The Effects of Medical Marijuana on Autism


Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is an umbrella term for developmental disorders which affect communication and social skills. This disorder usually appears within the first three years of life. Although the cause of this disorder is unknown, it has been linked to abnormal brain chemistry.

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Autism has varying degrees of severity; however, it is typical for autism to result in intense tantrums when a routine is disrupted or an outside stimulus triggers mood swings. Medicine is often prescribed to treat the symptoms of autism rather than the autism itself.

Nearly two-million people in the United States suffers from autism. Studies have shown that the symptoms of autism may be caused by a gene mutation that blocks the production of endocannabinoids, and these may also interfere with the ways that these cannabinoids interact with the brain’s receptors. Endocannabinoids are chemicals that are responsible for homeostasis (the ability for the body to maintain a balance within itself, including fighting off disease). Cannabinoids are also found in cannabis, these chemicals can imitate endocannabinoids in the human body. When given an oral dose of cannabis, endocannabinoid receptors in the brain, nervous system, and immune system can use the chemicals to create a homeostatic balance within individuals with autism.


Sam, an eight-year-old male, diagnosed with ASD at three years old, struggled with anti-social behavior that resulted in outward aggression. Sam’s parents tried a variety of medications prescribed by doctors. Rather than helping Sam, the medications escalated his antisocial behavior both at school and at home. The medications also caused extreme weight gain, and many other negative side-effects kept Sam bouncing from one medication to another. Sam would run through the house yelling and knocking things over he also tried to run out of the house late at night. When Sam’s behavior put his six-year-old sister in danger they searched for other options. Sam’s mother found information on the internet that documented success stories in treating children with similar characteristics, with medical cannabis.

After legally obtaining low-THC cannabis, Sam’s parents produced hash and fed the concentration of cannabinoids to Sam about twice per day. Sam received none of the psychoactive effects that come with smoking or vaping cannabis. Sam’s parents testified that their son’s aggression and anti-social symptoms decreased significantly. Not only did Sam become calmer, but his behavior became more predictable and communication and interaction improved.


There are many forms of autism, therefore, the efficacy of cannabis may vary from individual to individual. The benefits of cannabis on autism is clearly outlined by Sam’s parents. Parents of children who suffer from ASD should at least consider the pros of using medical marijuana. Remember that cannabis is not legal in every state. It is important to know the laws of your state. To learn more about the benefits of cannabis, contact us or visit our website.


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