Scientific evidence: Cannabis and Autism

Some forms of autism are believed to result from an insufficient amount ofendocannabinoids, the body’s own healthy molecules that are very similar to phytocannabinoids like THC and CBD provided by herbs like cannabis. A lack of endocannabinoids has been labeled endocannabinoid deficiency and is known to be responsible for a multitude of diseases and conditions. It is theorized that this dysfunction in the production of proper levels of endocannabinoids may be one of the primary causes of autism. The Autism Research Institute believes that many symptoms of autism can be mitigated through the use of properly titrated (dosed) cannabis: “Some of the symptoms medical marijuana has ameliorated include: Anxiety — even severe anxiety — aggression, panic disorder, generalized rage, tantrums, property destruction, and self-injurious behavior.” Another study from 2013 that was published in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders revealed a link between the endocannabinoid system and immune cells in children with autism. Because immune dysfunction is a factor that contributes to autism, the condition is believed to be linked to higher levels of CB2 receptors in cells (CB1 receptors, on the contrary, were not overexpressed). CB2 receptors play a significant role in regulation of the immune system. Because problems with the immune system are so closely related to autism, the authors of the study concluded that the use of cannabinoids and therapies that target CB2 receptors might be helpful for those who suffer from ASD.

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