Should we be treating autism with marijuana?

| | February 20, 2018

4-year-old Benjamin is repeatedly smashing his head against the wall. He spins wildly in circles, screeching at full volume.

All that changed a year ago, when Benjamin started taking marijuana. In the little apartment he shares with his mother, mornings are now relaxed and orderly. His transformation may signal the arrival of a long-awaited and desperately needed healing for the many others just like him: children living with severe autism.

When THC binds to cannabinoid receptors in the brain, several sensations flood the body, what marijuana users call “the high.” CBD works differently, and often with opposite effects. It doesn’t bind directly to cannabinoid receptors, it’s not psychoactive, and it doesn’t alter how the brain functions.

Most parents said their children improved from the treatment. Nearly half saw a marked reduction in the core symptoms of autism, and nearly a third said their children either started speaking for the first time or were communicating nonverbally. One child said, “I love you, Mom”—for the first time in his life.

[Pediatric neurologist Ari] Aran stresses the need to change the anti-marijuana stigma that still pervades American medicine and drug regulation. “Giving marijuana to children is unthinkable, but CBD is not marijuana,” he says. “It’s not a drug. It’s a medication.”

Read full, original post: Is marijuana the world’s most effective treatment for autism?

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