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  • American Cannabis Report Editorial Staff

New Research on Cannabis' Effectiveness against Autism

In all the headline-grabbing hoo-ha about memos and market share and tax revenues, it can be easy to forget that the front line of cannabis legalization includes kids with medical issues for which cannabis has been successful where nothing else has worked, or shows promise.

Israeli scientists, such as pioneer Raphael Mecholam, have been on the forefront of cannabis studies for decades. New research reported by Jon Hiltz "New Research into the Effectiveness of Cannabis for Autism" indicates promising new results for children with autism.

Hiltz says a 2013 study shows that children with autism have a very different number of cannabinoid receptors in their white blood cells, indicating - as if "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."

The 2013 study, ("Cannabinoid receptor type 2, but not type 1, is up-regulated in peripheral blood mononuclear cells of children affected by autistic disorders") is published by the National Library of Medicine and formed the basis for further study into the connection between the cannabinoid receptors and a treatment regimen including whole-plant cannabis. But in a case of unintended results, the original study was NOT about autism.

Yohai Golan-Gild, founder and CTO of Better Pharmaceuticals, commented, "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."

Though the company has not found a definitive treatment regimen for all patients, the Israeli government has given Better Pharmaceuticals permission to observe autistic children taking medicinal cannabis. We believe this is because the Israeli government, like those of a growing number of countries around the world, recognize that suffering people should have access to the medicines found in cannabis, not just punishment.

Early results are encouraging. Israeli doctors have observed:

  • "[Several] children have spoken for the first time

  • Kids stopping to be violent, stopping to have outbursts, stopping to bang their heads and cut themselves

  • A 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 at least one intriguing result: “[So far] we have learned that female autistic children do not get any benefit from any cannabis. Male children taking whole plant oil had a lot of success."

The company is expanding the trials to other countries, beginning double-blind studies in 2018 and expanding the research to Australia, the Czech Republic, and Germany.

It is tragic and embarrassing that the United States, with its vast scientific resources and no shortage of kids who need relief, cannot be on this list.

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