When looking at who uses cannabis products, one group of people that is often overlooked is the autistic community. April is Autism Acceptance Month, so let’s look at what autism is, how cannabis helps autistic people, and what the future has in store for autism and cannabis.
Autism Spectrum Disorder
What is autism?
First discovered in 1911 by a German psychiatrist, Eugen Bleuler, Autism is a developmental disorder that involves challenges with communication, repetitive behaviors, and restricted interests. As a person with autism, these symptoms all resonate. Around 2% of adults in the United States have autism, according to a study published by the CDC in 2020. That translates to approximately 6.5 million adults having autism, which opens up the possibilities for these adults to use cannabis.
How do Autism and Cannabinoids connect?
How might cannabis help autistic patients?
One reason why cannabis has been found to be helpful for autistic people may involve how cannabis works on the brain. When it comes to preventing seizures, CBD can block CB1 receptors in the brain, which are responsible for controlling neuron excitability. Cannabis has also been found to treat depression and restlessness in children and teenagers with autism.
CBD Treatment for Autism
Around 20% of people with autism have epilepsy, and cannabis has been found to treat seizures. The FDA approved Epidolex, a CBD-based prescription medication used to treat seizures. Further evidence for cannabis helping autistic individuals comes from a 2019 study in Israel that found medical cannabis eases the symptoms of autistic children.
Accessibility of cannabis for autistic people
The cost of getting a medical card for CBD can vary depending on the state you live in. The average price of a medical card ranges from $35-200. If you have trouble accessing a medical card, there are plenty of great CBD products that don’t require a card. Fusion is a company that sells CBD products online. It and other CBD sites are options for those looking to buy cannabis-related products.
Is Medical Marijuana Approved For Autism?
Depending on which state you reside in, autism is considered a qualifying condition to receive medical cannabis. These include states like Colorado, Pennsylvania, and Texas, while states like California and Florida only allow medical cannabis for debilitating conditions at the doctor’s discretion.
Is cannabis safe for people with autism?
While there have been studies showing the positive effects of medical cannabis on children with autism, The American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry recommends not giving children with autism cannabis-related products since there are risks related to cognition, brain structure, and brain function. As for the wider autism population, research from Florida International University found that CBD oils can treat some symptoms of autism, but there is not enough long-term data to know how safe it is.
The future of autism and cannabis
One company that is exploring how medical cannabis can help autistic people is Cannformatics. This biotechnology startup claims to have found over 20 lipid-based cannabis-responsive biomarkers in the saliva of autistic children. Their website states that they use metabolomics, a process that involves the detection, analysis, and quantification of metabolites. Metabolites, by the way, are a series of molecules found in the metabolism. According to the Cannformatics site, the ultimate goal is to “allow us to determine cannabis’ mode of action and eventually predict the impact of medical cannabis treatment on each individual.”
Ways to accept autistic people who don’t enjoy cannabis
If you are a cannabis consumer and have autistic friends who don’t necessarily enjoy cannabis, make sure to include them in activities that don’t involve smoking. This can range from everything from playing video games to talking about anime. Another essential thing to keep in mind is not to force an autistic person or really any person to consume cannabis. Someone may not want to consume weed for a number of reasons, and some of them may involve their autism. Whatever the case may be, always be mindful of who you’re with and respect and understand their condition.
Tips for autistic people looking to enjoy marijuana
If you are autistic and looking into smoking or consuming cannabis, first know your sensitivities. How you want to consume cannabis may take a more significant toll on your body. If you want something that tastes sweet and has minimal odor, consuming an edible might be your best option for getting high. If you like the feeling of grinding something or flicking a lighter, smoking could be an option for you. Another essential safety tip is to make sure you know who and where you are getting your weed from and where you are when consuming. This advice can also be applied to those who don’t have autism but who are new to consuming cannabis.
Best THC and CBD Strains for Autism
When finding the best CBD and THC strains for autism, it’s important to know the difference between the two different types of strains. Sativa strains are usually more energizing, while Indica strains tend to be more relaxing. One CBD strain that is recommended if you’re autistic and interested in cannabis is Charlotte’s Web. It contains around 16% CBD and 1% THC, which is excellent at treating seizures. Another CBD strain that is recommended is Ringo’s Gift. It has 24% CBD and 1% THC and is best for treating depression and anxiety. As for THC strains, Royal Haze has been known to treat autism, inflammation, and stress, and it contains around 20% THC. Royal Dwarf is also another THC strain that is known to help with autism; that has approximately 16% THC and is also suitable for fighting anxiety.