Is This Cannabinoid Being Overlooked as a Treatment for Autism?

Is This Cannabinoid Being Overlooked as a Treatment for Autism?


The World Health Organization estimates that as many as 1 out of every 160 children has some level of Autism spectrum disorder.

Autism spectrum disorder is a developmental disorder that affects communication and behavior, with varying levels of severity. 

Difficulty with social interactions and restrictive or repetitive patterns of behavior are common characteristics of autism spectrum disorder.

Researchers around the globe have investigated whether the cannabis plant may be able to treat the condition, with differing results depending on the study.

CBD Versus THC

The cannabis plant contains dozens of cannabinoids, with CBD and THC being two of the most well known examples.

CBD is a particularly popular cannabinoid for research that involves children, including adolescent autism spectrum disorder, because CBD does not cause euphoria.

THC, on the other hand, does induce euphoria, which is a major taboo when it comes to treating children with any condition, no matter how debilitating the condition may be.

However, researchers in Israel recently determined that THC may be a better treatment for adolescent autism spectrum disorder.

“Studies that are underway mostly don’t focus enough on the details of what it is in the cannabis that may be helping people,” researcher Shani Poleg told The Times of Israel. “In our study, we looked at the details, and came up with surprising and interesting findings.

“THC was more effective. The main difference was that THC treatment also improved social behavior, not only repetitive compulsive behavior,” Poleg said.

Reducing the Stigma

One thing that is absolutely worth noting is that in a perfect scenario, no patient would ever be forced to choose between CBD and THC. 

Rather, they could use both if both cannabinoids are determined to be safe and effective for the particular patient and scenario.

Yes, THC does induce euphoria. However, so do many other medicines that are given to children every day across the globe, including non-cannabis medicines used to treat adolescent autism spectrum disorder.

Some day, hopefully, THC will not carry the stigma that it currently does, and parents and doctors will be able to base their treatment decisions solely on science and not have their decisions influenced by anti-cannabis propaganda.

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