A quarterly publication of the Autism Research Institute

The Autism Research Review International is quarterly publication of the Autism Research Institute

Summer, 2018 | Number 3, Volume 32

Medical marijuana may significantly improve ASD symptoms

Researchers in Israel report that medical marijuana may be highly effective in treating behavior problems and other symptoms of autism spectrum disorders (ASD). 

Adi Aran and colleagues administered the marijuana constituents cannabidiol and tetrahydrocannabinol orally at a ratio of 20:1 to 60 children with ASD, using multiple scales to evaluate the results. They report that following treatment, behavioral outbreaks lessened significantly in 61% of participants. Anxiety and communication problems improved significantly in 39% and 47% of participants, respectively. In addition, parents reported less stress as a result of their children’s behavior. Side effects included sleep disturbances in 14% of children, irritability in 9%, and loss of appetite in 9%. 

The researchers conclude, “This preliminary study supports the feasibility of cannabidiol-based medical cannabis as a promising treatment option for refractory behavioral problems in children with ASD.” They are now conducting a large, double-blind, placebo-controlled cross-over trial to see if they can replicate their results.


Citations

“Association between ultrasonography fetal anomalies and autism spectrum disorder,” Ohad Regev, Amnon Hadar, Gal Meiri, Hagit Flusser, Analya Michaelovski, Ilan Dinstein, Reli Hersh- kovitz, and Idan Menashe, Brain, January 17, 2022 (online). Address: Idan Menashe, Department of Public Health, Faculty of Health Sciences, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Beer Sheva 8410501, Israel, [email protected]

—and—

“Cannabidiol based medical cannabis in children with autism-a retrospective feasibility study,” Adi Aran, Hanoch Cassuto, and Asael Lubotzky, Neurology, April 24, 2018 (free online). Address: Adi Aran, Pediatric Neurology, Shaare Zedek Medical Center, Jerusalem, Israel.