It can be bewildering to receive an autism diagnosis, whether it’s for yourself or your child. You may be familiar with the term but are unsure of exactly what the condition is. You’re no doubt worried about its symptoms and how it will affect you or your child.
Adults and children of all intellectual levels can be diagnosed with autism. Diagnosis can be difficult as symptoms vary so widely. Many people aren’t diagnosed with autism until they’re well into adulthood. In this article, we find out more about life on the autistic spectrum, how to treat your condition and how medical marijuana for autism can help.
Autism is a disorder that relates to neural development. It is best characterized by impaired social interaction, restricted and repetitive behavior and lack of communication skills. The diagnostic criterion claims that symptoms become apparent within a child before they turn three years of age.
Autism directly affects the processing of information in the brain by altering never cells and their proper synapses. Asperger syndrome, commonly known as Asperger’s syndrome, is a disorder that lies within the autism spectrum, and is best distinguished by significant difficulties in social interaction. Similar to autism in a way, this disorder also involved restricted and repetitive patterns of behavior.
Autism, also known as autistic spectrum disorder, refers to a range of conditions. The word “spectrum” relates to the broad array of challenges you experience when you have the condition. These are typified by difficulties with nonverbal communication, speech, social skills, repetitive behaviors, and unique differences and strengths.
When you reach two or three years old, autism signs tends to become noticeable. Some diagnoses occur even earlier. Early evaluation and treatment improve your outcome.
In 2013, the American Psychiatric Association brought together four diagnoses into one umbrella term of autistic spectrum disorder (ASD). These conditions include:
Certain mental health and medical conditions may prevail alongside autism. These include:
Project Autism provides a detailed look at the history, origin and timeline of autism. The word autism derives from the Greek word “autos,” meaning “self.” The condition was first described by Dr. John Langdon Down in 1887 as “developmental retardation.” In 1943, American Leo Kanner researched people with emotional and social limitations and withdrawn behavior. In 1944, Austrian doctor Johann “Hans” Friedrich Karl Asperger did similar research. Early names for the condition included Kanner’s syndrome and, later, Early Infantile Autism. Asperger later termed it Asperger syndrome.
The symptoms of both conditions were similar but not identical in many ways. People with Asperger syndrome had difficulty interacting socially. However, their language ability was stronger, and their understanding of sometimes highly technical subjects was above average.
In 1964, Bernard Rimland, who had a son with autism, came up with the first solid argument that it’s a biological condition. Rimland went on to found the Autism Society of America.
In 1980, autism was added as “infantile autism” to the “Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders — Third Edition (DSM-lll).” This was then replaced by the term “autistic disorder” in 1987. The federal government made autism a special education category in 1991. In 2013, the diagnosis shifted to autism spectrum disorder (ASD).
People with autistic spectrum disorders tend to engage in repetitive behaviors, have social interaction problems and encounter communication challenges. Symptoms and their severity widely vary as ASD is a spectrum disorder.
You may have mild challenges when you’re at the high-functioning end of the spectrum. Alternatively, your symptoms could be severe. Your lack of spoken language and repetitive behaviors could significantly interfere with how you live your life.
Autism is a lifelong condition. Even so, you’ll benefit from therapies or interventions, potentially including cannabis. These can increase your abilities and skills and reduce your symptoms. Common autism symptoms include the following.
A core symptom of autism is a tendency to engage in a restricted range of activities and/or unusual repetitive behaviors. It’s common to:
You may be preoccupied with putting your household objects in a fixed order or in specific places. You might need your daily routine and environment to be incredibly consistent, without any changes. In the case of anything being different, you’ll feel extremely stressed and may be prone to outbursts.
You may develop all-encompassing obsessions and interests. You could have a huge interest in science, numbers, dates or symbols.
Developing babies are very social. In contrast, autistic children have social difficulties. At around eight to ten months, many babies with the condition won’t respond to their names, are disinterested in people and have delayed speech. By the time they’re toddlers, they’ll probably have trouble playing social games and will prefer to be on their own. They might not respond to parental displays of affection or anger.
You may feel your child is disconnected if you’re a parent of an autistic child. An autistic person can’t pick up easily or quickly on social cues. They may be unable to see things from someone else’s perspective. They might be unable to understand other people’s feelings and to interpret gestures.
If you have autism, you might not be able to see things from someone else’s perspective. You could also have trouble regulating your emotions and be prone to having outbursts in inappropriate situations. Your frustration could lead to you injuring yourself by engaging in:
When you have autism, you may consistently repeat what someone else has said or say the same words and phrases over and over. Mildly affected individuals may have huge vocabularies and enjoy carrying on monologues about their favorite subjects.
People with autism may be unable to understand expressions that aren’t designed to be taken literally. Being unable to comprehend the tone of voice and body language is a prevailing symptom. When you have ASD, it’s common to be very frustrated with yourself and act out because of it.
Additionally, you may also experience:
When you’re unable to understand social cues and people’s differing tones of voice, you may become frustrated and angry. The world is an overwhelming and confusing place when you have autism. You feel very alone. Ordinary touches, sights, tastes, sounds and smells might be painful. Often, environments seem hostile. You might feel withdrawn, particularly when you’re in a busy place.
People might confuse you because you interpret language literally. You may suffer from blowups and meltdowns when your senses go into overload.
You may also have some brilliant skills. Perhaps you have a photographic memory, or you are amazing at drawing. ASD can be frightening when you’re living with it every day. It can also be a gift.
According to Autism Speaks, autism can result in intellectual disabilities and is more prevalent in boys:
If you think you might have ASD, experts encourage an early diagnosis for the best treatment outcome. You can reduce difficulties and focus on your strengths with proper care. There is no single best treatment as every autistic individual is different. Some methods of treatment include the following.
Your doctor may prescribe you medication to help with:
All medications come with the risk of side effects. For example, antipsychotic medications cause sedation and extreme lethargy. Perhaps this is why more people turn to natural methods like medical marijuana for autism to treat their symptoms.
Intensive skill-oriented training sessions, such as sensory integration therapy, floor time, behavior modification and pivotal response training, can help you overcome difficulties. You may also be offered family therapy.
There is a growing body of positive anecdotal evidence from both the parents of autistic children and the medical community that suggest taking cannabis for autism is an effective treatment. Researcher and clinical psychologist Dr. Giovanni Martinez is currently researching treating ASD children with CBD (cannabidiol) oil.
In one case, a child who received a twice daily dose of hemp oil spoke his first words after treatment. In just three weeks, he developed sign language skills after previously being non-verbal. The child in question was once so frustrated about being unable to communicate that he would self-injure. He can now express himself and is happily enjoying life.
Medical marijuana has been known to be a solution to alleviating outbursts of rage, seizures and temper tantrums among autism patients. Cannabis and cannabis-based products such as concentrates and tinctures can be responsible for the lessening of any erratic actions that may have occurred in the past. Patients who use medical marijuana to treat their symptoms become extremely relaxed and very attentive to what they are doing. Best put, medical marijuana can serve as an exceptional behavioral modification, which can protect both the health and safety of an autistic patient.
The state of Pennsylvania has approved autism as a qualified condition for the use of medical marijuana. Delaware has okayed autism with self-injurious or aggressive behavior as a qualifying condition.
Medical pot can be used to treat the seizures, communication problems, a tendency to self-harm, inability to sleep, and potentially more. With this in mind, let’s take a look at some of the best strains to use for treating autism.
There are many different strains of medical cannabis for autism available to purchase from dispensaries. Each has its unique effects. To find out what’s best suited to you, it’s a good idea to speak with a knowledgeable budtender or your medical marijuana doctor. Before you do that, you can take a look at this short list for background information.
A worrying and frightening symptom of autism is often having seizures. If these affect you and you don’t want to take conventional medications, the following cannabis strains may work for you:
When you’re on the autistic spectrum, it’s common to experience communication difficulties as well as an inability to relax. The following strains should offer some relief from these symptoms:
Cannabis is well known for its sedative qualities. There is probably nothing worse for your health than not sleeping. As you sleep, your body has the chance to repair itself. You recharge. If you have autism and are unable to sleep, the following heavy indica strains will do the trick:
Medical cannabis is worth a try if you feel conventional treatments are just not working for you or you need some additional help treating your symptoms.
Now that you know about some of the most effective strains of medical cannabis for autism symptoms, you need to know how to take them. You focus on health when you’re using cannabis medically. Therefore, you probably don’t want to smoke it. We all know the dangers of smoking, so what are the alternatives? You can take marijuana in various ways, including:
The above methods of using medical marijuana may be right for you if you’re focusing on your health. They eliminate smoke and enable you to try different ways of taking pot so you can find the perfect method for you. Taking medical pot doesn’t need to mean smoking a joint. There are many far less obvious ways of taking your cannabis whenever you need to. Considering these different ways of taking medical marijuana, there will be a method that suits you.
If you or someone close to you is searching for a way to relieve the symptoms of autism, it’s time to take that next step. Search for a medical marijuana doctor or dispensary today to find out more about cannabis and autism. Take back control of your health and improve your quality of life.
This information is not provided by medical professionals and is intended only to complement, and not to replace or contradict, any health or medical advice or information provided by healthcare professionals. If you have any questions, please contact your doctor or other healthcare professional.