by Paul Fassa
Health Impact News

On the last week of February 2018, Newsweek ran an article titled, “Is Marijuana the World’s Most Effective Treatment for Autism?” The question alone was controversial. Medical marijuana for autism directly implies using cannabis on kids.

This is a shocking proposal to those who are convinced that using cannabis on kids is heinous and harmful. Another consideration widely held by those who don’t know better is that using cannabis is psychotropic and shouldn’t be used on minors.

But almost everyone in that group concerned about exacerbating brain disorders with cannabis are totally fine with the common practice of prescribing synthetic pharmaceuticals such as Ritalin, similar to amphetamine, and dangerous anti-psychotic drugs to young children whose behavior is even just considered socially inappropriate.

With the increasingly mounting evidence of cannabis efficacy for epilepsy, autism, and autistic children with seizures, it’s time to reconsider those mind-controlled biases on cannabis for children with the steadily rising rates of autism among children whose whole families are burdened with a lifetime of intense around-the-clock expensive care.

A Single Mom’s Desperation with a Severely Autistic Son In Israel

This story is the centerpiece of a Newsweek article’s coverage, which leads to connecting Israeli doctors and researchers on the vanguard of applying medical cannabis to autistic children. The article did not use the surname of either the single mother, Sharon, or her autistic son Benjamin.

In 2016, Sharon, overwhelmed by her son’s violent episodes of running in circles screaming, banging his head, destroying furniture, and intentionally defecating on the floor, was allowed to enroll in a Jerusalem pediatric clinical trial using a CBD to THC ratio of 20 to 1 cannabis oil on 60 low functioning aggressive self destructive autistic patients aged 5 to 21. (Source)

The ratio of CBD to THC used for this study was the same as the cannabis hybrid created by Colorado cannabis growers, especially for Charlotte Figi. At the time she was only five years old and having 300 grand mal seizures a week, often with her heart stopping.

Almost immediately after oral dosing with Charlotte’s Web, her seizure rate dropped to the two to four weekly range with less heart-stopping violence. Now Charlotte at 11 is living a normal life with her twice daily small dose of Charlotte’s Web oil. (Source)

Within two weeks of administering the oil orally twice a day, Benjamin began improving considerably. He was calmer and friendlier. This doesn’t mean he was merely sedated. His special education teacher recommended Benjamin attend regular school at the first-grade level, normal for his six years of age. Sharon’s overwhelming parental burden finally lessened. Sharon was now a mother of a normal child.

Jerusalem pediatric neurologist Dr. Adi Aran and others had already discovered that Charlotte’s Web and similar strains were effective and safe for epileptic children and had been prescribing it or similar strains for epileptic children since 2013.

Some were both epileptic and autistic, which is fairly common. Among them, some had improvements in both epilepsy and autism, while a few others experienced autistic condition improvements without much relief from seizures.

Dr. Aran and others had noticed this overlap among those children he had been prescribed cannabis. So he developed the 2016 trial to include only “low functioning” severely autistic children who were seizure free. The inspiration for testing autistic children with a low THC high CBD cannabis strain was established.

“We [in the medical community] saw children with epilepsy and autism really improve, not just in their epilepsy but also in their behavior. Sometimes it was only the autism symptoms that improved,” explained Dr. Aran.

As reported by the recent Newsweek article, Dr. Adi Aran’s 2016 six month trial was highly successful. In addition to Benjamin’s dramatic changes, all the children showed improvement and half the 60 severe autism patients within the trial’s six-month follow-up experienced dramatic reductions with core symptoms of autism, which are mainly:

1) Persistent difficulties with social communication and social interaction, which can be as severe as totally withdrawn and refusing to speak, usually referred to a non-speaking autism.

2) Restricted, repetitive patterns of behavior, interests, or activities is another autism core issue. For example, they may develop an overwhelming interest in something that ignores all else completely, they may follow inflexible routines or rituals, they may compulsively make repetitive body movements, and they may be hypersensitive to certain sounds. (Source)

Some “high functioning” autistic children may exhibit high intelligence in certain areas while “low functioning” autistic children may have very low cognitive skills and learning disabilities. The worst behavioral condition within the second core symptom may involve banging body parts against or with hard surfaces and aggressive behavior.

Full Spectrum Cannabis Not Allowed for Autism in Most USA Medical Marijuana States

Israel’s national medical cannabis program is the most advanced national system in the world. Of course, its small population, currently at around 8.5 million, approximates some of our mid-size states. But just last year cannabis was prescribed to 25,000 patients with epilepsy, cancer, PTSD, pain, and other degenerative diseases.

Now Israel is pushing toward prescribing cannabis for autistic kids. With their constant searching for the right strains to match specific symptoms and almost immediately prescribing them, they are the ideal model of how to make progress with using cannabis medically for children.

However, parents of autistic children in the USA run into problems when attempting to obtain even the 20 to 1 CBD to THC ratio of cannabis oils or tinctures if their children are not suffering from epilepsy. But CBD without THC is allowed for intractable epileptic seizures even in some non-medical marijuana states.

But some seizure prone autistic children or aggressively destructive autism core types, like Benjamin in Israel, do not fully respond or respond then relapse with CBD alone. For the most part, parents of autistic children whose cases are worsening turn to cannabis for their kids on their own, underground, even “illegally” with great results.

Sometimes they’re supported by medical practitioners or psychiatrists. Here’s an example of one who broke the taboo of giving cannabis to her child with great results with support from a psychiatrist in California.

Marijuana Treatment for Autistic Children

It may be possible to use co-morbid conditions, such as brain damage, that are allowed for cannabis use in addition to intractable seizure. MAMMA (Mothers Advocating Medical Marijuana for Autism) is campaigning to get autism on the books as a legitimate disorder for cannabis treatments wherever medical marijuana is legal.

MAMMA co-founders Amy Lou Fawell and Thalia Michelle, both with autistic children, in one of the most medical marijuana unfriendly states, Texas, explain the resistance to their agenda is the mindset that autism is a psychological or behavioral malady, not medical, and cannabis would just create more mental disturbance and inappropriate behavior.

The DSM-5, the latest psychiatric manual for diagnosis of mental diseases states within their version of autism:

“The symptoms are not attributable to another medical or neurological condition.”

Thus most of the medical profession and the CDC simply parrot the DSM-5’s observable behavioral patterns as all there is to know about autism. (Source) 

Even the Charlotte’s Web cannabis strain has some THC in it. And that is a “danger” of concern for most state legislators and other government officials with using it for “mental” conditions with children.

But the fact is that autism usually also has underlying medical physiological conditions. Brain scans of autistic children often show evidence of brain damage or inflammation.

Dr. Andrew Wakefield and his colleague Dr. John Walker-Smith were willing to hear what the parents of a dozen autistic children with intensely painful gastrointestinal illnesses had to say, that they were fine until their MMR vaccinations.

Their medical situation was part of their autism. Wakefield and Smith did some blood workups to confirm a link to the MMR vaccine among these kids. And all those two doctors did was write-up a clinical report about the kids and what their parents said, suggesting the MMR (mumps, measles, rubella) should be broken up into the three shots given at separate times.

But the MMR was a big seller for Glaxo-Smith Kline and Merck. What was perceived as a threat to those sales motivated an all-out attack on Dr. Wakefield, who became the target of slanderous claims that the media still supports … but that’s another story, told well here.

The point is that that autism is not just a psychological condition. This notion has also made it easier for Big Pharma and mainstream media to dismiss the notion that vaccines cause autism, and difficult for government legislators and bureaucrats to grasp, especially if they still suffer from “Reefer Madness” syndrome.

Dawn Wanser explains the dilemma she had to deal with when her young son Jacob relapsed from his CBD alone induced relief. After using full spectrum cannabis with THC to restore his previously short-lived relief, Dawn explained:

“In short, high Cannabidiol (CBD) oil alone began to fail. I understand the big push on CBD oils with no presence of THC, but it’s only part of the solution. Our son’s life depends on all of the medicinal properties represented in the [whole] marijuana plant. (…) No, my son is not stoned or high. He is alive and he is seizure free.” (Source)

The following video presents MAMMA’s case for following Israel’s research lead to allow full spectrum cannabis with THC for difficult autism cases.

Cannabis for Autism: Stories of Hope

Due largely to increased vaccination demands and other toxic food and environment factors, the horror of life-long autism ruining families is constantly increasing. With mainstream medicine’s failure to even moderately improve those children’s quality of life, desperate parents of autistic children are gradually accepting the medicinal qualities of cannabis.

This next video features Scientist Raphael Mechoulam, the discoverer of the human endocannabinoid system and the first to isolate THC as the primary active ingredient of cannabis’ healing qualities.

The video presentation is not dry and boring. It is as entertaining as it is insightful and informative, a real “must watch,” that reveals how much that’s known about cannabis is withheld from public knowledge.