the way you express yourself. And it’s my pleasure to have written this post and interacted with this topic; It’s been a learning and eye-opening experience.

      • dan says:

        this is exactly what people should know… i have autistic spectrum and when you are intaking too much at once too often thats abusing it… you must smoke very little amounts at a time in order to use it medically. intaking marijuana trains you on what you should and should not do and makes you think to yourself why do i do those things. so i do strongly agree with making medical marijuana legal for autistic patients.

  2. Firstly, I did giggle at your comment that “there are lunatics in every movement”! Ain’t that the truth! Unfortunately autism is such an emotive subject that the lunatic in all of us is occasionally lurking closer to the surface in us parents of “auties” than parents of “normies”. I’m sure I’ve had my share of loony moments in the past few years. It all boils down to what we genuinely believe is best for our kids. What works within our families. For me, the ABA movement is against all my personal belief systems. For another parent, the merest suggestion of giving cannabis to kids would be ridiculous. But I’m open minded on the subject – yes, I’d like to see a whole lot more research done before I start baking hash cakes…. but I’m open to new developments. I’ve said it before, but all I want is for my sons to live their lives with less crippling anxiety.

    • Fair comment Kristina, and so true. For us too, the biggest problem our son faces right now is very high anxiety, to the point of interferring with his daily functioning and independence. I can handle the limited communication abilities, the stimming, the fine and gross motor skill problems, etc, it’s all hard and long work but we’re making progress, but the anxiety makes every other task harder, and makes him miserable in the process. His anxieties aren’t as bad as they used to be a couple of years ago, but they are still extremely high and disabling. And yet I know our son is nowhere near as bad as other autistic children and adults.

      • Sandy says:

        I would like to encourage you to try this for your son. It has made a world of difference in the life of our son with autism. He has been utilizing this medication through edibles for 2 years. His anxiety symptoms have decreased dramatically, allowing him to enjoy his life, which is really what all parents want for their children. Along with decreased anxiety, we have observed decreased gut sensitivity, decreased stemming, and decreased aggression, along with an increase in language ability, socialness, and improved mood. It has truely saved my son’s life. I only wish I had tried this for him sooner. There is no reason that people with autism should suffer when this wonderful medication can help them. More parents need to try this for their children. You will see the results the very first day!

  3. KWombles says:

    Using an illegal substance on a disabled child where there’s been no research, and just as bad, where there’s no way to purchase a consistent, pure dosage, based on anecdotes on the internet, is no different than choosing to use mining chelator on their children’s breakfast waffles or slapping a nicotine patch on their child because someone’s written on a blog or a forum that it’s helped their child.

    It’s risky, it’s unwise, and it’s perilously close if not over-the-line into child abuse. Parents who choose to do this and to do it outside a doctor’s supervision are risking a lot on several levels.

    • KWombles says:

      I suppose I should add that I couldn’t care less about whether adults indulge in pot, lest one be tempted to conclude I’m moralizing. I’m not. Our kids are not guinea pigs for illegal substances because we heard a great story on the internet. If a parent gave a neurotypical child pot, it would be child abuse. It’s no different.

      • With real respect Kim, I think you’re over-stating your point. It is not comparable to giving illegal drugs to a NT child. The classic and most frequent example of what we’re talking about here, is a family who has tried all the more conventional options, and still left with a child who is self-harming, having restrictive eating practices to the point of being a serious threat to their health, etc. (And often the conventional drugs for managing these behaviours leave our children with worse side-effects than the problems it’s meant to be fixing.) At that point of trying to save their child from serious and lasting harm, some turn to medical marijauna – as prescribed by and monitored by a doctor, where the dose is measured and controlled. Some families simply do not have that option because the drug is simply and completely outlawed.

        Obviously marijuana requires more research, and should that research show that it is unsafe or ineffective, then comparing it to chelation would be more accurate. As is, a better comparsion might be to something like a GF/CF diet, where behaviour is trying to be modified by food that supposedly affects the operation of the brain via the gut. Or compare it to supplements that attempt the same outcome. Marijuana is usually given to autistic children in the form of food (from what I understand) so it might seem less extreme to you if you think of it like a supplemental food. I am aware that many supplements and diets have been shown to be ineffective for autism, but they were available for open and funded research. While the attitudes towards marijuana are tainted by its current illegality (and not even universal or consistent illegality), that research is held up and slowed down. That gap in research and knowledge helps no one. Raising awareness of the need for more research into the potential benefits of marijuana, is a important first step.

      • Fred Smith says:

        Having spent half the night looking into this subject I see now that scientists are coming to the realization that marijuana might be useful in treating autism. My son was taking zoloft . We looked it up after our doctor told us there are no studies on how these drugs affect kids. They do know it causes cellular changes in the young brain, but do not know what harm these changes can cause over time. Nice huh. And here you are talking about child abuse and guinea pigs. I never would have let my son take it had I known that from day one. There are very few studies on what these drugs do in the long term to kids. I do know many people who used marijuana all their lives and they are fully functional tax paying citizens. I now have seen results of autistic kids who have been helped by this medicine, so I would have to say based on this evidence alone, that there is some benefit and probably less chance of some long term ills as compared to actual cellular changes in the brain not to mention all the other side effects. I also would like to say my son was on another pill before zoloft. I took one to see what the effects were after I read college kids were using them to stay awake. I took one and couldn’t sleep for 24 hours straight. This they were giving to my seven year old every day. We would have to give him benadryl or melatonin to slow him down so he could sleep and he still would only get 6 hours at night. Yeah let’s stick with what’s legal. What a joke.

    • colin says:

      Are the side effects of marijuana more or less dangerous than the current anti-psychotics currently in the arsenal? Personally, I would much rather grow a natural plant, than risk stroke, diabetes, infertility and myocardiac infarction. Sourcing a consistant, safe and acceptable supply is as hard as growing tomatoes in your closet.

    • Maria says:

      Thank you for your concerns on the subject. Though little research is available specifically on cannabis and autism, there has actually been a lot of research on cannabis and how safe it is on all individuals. There is no lethal dose of cannabis itself, only the risk of suffocation from smoke if inhaled to the degree that oxygen is completely depleted. Also, through careful testing and calculations, there are ways to get a consistent dosage, so as not to overmedicate to the point of undesirable effects. Through continual vigilance and refinement, we can find ways to improve the administration of cannabis to children suffering from many ailments.

  4. Chuck McNulty says:

    I really enjoyed the article. I feel that a lot of people agree that the fact that the substance itself is illegal, they’re scared to even consider it as legitimate medicine. Hopefully the general mindset is changing for the better. Thanks.

  5. Damn it, Kim…now I’ve got to cancel my drug dealers call.

    Truthfully, as pot is being legalized for medical use, I can see proper (pharmaceutical) drug dealers would be more than willing to get in on it, and that was my consideration. It is proper to use legalized drugs on your children, even if they may be more damaging, and perhaps a part in early death…correlation is not causation, but the mentally ill have a much shorter life span.

    I’ve never used illegal drugs on my child. But the legal ones I did led to hallucinations and we quit immediately.Our kids ARE guinea pigs for legal substances. Off label is rampant, where no studies have been done.

    Recreational drugs like oxytocin are legit and many see it as an answer for Autism.. Pot is legit in some circumstances, I see no reason not to have trials of medical marijuana.

  6. Not to mention some of the strange untested substances that biomedical practitioners suggest that we shove into our kids…..

  7. I would wonder if enough is understood yet about autism, and the mind, to make it safe enough to test this hypothesis at this time. Specifically, I am thinking of this post http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/white-noise/2011/07/11/legalize-pot-the-harmless-drug-and-schizophrenia/ that mentions an apparent correlation between schizophrenia and youthful marijuana use.

    • Very interesting and concerning piece. I think, as with any drug, it remains a balancing act between the benefits and harms, but without more research to identify the liklihood and strength of those benefits and harms, it remains exceedingly difficult to make that informed choice. I agree that we neither know enough about the autistic brain, or marijuana’s effect on the autistic brain, to draw strong conclusions as yet. Though for those severe cases of autism, where the families have tried everything else already available to them and have suffered harsh side effects along the way, I can still see the attraction and the worth of persuing the marijauna option, at least to the point of asking for more research into the option.

      Thank you for sharing the link.

  8. Hi, we’ve been working on the ‘SZ/Psychosis’ part of the ‘anti-pot propaganda’ machine for quite some time.

    When you look into it more deeply, it is about as relevant as ‘Marijuana causes black workers to go insane and rape white women’ was at the start of last century.

    http://www.facebook.com/topic.php?uid=158293914193460&topic=411

    Has a few links for starters, the Keele study is the one that shows that there is no causal relationship in the direction that the government would like you to believe.

    Then there is the tricky question of ‘What is Psychosis?’ which I am personally comfortable answering yet no scientist on earth seems able. How odd?

    As a final spanner in whatever, even if pot does cause psychosis, it could be argued that the conditions we call ‘autistis disorders’ are at the other end of the scales of the conditions we call ‘psychotic disorders’.

    A large enough dose of THC will make you appear to be ‘psychotic’ temporarily, but it cannot give you Schizophrenia in the same way that you cannot catch Autism off a toilet seat!

    Please ask any questions, ask for any proof it’s all at my fingertips some place :) x

  9. Interestingly (have a look at this, 3 mins: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I9yoz6tVk1c)

    I have never come across a professional cannabis for autism therapy fail (where doctor and parents are involved they are reporting success across the board!).

    You can find plenty of amateur anecdotal accounts of asperger’s online who have taken too much pot on their first ever time and got scared or palpitations! These aren’t very reliable accounts and my only hope is that these people will one day get the right cannabiniods in a nice pill that has been disguised by their doctor so they won’t realise they are being fixed by the devil weed.

  10. usethebrainsgodgiveyou says:

    I would agree. I checked out the link,and having had a friend in college who was Schizophrenic…and knowing how he smoked like a smokestack both marijuana and cigarettes while undergoing an episode (he was brilliant and “normal” when not) it makes one wonder. I wasn’t aware of the tie in.

    I know it’s silly to bring it into this discussion, as it is unrelated…but in a way. He used to be so honest about what he had been through. He told how it wasn’t until after high school that his first episode caused his family to place him in an institution. He told us…”I always knew something was wrong with my thinking, though. I remember as a kid on the farm falling from the hay loft and breaking both arms because I thought I could ride on a feather.” While in episodic mode, he got messages that the world could be saved from starvation by planting wheat on the moon. The reason why I bring this up is to say psychosis was brought about by pot seems disingenious in his example. We had known him for 2 or 3 years, but he only went off after losing a girlfriend. That was when he manically consumed pot and cigarettes. That is only one example, though, while studies show numerous examples of “otherwise”.

    Still, I was thinking of the word that described most potheads…mellow. Imagine a child who reacted violently to over-burdening stimuli becoming “mellow”. I, too am thinking of kids with “intractable autism”–like intractable epilepsy, that is untreatable with typical pharmaceuticals.

  11. Yes it is things like loosing girlfriends, jobs, having special people die, or being in an unbreakable and unchallengeable double bind from which there appears to be no way out.

    Almost certainly we can claim that prohibition of cannabis causes additional episodes, but only as many as cannabis prevents ;)

    http://bjp.rcpsych.org/cgi/content/full/bjprcpsych;192/4/306

    GW Pharma (who I talk to on the phone about treating autism with cannabis occasionally) are currently researching cannabinoids for both Psychiatric conditions and Epilepsy (http://www.gwpharm.com/therapeutic-areas.aspx)

    It’s the safest thing for autistic people who have epilepsy or seizure too.

    • Just wanted to mention… neurofeedback is safer for people with autism and seizures than marijuana… the premise behind anti-seizure meds and, obviously, cannabis as well, is to slow down the brain in order to prevent the spikes required to ignite the seizures in the first place. Unfortunately, this means the brain is slowed down, not only from seizing- but from learning as well.

      Neurofeedback makes it possible to address the issue by asking the brain not to create the spikes while simultaneously reducing excessive slowness. Creating a healthier, balanced, functioning brain!

      My mom is an autism expert and neurofeedback specialist and she’s sitting behind me explaining the whole concept. She travels the globe working primarily with families of autism but also a myriad of other brain disorders. She sees life changing, positive effects with seizure disorders and autism every time. And she doesn’t have to fly to Beirut or Kansas or France with illegal drugs! Tee Hee!

      http://www.coping-with-epilepsy.com/index.php?p=eeg-neurofeedback

      http://brainbody.net/BrainBody/Welcome.html

      • Nidreya says:

        http://theness.com/neurologicablog/index.php/neurofeedback-and-the-need-for-science-based-medicine/

        Appears to be inconclusive. No harm in it, unless it is a expensive waste of time? How much does your mum charge for treatment and can she come to London? Let’s see if it works on me. If it works, I’ll pay the treatment and the airfare. If it doesn’t work, you pay me for my wasted time. Deal?

        It’s a bit worrying that your mum works with many disorders. I would have thought you’d need to specialise a bit if you are going to treat autism?

        Now please prove your claims about cannabis.

        Assuming that neurofeedback is as safe as doing nothing, then cannabis is even safer than doing nothing. Normal healthy people have longer, healthier lives when they ingest regular cannabis.

      • Nidreya, my mom would absolutely go to London and she is expensive. Unfortuntely, she has to be or the waiting list would be horribly long! She does specialize in autism but also happily and effectively treats other family members who often have ADD, Bipolar, Depression, OCD, Tourettes and siezures. Then, of course, she doesn’t want to leave out grampa and his stroke or an aunts incontinence!

        As to your mention of cannabis, I am not the expert, my mom is. She is no longer sitting behind me so I can only present one thing I remember her saying from a recent conversation with my seventeen year old son (Ah, teenagers!). She mentioned that cannabis leading to longevity is related to anxiety reduction (which neurofeedback handles beautifully as well) but also has the disadvantage of causing memory loss (perhaps that’s why my son sometimes forgets his cerfew?? Tee Hee!). She mentioned a few other side effects, but I don’t remember them.

        I would like to mention that I have seen beautiful things happen in my family since the introduction of neurofeedback. My brothers (autism), sister (ADHD), mom (Sensory Integration Disorder), son (Irlene Syndrom), son (bed wetting and autism), niece (ADD) and more can’t stop singing it’s praise and have become independent and comfortable in their skin. And unlike other therapies we’ve tried over the years there is no regression. However, I rarely use it for myself. I find that a session leaves me feeling lovely and focused, much like a well timed and delicious cup of coffee. I usually choose coffee. My brain is somewhat boring I think!

        I love this conversation and wish my mom were here to answer you with more clarity and data. Suffice it to say that I believe in neurofeedback. But it comes from my strong belief in following my gut and making choices that feel right for me and my family. If you don’t make the choices that feel right for you, then you won’t likely jump in with confidence and clear goals. I’m sure my teenage boys would love for me to get on the cannabis bandwagon!!

  12. RA Jensen says:

    There is at least some limited science behind cannibus as a treatment for autism. Simon Baroh-Cohen has proposed a novel theory about autism, he states that autism is associated with high levels of fetal tetesterone. The studies are, like all studies, have conflicting results, but some studies show that long term exposure to marijuana does lower tetesterone levels in at least some adult men.

    http://www.nejm.org/doi/pdf/10.1056/NEJM197404182901602

    The US government holds a patent on cannibus use as a treamtent for a wide variety of illnesses including auto-immune disease also linked to autism risk.

    http://patft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO1&Sect2=HITOFF&d=PALL&p=1&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsrchnum.htm&r=1&f=G&l=50&s1=6630507.PN.&OS=PN/6630507&RS=PN/6630507

    At least, in my opiion, cannibus is less harmful than SSRI’s or any of the pharmaceutical treatments widely prescribed by doctors.

    • Fair comment, and again, very helpful and interesting information. Thank you RA.

    • Nidreya says:

      Hi, nice theory, shame the testosterone thing was yet another attempt to make people think that it’s bad to use cannabis. Always google ‘Myth’ alongside any negative health claims about cannabis so you don’t have to dig for the original research yourself!

      http://www.druglibrary.org/Schaffer/hemp/general/gier1.htm#myth13

      If you want to join the dots, google autistic cnr1(-/-) mice and stratial amygdala cannabinoid happy face autism ;)

      For me, the best evidence is all the evidence that suggests that autism is physiologically oppositional in many ways to Schizophrenia.

      A Schizophrenics is ‘too psychotic’ too often.
      Psychotic people are not psychotic often enough to qualify for schizophrenia.
      THC is psychomimetic (if you are already psychotic, it will temporarily make you more psychotic).

      Autism can be seen as hypo-psychosis. We are simply not psychotic enough to be neurotypical.

      Remember, ‘psychotic’ really means: ‘Ouch – too much emotion not enough logic.’
      LOL – A psychotic man is behaviourally identical to a deeply religious pre-menstrual lady! It’s all relative.

  13. Nidreya says:

    The obligatory latest debunking of the myth has arrived, better than the last time:

    http://www.alternet.org/drugs/151776/debunking_the_myth_of_a_link_between_marijuana_and_mental_illness?page=1

    You have to be armed and ready to counter this myth when you start bringing up ‘cannabis for autism’.

    The first thing (ignorant) people think is: “What? You joking me? The kid already got autism you wanna give him schizophrenia too?”

  14. sam says:

    i am autistic and i think this is a good idea as it has/still is being researched in the united states. For all of the people who think that its a bad idea as people may miss use it…they wont.Compared to alcohol, marijuana does not hurt you if you eat it, obviously if you smoke there may be a slight chance of getting schizophrenia but that’s only if you smoke more than 1 joint every day for 10+ or so years children who need it will eat a tiny dose of hash, which if used correctly can save the parents whom are stressing this very second about it.

    in fact make it legal, its scientifically proven that all the drugs in the world deaths put together isn’t even close to the amount of deaths caused or influenced by alcohol or tobbaco.
    marijuana is used in some Religions like Muslim or buhddism or Rastafarianism are used to create peace between people and get closer to god, then why can’t the rest of the world do it then?

  15. Hi Sam, thanks for your input but please be aware that the rumour about smoking it causing Schizophrenia was not true in the end. Please check out the Keele Study :)

    Give me a shout if you have trouble finding it!

  16. Frederico says:

    Hola, I’m getting ready to attend a cannabis club in AK. There are 3 now that operate, one has been open for over 3 years in full view of the police. I have conducted something of a thesis into the neurotypes of people I find at these clubs…..
    ADHD would account for more than half the members….ASD maybe 10-15%….. the balance a mix of NT and bipolar etc….oh also the racially discriminated…..cannabis prohibition criminalises activists and problematic darkies…. how convenient….
    One could argue that the cannabis makes them so, but any objective research or analysis of their childhoods, study of facial characteristics(as downs syndrome is obvious, so are other PDD’s to me now) who conclude the chicken after the egg
    Tonight, I’m in company with some large powerful men with baby faces….some ex gang members, disillusioned with society, humiliated confusion written across their expression, not knowing why they have so many problems in life, seeking to dull their pain
    Until a wider view of autism is shown in mainstream media, these poor souls will continue to stumble around in the dark, led by the blind, while knowledge of their condition is hid from them by our leaders…
    All the while, the tax payer picks up the tab when things go wrong for them. Keeping self knowledge from HFA is detrimental to all NZ’ers…………….except those who profit such as medical, criminal and political players with money to lose

    Frederico

  17. michael says:

    I strongly agree with making medical marijuana legal for autistic patients because I have AUTISM SPECTRUM and it allows me to realize the things i do wrong. Its UNBELIEVABLE but it takes time to figure everything out while using medical marijuana in other words you cant just intake marijuana and say this is everything i do wrong. It takes a lot of self thinking and im still working on it. So long story short it allows me to pick up on the “off” things that i do. And like i said its just the spectrum so its not full blown autism and im not sure that people with serious autism can figure themselves out sadly. Another reason is because it helps with OBSESSIVE COMPULSUIVE DISORDER big time. And it also brings you into a good mood and want to munch out lol. And the biggest thing people should know is if your using it medically you must TAKE VERY LITTLE at a time and EVERY ONCE IN A WHILE. Another issue it treats is bipolar and mood disorder. having a MOOD DISORDER and BIPOLAR DISORDER can lead to a lot of things like uncontrollable anger. Marijuana prevents uncontrollable anger and just allows you to not worry and try to find whats good in life. Marijuana trains you not to be destructive and think before doing such things. marijuana defenitely treats ANXIETY and allows you not to worry about anything. So marijuana just trains the brain to think correctly besides all the other consequences. So i do strongly agree with making medical marijuana legal for autistic patients.

    • toni says:

      i have bipolar and borderline personality syndrome the pills they had me on lithium and welutrin made me feel like a herroin addict i could not function or work. i do not take the pills anymore i found that marijuana helps my mood swings drastically and i actually get energy so i can work and do day to day things without lashing out and without being grogy like the pills made me.

    • Sandy says:

      Thank you Michael for your comments and observations on how marijuana has helped you. I have observed the same results in my son. I would like to encourage you to share your story and success with others. It is by sharing this information that we can get this medication legalized for all people suffering from autism and other nervous system disorders. Thank you again for your great post!

  18. michael says:

    Thank you and i cant believe i left out the most effective treatment which is APPETITE ENHANEMENT so if you just never want to eat i strongly suggest you use this medcation to help that situation

  19. michael says:

    But we need to get more autistic patients who have tried this medication to comment on this and not debaters and parents fighting for their rights like Dan who commented about his experience

    • Concerned Parent says:

      Our sweet mild mannered autistic son became a completely different person when he hit puberty at age 9. Hormones and a lack of communication skills combined to create a person filled with rage and psychosis of a level we had never experienced. It was at a point where my wife would lock her door out of fear from her own child. The doctors told us to drug him with benedryl, melatonin, and other perscription sedatives. Sometimes they worked, sometimes they didn’t. We started researching the aggressive behaviors of autistic children and found an abundance of annecdotal evidence of parents using cannabis, both legally and illiegally. I read Dr. Robert Melamead’s research on the endo-cannaboid system. It is amazing science going on. Finally we decided that for our own safety and sanity we would try anything. We made a batch of cookies and gave them to our son, and for the first time in over a year, he was a happy, smiling child. He wasn’t angry, or hitting his head against the wall or floor. He wasn’t biting himself, or us. He wasn’t pinching fistfuls of skin on my arms or smacking his head. When I read comments from people espousing the immorality of giving your child an illegal substance, all I can think of is the absolute ignorance and gall of these people. You people could not even wear our shoes, let alone walk a mile. This medicine works, has no side effects, and is not harmful in any way.

  20. michael says:

    thank you very much SChorley… and about the agressive behavior im not too infected with autism because i have autistic spectrum but when i get angry i want to break things, kick things,
    knock things over, throw things at walls and anything to make my anger to go away. And when i use this medication im just in a good mood and when im on this medication and if im still fustrated on the medication i just think to myself inside the box and say if i do this then how are other people going to be affected and how am i going to be affected and it defenitely allows you to think before acting and when im off of the medication i get so angry so quickly i dont think before acting and i just want the anger to go away as quickly as possible so i do those things and when im on the medication i tell myself their is no reason for this commosion its unreal the thought changes and i damn well dont know why this helps but it does. So like i mentioned in the BIPOLAR DISORDER and the MOOD DISORDER category this in my eyes is defenitely considered a medication.

  21. michael says:

    and to all peopele i know that people think of it as getting stoned with your friends and slouching and eating and all of that but if you think of it it as a medicine its a whole different outlook. but only use very little so your child doesnt get “stoned” like most people call it. so if anyone has questions please ask

  22. Concerned Parent says:

    What are some good strains to use for treatment of aggressive behavior. I would like to find a strain that has higher CBD and lower THC, so there is less psychoactive ingredient.

    • A little CDB goes a long way. Assuming you have around 15% THC in your weed, then anything from 0.25% to 4% CBD should be ok, depending on the person or child. These two chemicals are not the whole story. Every strain has a unique mix of flavinoids, terpenes and other oils – like aromatherapy on steroids – these can be as as important as the main cannabinoids. Don’t obsess about finding a 50/50 THC/CBD strain, that’s probably not necessary. Treating autism with cannabis is, in real life, a series of experiments with whichever strain you can get your hands on, eventually getting closer and closer to perfection. Most of the time, for most autistic people, any cannabis is probably better than no cannabis.

      For those with epilepsy, seizures or a tendency towards paranoia and hallucinations, stay away from the high THC strains i.e. the ones that are <0.05% CBD

      All advice given without liability, warranty, assurance etc of course.

      Best of Luck!

  23. michael says:

    to ConcernedParent i suggest Sour Diesal because that has helped me the best with agressive behavior and thought process and your child will be eating like a maniac lol

  24. michael says:

    so if anyone has questions please ask

  25. michael says:

    and i forgot to mention that the APPETITE ENHANSEMENT can take an hour or two so if anyone has questions please ask

  26. Concerned Parent says:

    We have been making tincture, but It does not last as long as the edibles, also not as strong.

  27. michael says:

    the best way to intake cannabis that doesnt involve inhaling is by turning it into an oil and mixing it with cold tea if your giving this medication to your child because its blends in with the taste and can also perhaps cause less paranoia than smoking cannabis and the marijuana oil is a lot more potent and safer than tincture and inhaling

  28. michael says:

    is that it??

  29. michael says:

    is that all the questions is what i meant

  30. michael says:

    i would expect a lot more than a few questions since my post on may 8th

    • Well the post itself is over a year old, it doesn’t get much active traffic unless external sources direct people to it or someone happens to come this way by searching for “autism and marijuana.” Nevertheless, it’s kind of you to offer to help those who do come by and have questions :)

  31. michael says:

    one more subject i would like to bring up is that this plant scientifically given to us can allow autistic patients to “wake up” and see how they act and how people see this abnormal behavior outside of themselves and it can in fact be scary during the “waking up part” and taking too much can really freak you out because it really gets to a point where your seeing yourself outside of yourself saying why am i interracting with this abnormal behavior but you must know you have autism in order to see it which is what we have to deal with 24/7 off the marijuana when we dont think to ourselves about it and i have no clue why but almost every time i use marijuana i can always see myself outside of myself and its like magic so i recommend giving this to someone who knows they have autism so they can see themselves and know what they can and cant change or atleast try to hide what they find out about themselves in front of others if they really cant help it and its a miraculous piece of nature and i recommend it for mental ilnesses like the ones i mentioned above and i hope this information gets out to people who have to live their lives like this when their is a way to curve it which is by using marijuana

  32. michael says:

    in other words its like going onto disorder websites and saying hey thats what i do but instead its your own mind telling you that its miraculous

  33. Lorie says:

    I would be concerned with a child having a paranoid episode,and how horrible that may be for him. I used to unexpectedly have such reactions and they would last longer than a high(marijuana,not laced). An Autistic child,especially a severely Autistic child,would go though hell.

    • Lorie, this sort of concern is why we need controlled investigation and experiments; all drugs can have bad side-effects, that is not a reason to ban or avoid testing them, on the contrary it is a reason to figure out what doses and for who might it be of use, to help avoid those more negative outcomes.

  34. MrMj says:

    I was born PDD-NOS, and wouldn’t be independent nor doing what I have to do everyday without the miraculous plant called marijuana… Actually, it’s not even that, I have found THC as being psychoactive and detrimental, while the lesser active chemical CBD has allowed significant breakthroughs to take place and further milestones set, which is found primarily within hemp at large concentrations…

    Ask yourself why are you barring the only cure and real treatment (side effect-free) from helping autistics everywhere, when it affects nobody else, not communities or education.. Does preserving draconian laws such as ineffective prohibition really mean that much as to prevent someone from functionally joining society? Do you really wish that we, autistics, remain dependent, overly medicated with dangerous chemicals, and most likely hospitalized or a continuous burden for their parents?

    • MrMj says:

      P.S, don’t judge a book by the cover; I’m a savant, no not prodigious but still have linguistically-developed skills in the face of my disability.. Sometimes the memory impairing effects from marijuana are quite useful for forgetting all that I absorb.

      Thank you for the time you took to think outside the box

      • And thank you for your thoughtful response MrMj.

        Interesting point about how it affects memory too; my son tends to become overwhelmed by the details of the world, helping him relax and get past overload would be useful (though thankfully we haven’t had to turn to medication to assist him to get better with this issue so far, his own development over time with therapy support is working well at this point).

        • Hi. Just a comparison for you:
          Me without cannabis: Incredible memory for facts but not people, very fast accurate worker, 99.9% accurate, will not check my own work or believe I can make a mistake, will not accept it if and when an error of mine is pointed out, hyperlexia and hyper-verbosity annoys everyone.
          Remembering facts but not people is seen as rude and arrogant.

          Me with cannabis: I am aware of my own fallibility, my work slows slightly, I am now only 97% accurate but I check my own work, allow others to check it and am open to any errors I may have made. I am now equally poor at remembering facts as I am at remembering people, so people are not offended, my memory is just poor, rather than disinterested in them.
          And hey, if you are doomed to never remember people, better they think it’s your meds, than to think you just don’t like them!

          Paranoia in autism = budding theory of mind! The social sensitivity is heightened by cannabis. In some, paranoia can occur, but the this actually helps us to be more cautious.
          Also, we suffer huge social paranoia anyway, due to the autism social disability side of things. Anything, such as cannabis, which may improve social function, may decrease our paranoia.

  35. michael says:

    Lorie brought up a great point marijuana will increase paranoia and anxiety for some and shouldn’t be given to a severely autistic child especially in high amounts it should be very little amounts so that doesn’t happen

    • While pure THC preparations such as Marinol may lead to transient Paranoia or Anxiety (what’s the difference? There is a difference, but do you know it?), there is no evidence that balanced strains of cannabis cause anxiety or ‘paranoia’. These may be cause by illegality or moral confusion, but not by the plant itself.

      You are right, any child or adult who uses any kind of cannabis medicine should ideally start with small amounts and build up slowly. To this end, Marinol is useless as it is a mind-blowing 10 mg THC pill. Compare this to the much safer Sativex which contains 2.7mg THC and 2.5mg CBD in each 100 microlitre spray.

  36. Beth S Smart says:

    This “god” drug wasn’t studied enough. I guess the thinking fight fire with fire comes to mind. well it’s destroying children right under peoples noses. I’ve been around people who have used this when I was younger to know it affects the brain and reactions of the user. Sadly for autistic children this is an impairment which will not go away.
    Studies Finds Link Between Autism and Cannabinoids

    July 21, 2013

    http://www.autismdailynewscast.com/studies-finds-link-between-autism-and-cannabinoids/921/laurel-joss/

  37. Larry says:

    I have an adult severely autistic child. I’m very interested in any information regarding this topic. She is 22 years old and really struggles with social interaction. She has taken several perscribed medications over the years with minimal results n lasting side effects. Any information would be greatly appreciated.

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