Medical Cannabis Treats Autism


Once thought to be the sole domain of criminals, jazz musicians, and beatniks, marijuana is coming into the mainstream as a viable treatment for a wide variety of ailments, including autism. For many, medical cannabis is now found to be a treatment that works when all others have failed. After pharmaceuticals cease working and other medically prescribed treatments come up lacking, many parents have found that plant medication is what works for their kids and family.

In addition to the stunning anecdotal evidence, scientists at Stanford and UC Irvine have found that the active ingredients in cannabis, cannabinoids, are indicated in the treatment of autism-linked mutations and Fragile-X syndrome. The Stanford study found that the endocannabinoid system, which is the body’s natural cannabinoid system, was disrupted in autistics, and that marijuana helped the system correct itself.

The UC Irvine study showed that once the cannabinoid system was regulated with marijuana, autistic mice improved in measures of anxiety and open-space acceptance. While neither study found that the plant medicine was a cure, the door is open to further research, giving hope to autistic patients.

Parents have reported that once they had exhausted medical treatments for autism and opted to try medical cannabis their children became more relaxed and  even found enjoyment in things which previously were of no interest to them. One parent noted that her son had no interest in playing with toys. However, after receiving the plant medicine she found that he wanted to sit in his room and engage in imaginative play with toys.

Children who are treated with cannabis are not merely medicated into a stupor so that they can be handled by frazzled parents. Rather, their sometimes violent behavior is mellowed and they able to enjoy a tranquil state, even those who have been known to experience self-destructive rage, a situation likely to endanger them and those around them.

One Oregon family, whose son had to be placed in a group home, reported that their son explored the world around him when treated with marijuana. The family had to experiment to find the correct dosage, but once they determined how much was appropriate their son was calm after receiving the medicine. His father said that his son even smiled.

While the boy is not cured of his problem his symptoms are temporarily managed in a safe and effective manner. Though his federally-funded group home is prohibited from using medical cannabis to treat his autism, the family is able to take him out several times per week to give him respite from the troubles which plague him every day. His parents hope that some day federal law can be as compassionate as they are.

In states allowing patients to receive medical cannabis, doctors are free to prescribe it to any who they feel can benefit. Parents often give the substance to their children in an edible form. In California, pharmacists are working on a variety of edible cannabis products designed to treat specific maladies. In the absence of a dispensary with such advanced treatment possibilities, a parent can take leaf marijuana and infuse it into butter or oil, then add that to foods, including cookies and brownies.

Many doctors are reluctant to work with parents, leaving them in the position of having to shop around for a physician who will work with them. Parents must seek out a doctor whose philosophy is in line with theirs and who will seek the best possible treatment for a child, whether or not the medication is considered conventional.

For years, considering marijuana a medicine or other sober discussions of the plant were laughed off in the media with stale references to Cheech and Chong, or punchlines about the ″munchies,″ a symptom of marijuana use where appetite is stimulated. The lack of informative journalism perpetuated a stigma around a plant medicine that many find to be a viable source of help. Unfortunately, the stigma persists when children are the patients. Children who live with autism may be helped by medical cannabis, which is non-toxic, non-addictive, and known to stimulate creativity and emotional awareness.

By Hobie Anthony
Huffington Post
Denver Relief
Autism Daily Newscast

10 Responses to "Medical Cannabis Treats Autism"

  1. Marya Larimer   March 7, 2019 at 7:39 pm

    I was curious if you ever considered changing the page layout of your site? Its very well written; I love what youve got to say. But maybe you could a little more in the way of content so people could connect with it better. Youve got an awful lot of text for only having 1 or two images. Maybe you could space it out better?

  2. Stephen ciminna   December 25, 2016 at 3:31 pm

    I find your article interesting my grandson is autistic he is 6 years old. He is in school for special needs children 5 days a week. He doesn’t speak although he can make all types of sounds. My son and his mother are happy with the school,
    They send home progress reports almost on a daily basis. However I don’t see any of the progress they are talking about for myself. I’m interested In Finding more information about the studies about marijuana and autism. If I’m not mistaken the article is from 2014 over 2 years ago if there is an update I would like to read it.
    S. Ciminna
    [email protected]

  3. c   January 27, 2016 at 6:39 pm

    I wish this was an option in idaho

  4. Troyt   January 30, 2015 at 8:37 pm

    Harlequin is an excellent strain for autism.

  5. chuck green   December 28, 2014 at 9:30 pm

    Harlequin X Tsunami

  6. Angela Sheaffer   September 26, 2014 at 8:03 am

    My daughter is very autistic..there is a stigma surrounding the use of marijuana..We live in Illinois and all pharma have been used. She suffers daily and no on including her fathet understands that I am more than ready to give it a chance. Thank you for your time.

  7. newzealandatrc   August 22, 2014 at 7:35 pm

    Finally a simpler cure than rapamycin for autism.
    Khawar Nehal

  8. Rita   August 15, 2014 at 1:10 pm

    Can you imagine Big Pharma and the Mexican Drug Lords going at it for the profits? This option will become available to try when my son is an old man. My son has not had sucess with any pharmceuticals…..biomed, homeopathy, we have tried going at it from every aspect. My son has severe behavior. Wish there were a way to try……something different….It cant hurt, at this point. we have literally tried every thing, and he still struggles as an adult.

  9. Peter Jasonides   July 30, 2014 at 8:08 pm

    Are there doctors in Melbourne (Australia) that will co-operate?

  10. Tomi E   July 17, 2014 at 11:12 pm

    California is still forcing profoundly disabled people to get a state ID card in order to get medical cannabis. Many seriously ill and disabled people can’t talk, are still like children, and are tormented by having to have their picture taken at a DMV, yet without it, they are denied access to medical cannabis to help them with pain, insomnia, gastrointestinal issues and other serious medical problems. Very strange.


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