With over half the states in the U.S. legalizing marijuana for medical purposes, it’s no big surprise that cannabis is gaining a foothold as a legitimate treatment option for managing a variety of health conditions including autism.
Research suggests the derivatives of cannabis carry potential benefits for Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) treatment. But before delving into how autistic patients can profit from marijuana usage, let’s throw some light on the disorder.
What is Autism?
Autism spectrum disorder treatment is a complex developmental disability that can disrupt a person’s ability to communicate, form relationships, interact socially, explore and learn. There are different types of ASD. Some autistic people can live independently, whereas others affected by the condition require constant care and support.
There is no diagnostic test for ASD. The condition is generally detected based on certain behaviors in early childhood (2-3 years). Some infants, however, may exhibit signs of autism in the first few months itself.
Causes of ADS
While, there is no specific known cause of ASD, experts believe genetics and environment may play a contributory role. Other risk factors include having an autistic sibling, older parents, very low birth weight, or being afflicted with Down syndrome, fragile X syndrome, and Rett syndrome, etc. Contrary to popular belief, there is no connection between parenting practices and vaccines in the development of autism.
- Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states one in 59 children/young adults in the US are affected by autism. According to the American Autism Association, a person is diagnosed with ASD every 11 minutes in the nation.
- The disorder is more prevalent in boys compared to girls.
- Though autism is regarded as a lifelong condition, early diagnosis and intervention can help in alleviating symptoms and improving quality of life.
Qualifying Condition of Cannabis Treatment for Autism
The symptoms and severity of the disorder are known to vary widely but most autistic people display these common signs and behaviors:
- Unusual voice tone
- Poor eye contact
- Not looking or listening to people
- Resistance to cuddling
- Indifference to caregivers
- Repetitive behavior
- Delay in cognitive, social and language skills
- Overtly focused interests
- Becoming distraught by a change in routine
On observing the aforesaid symptoms caregivers must take the kids/adolescents/adults for screening process with ASD tools. If developmental problems are perceived, a second evaluation for cognitive skills, language abilities and communication challenges under professionals is vital for an official diagnosis. Patients certified to have autism as a qualifying condition for medical marijuana will then be eligible to receive cannabis for als treatment.
Benefits of Cannabis Oil Treatment for Autism
Since there is no cure or specific remedy for the developmental disorder, people are exploring alternative modes of treatment. Marijuana that has shown promise at managing a whole bevy of health issues including epilepsy is being viewed as a viable autism treatment for adults. While there are no large-scale clinical trials to substantiate the medicinal value of cannabis for ASD there are mounting anecdotal accounts and personal experiences that support its usage. An observational study found marijuana’s main non-psychoactive compound (cannabinoid or CBD) effective and safe for treating mild to severe forms of autism. It was noted that CBD oil medication was well-tolerated and helped in managing the debilitating symptoms commonly experienced by ASD patients like insomnia, depression, tics, restlessness, anxiety or rage attacks.
Below are some of the positive changes observed in patients after they began using medical medical marijuana products to relive symptoms of autism:
- A step-up in the quality of life
- Lower frequency of depression
- Enhancement in mood
- Cannabis products improved the ability to perform daily activities.
- A drastic reduction in seizures
- Marked improvement in disruptive behavior incidents
- Improvement in concentration
- Regulation of sleep pattern
- Eases aggression in outbursts
- Improves social functioning and improves relationships
While medical marijuana help relieve symptoms, there is a need to exercise caution and consult a physician before considering medical marijuana for the disorder since there is limited research and scientific evidence to back the claims.
Guidelines to Get Medical Marijuana for Autism
The process to get medical cannabis for ADS patients is simple and straightforward:
- The first step is to register online for the medical marijuana program by creating a profile with details such as name, address, contact information, etc.
- The next step involves undergoing a thorough screening by a licensed physician to verify that the autistic condition qualifies for cannabis treatment.
- On certification by a registered practitioner, an ADS patient can apply for a medical marijuana ID card which on acceptance gets mailed at the listed address.
- Once the ID card is obtained cannabis products can be picked up at state-approved dispensaries and health clinics.