Autism is a grim specter that has cast a dark shadow over America in the past few decades. Currently, 1 in 68 children and 1 in 42 boys. Boys are five times more likely to have autism than girls. Autism is also an enormous expense, costing the average family in America $60,000 a year or more.
Possible signs of autism at any age:
•Avoids eye contact and prefers to be alone
•Struggles with understanding other people’s feelings
•Remains nonverbal or has delayed language development
•Repeats words or phrases over and over (echolalia)
•Gets upset by minor changes in routine or surroundings
•Has highly restricted interests
•Performs repetitive behaviors such as flapping, rocking or spinning
•Has unusual and often intense reactions to sounds, smells, tastes, textures, lights and/or colors
“A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.”
– Sir Winston Churchill
Due to a miraculous observation during an unrelated study, researchers in Israel are discovering that an extract made with raw cannabis is stunning researchers with what they have observed. The following is excerpted from an interview that first appeared on marijuana.com with the head researcher on this amazing project –
A study published in 2013 compared the number of cannabinoid receptors on blood cells in autistic children to aged-match healthy children. Researchers discovered a stark difference between children with autism and those without.
The study showed that children with autism had more cannabinoid receptors on their white blood cells — the body was essentially increasing its intake valve as a way to consume more cannabinoids. This suggests a possible cannabinoid deficiency in children with autism spectrum disorder, researchers believe their data “indicate CB2 receptor as potential therapeutic target for the pharmacological management of the autism care.”
Today, Israel-based licensed producer Better Pharmaceuticals is utilizing whole plant cannabis oil treatments in open clinical trials for children with autism.
“Autism is something that happens from birth and we don’t know why,” said Yohai Golan-Gild, founder and CTO of Better Pharmaceuticals, in an interview with Marijuana.com.
Golan-Gild added that Better Pharmaceuticals found evidence of cannabis and its potential to treat autism purely by coincidence. “We stumbled upon it by mistake. We weren’t looking at autism, we were treating epileptic children in Israel,” he said. “A lot of our epileptic children were autistic.”
As Better Pharmaceuticals was studying and treating children with epilepsy, they noticed one of their patients, a nonverbal autistic and epileptic child, started speaking for the first time. “When you are 11 or 12 years old and you haven’t said a thing your whole life, starting to speak is a very big deal,” said Golan-Gild.
The researchers paid close attention to the effects of cannabis on their autistic patients in the epilepsy study. “We started seeing a lot of information there,” said Golan-Gild.
The Israeli government gave Better Pharmaceuticals permission to observe autistic children taking medicinal cannabis. “We are [now] treating children with several types of cannabis to see which one works the best,” he said.
According to Golan-Gild, the results thus far have been incredible. “We observed children speaking for the first time, several kids, which is tremendous. We observed kids stopping to be violent, stopping to have outbursts, stopping to bang their heads and cut themselves.”
“The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short, but in setting our aim too low, and achieving our mark.”
– Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni
He pointed to the semblance of a normal life for his subjects. Things that most families take for granted, like riding a bus to school without a helmet, become significant achievements for kids accustomed to protective headgear and private transportation.
And while these changes may sound small, they represent an end to the struggle with episodes of violence, panic, and various other major challenges related to the disorder — the difference after cannabis can be remarkable.
From Epilepsy to Autism, cannabis is again showing what a truly versatile plant it is at providing relief from a variety of life-altering disorders. Frankly, the fact that we can treat everything from chronic pain to inflammation and Epilepsy to Autism with one single plant is nothing short of a medical miracle.
Perhaps the most exciting aspect of all this is the cannabis plant contains 113 different cannabinoids. Only a handful have been tested or evaluated in any way and the amazing variety of treatments comes from only a few of those 113. By the time all those cannabinoids are tested medically, it is almost a forgone conclusion that cannabis will be the most medicinally active plant known to man. A fact that stands in stark contrast to the rhetoric of “Marijuana isn’t medicine”.