Autism patients see significant improvement through cannabis, says new study

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Continuing research provides more evidence for the use of cannabis to treat autism symptoms

Autism is commonly referred to as Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). These disorders manifest themselves in behavioral alterations, mainly in problems relating to the environment and communicating with others. The study of medical cannabis treatments for people suffering from autism has made considerable progress in recent years. In fact, data published in the journal Translational Psychiatry indicate that the administration of marijuana with high doses of cannabidiol (CBD) is linked to clinical improvements in adolescents with ASD.

With a cohort of 82 young people (aged 5 to 25) with ASD at their disposal, Israeli researchers have set out to evaluate the true efficacy of marijuana treatment. The individuals involved in the research were prescribed whole plant marijuana extracts on a supplemental basis for a duration of six months. Using a variety of clinical assessments, the authors were able to evaluate the patient’s symptoms before and immediately after treatment.

“Our results revealed significant improvements in [the] overall … scores of the ASD participants who completed the 6-month treatment protocol with CBD-rich cannabis,” the specialists reported. “Overall changes were mostly driven by improvements in social communication skills.”

They added that findings such as these suggest that CBD-rich medical marijuana-based treatment has the capacity for people with ASD to gain significant improvements in social communication skills. The positivity of the results increases the motivation to conduct further double-blind, placebo-controlled studies to determine the efficacy of treatment with specific cannabis strains and/or synthetic cannabinoids.

The results are consistent with other findings in the past. A feasibility study with 60 children found substantial improvement in temperamental outbursts, anxiety and communication problems, and parent-reported stress levels once cannabis entered the equation.