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THC in Cannabis Helps with Autistic Symptoms

THC in Cannabis Helps with Autistic Symptoms

Posted by Marijuana Doctors on 12/23/2013 in Medical Marijuana Patient Stories

What is Autism?

Autism is a brain disorder that typically affects a person’s ability to communicate, form relationships with others, and respond to the environment.

What are the Symptoms of Autism?

Social -Children with autism take longer to interpret what others are thinking and feeling. Subtle social cues- whether a smile, a wink, or a grimace-may have little meaning. A person with Autism may lack the understanding that other people have different information, feelings and goals than they have. This inability leaves Autistic people unable to predict or understand other’s people actions.

Language – Research shows that about half of the children diagnosed with autism remain mute throughout their lives. Those who do speak often use language in unusual ways. Some children say the same phrase in a variety of situations. One child for example, says “Milk and Cookies” whenever he is please, may be associating his good feelings around this treat with other things that give him pleasure. Without meaning gestures or the language to ask for things, people with autism are at a loss to let others know what they need. As a result, children with autism may simply scream or grab what they want.

Repetitive Behaviors- For unexplained reasons, people with autism demand consistency in their environment. Scientists are exploring several possible explanations for such repetitive, obsessive behavior. Perhaps the order and sameness lends some stability in a world of sensory confusion. Perhaps focused behaviors help them to block out painful stimuli.

Sensory – In Autism, the brain also seems unable to balance the senses appropriately. Apparently, as a result of a brain malfunction, many children with autism are highly attuned or even painfully sensitive to certain sounds, textures, tastes and smells.

Unusual Abilities – Some people with autism display remarkable abilities. A few demonstrate skills far out of the ordinary. Like the person played by Dustin Hoffman in the movie Rain Man, some people with autism can memorize entire television shows, pages of the phone book, or the scores of every major league baseball game for the past 20 years. However, such skills know as islets of intelligence or savant skills are rare. (1)

What Causes Autism?

It is generally accepted that autism is caused by abnormalities in brain structures or functions.

Other studies suggest that people with ASD have abnormal levels of serotonin or other neurotransmitters in the brain.  These abnormalities suggest that ASD could result from the disruption of normal brain development early in fetal development caused by defects in genes that control brain growth and that regulate how brain cells communicate with each other, possibly due to the influence of environmental factors on gene function. (2)

Research: THC and its Affect on Autism

A Link Between Austim and Cannabinoids

Mutations tied to Autism in mice lead to deficits in the signaling pathway activated by marijuana.

Two autism-related mutations in a synapse-adhesion protein lead to deficits in prolonged endocannabinoid signaling in mice. It’s a surprising connection that suggests such signaling problems could be implicated in autism spectrum disorders, according to a paper published today (April 11) in Neuron.

Alger added that, if the endocannabinoid system does turn out to be connected to autism in humans, medical marijuana could turn out to hold possibility for treating autism. But Südhof said that he did not know at this point whether marijuana would intensify or ameliorate autistic symptoms.(3)

Use of dronabinol (delta-9-THC) in autism: A prospective single-case-study with an early  infantile autistic child

According to this study, measuring the effects of THC on an autistic child, Hyperactivity decreased by 27 points, lethargy was re4duced by 25 points and irritability by  12 points. Stereotypic behavior decreased by 7 points and inappropriate speech improve by 6 points. No adverse effects were reported. This uncontrolled single case study suggests that dronabinol (delta-t-thc)  may reduce symptoms in early infant autism.(4)

Patient Testimony: THC and its Affect on Autism

Mother Gives Son Marijuana to Treat His Autism

“You could see the bones in his chest. He was going to die,” she said. The marijuana balanced my son, said Hester-Perez, noting that she has never used marijuana herself. My son had self-injurious behaviors. He was extremely aggressive, he would run out of our house… he was a danger to himself and others. “ But just hours after she gave him one of the pot-infused brownies, she said she could see a change — both in his appetite and demeanor. (5)

Young Boy Administered Medical Cannabis to Help with Autistic Rage and Seizures

Explaining that they had tried nearly every pharmaceutical drug and alternative treatment plans recommended by Alex’s doctors with no success, Jeremy Echols and his wife were running out of options. Then in 2009, Alex’s mom stumbled upon some articles about medical cannabis and its success in treating children with autism and rage. When interest piqued, the family decided to try the controversial treatment.

By the following year, a doctor had approved Alex for medical cannabis treatment. The boy’s transformation following the treatment was simply astounding, says the family. “Eventually we had some truly amazing results,” Alex’s dad wrote on his blog. “He explored his world with his hands, something he was very rarely able to do. His hands were the enemy up to this point … But on those few truly magical days when we got the dosing just right, he played. He used his hands to explore. He looked at us and smiled.” (6)

An Autism/CBD Oil Success Story: Rebecca & Calvin

“Calvin is 14, almost 15. He is considered non-verbal. Before MMJ, he had a few words. “Pop”, “all done”, “go to bathroom”, and an occasional “yeah”. The night that Calvin took his first dose, he was watching Elmo in Grouchland. He’s seen the movie 9836578 times. For the first time he started saying every word that they said, as they said it. He was singing too.

We were so happy but as you know, we want spontaneous, appropriate language. We started getting it. We were at PT and Calvin’s therapist was so impressed with Calvin’s ability to cooperate.

He has several new words and we’re only two months into MMJ. My favorite, was day 13. Calvin woke up and came into the living room to sit down. I was walking to the back door to let the dogs in. Calvin and I locked eyes. We smiled at each other and he said, “love you.” I waited 14 years for that!”(7)

Mother says medical marijuana has helped son, 12

A Windham mother wants people to know how medical marijuana has helped her 12-year old son. Stephanie Lay said her son is autistic and suffers from psychotic episodes. Lay said the changes she’s seen in her son, Bryce, over the past few weeks have been nothing short of remarkable. (8)

Why I Give My Autistic Son Pot, Part 4

For two years now, my husband and I have been using medical cannabis—legally—to help soothe our autistic son’s gastrointestinal pain and decrease his concomitant violent behaviors. As I’ve been chronicling in a series of columns for DoubleX, pot has allowed us to bypass the powerful psychotropic drugs that are often used to dull such aggressive outbursts but have a host of serious potential side effects—including permanent tics, diabetes, and death—and did nothing to address J’s pain. (9)

<Sam’s Story: Using Medical Cannabis to Treat Autism Spectrum Disorder

Sam’s life has improved dramatically since he began using medical cannabis to treat his Autism Spectrum Disorder. Because Sam is doing better, we are all doing better. We have our life’s back again. We still have an autistic son who faces many challenges but our lives have improved immeasurably. We can take Sam out to dinner, go shopping, visit friends, plan vacations, take him to visit his Grandparents, laugh as a family, and not be constantly worried that he is going to hurt our daughter or himself. In other words, we can live without being consumed by Sam’s autism. Most importantly, SAM IS HAPPIER AND HEALTHIER.

We are going to continue to treat our son with Medical Cannabis. No one ever questioned us when we gave Sam all the other medications that never helped him, and in my opinion, caused him to harm. Medical Cannabis is natural and non-toxic. The only side effects we have observed so far are glassy and reddened eyes and an occasionally a slight drowsiness. When he wakes each morning up he is alert and happy. He has not built up a tolerance to the medication. We skip doses whenever we can. With the other prescriptions we were instructed to never miss a dose or it could disrupt the medication’s effectiveness.

Medical Cannabis may not help every child with ASD like it is helping Sam but I think it should be an options for parents when considering medication. Controlled studies measuring the effectiveness of MC in the treatment of children with ASD should be conducted. More user-friendly, reliable forms of MC need to be made available to patients (inhaler, pill, liquid forms). Unfortunately, other parents and who have treated their child with MC are afraid to disclose their experiences because of possible legal retribution. (10) Medical Marijuana Used to Treat Autism in Children (11)

The Rise of Autism: Epidemic Levels?

A majority of experts agree that the number of children diagnosed with autism appears to be on the increase. However, it is not clear whether this is due to better detection and reporting of autism, a real increase in the number of cases, or both.

The outcry is predicated on a report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) finding that autism is now diagnosed in 1 in every 88 American children. This is a 78 percent increase in 6 years (2002-2008) and a 10-fold (1000%) increase in reported prevalence over the last 40 years. The report uses the same methodology that produced the CDC’s 2009 prevalence findings of 1 in 110 children with autism. (12)

Please visit Titration Tracker and begin inputting your experiences with cannabis as we seek in rescheduling cannabis and making it more accessible to more patients. Register as a patient, access your dashboard, and click the Titration Tracker Link on the left side of the page.

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