Robert Bergman

May 9, 2019

Autism Spectrum Disorder is becoming fairly common in the United States. It is estimated that 1 in 45 children have autism. This condition impacts social skills and increases the risk of certain other disorders.

There is no ‘cure’ cure for autism, but doctors will treat some of its associated symptoms with pharmaceutical drugs. For children (and adults) that take those medications, there is a risk of causing secondary issues. While not everyone uses medications for their autism, those that do must manage a wide range of additional side effects.

Many of the symptoms associated with autism can be treated with marijuana. CBD is an especially useful treatment for autistic children as it helps calm anxiety and inflammation. In this article, we will discuss the basics of autism and explain how CBD (and marijuana) can help treat it.

In this video, you can see the first hand effects of high THC marijuana on a girl who has autism.

What is Autism

Also known as Autism Spectrum Disorder, Autism is a collection of disorders that have major impacts on the development of the brain. Autism is characterized by repetitive behaviors, problems with social engagement and communication difficulties. Sufferers sometimes cause injuries to themselves.

Autism – Image powered by Squarespace.com

There are a wide range of strengths and challenges related to people with autism spectrum disorder, which are reflected using the term “spectrum.” The most obvious symptoms of autism generally occur in children between the ages of 2-3 years old, or as early as just 18 months old. Parents who are concerned their children may have this disorders should have them evaluated immediately. Early intervention can greatly improve overall outcomes.


What Causes Autism

Autism experts are still unsure exactly what causes autism or Autism Spectrum Disorder. But, there does appear to be multiple causes. Some circumstances, including biologic, environmental and genetic factors, are believed to be contributing factors in the development of the disorder.

What Causes Autism – Image powered by Slideplayer.com

Genetic Factors

Genes are also believed to be a major factor in the development of autism. According to studies, identical twins have a greater chance of both being affected than fraternal twins, who are not genetically identical. If a family has one child that’s autistic, there’s a 1-in-20 chance of another autistic child being born into the family.

A link has been found between autism and an abnormal gene. It may be one of many genes that engage somehow to cause autism. Scientists suspect that factors such as chemicals, viruses, chemical imbalances or lack of oxygen at birth, combined with faulty genes can also increase chances of developing the disorder.

It seems that there is no one gene at fault. Researchers have been studying irregular segments of genetic code that may have been inherited by autistic children. Other research is underway to determine whether the brain’s development may be affected by a collection of unstable genes. These genes may impact an unborn child during pregnancy and/or childbirth.

Biologic Factors

There have been a few known cases where autistic behavior was caused by various other disorders and diseases. Some of these include German measles (rubella) in the mother while pregnant, tuberous sclerosis (causes brain and other tumors) and encephalitis (brain inflammation). Some cases have also been linked to PKU (untreated phenylketonuria) and fragile X syndrome (intellectual disability).

Environmental Factors

There are also environmental factors that can contribute to autism development. Pesticides, environmental toxins, mercury and other heavy metals have been known to cause the disorder.
Over the years, heavy metals have become more of a concern because they are more commonly encountered now than in the past. This may be because autistic people, or those with high risks of developing it, may be more sensitive to developing autism than others.

Symptoms of Autism

The symptoms of Autism Spectrum Disorder include social engagement issues, communication problems, and repetitive behaviors. But, these symptoms and the severity vary from child to child, across these three core areas.

Social Engagement Issues

Babies become social (responding to voices, smiling, etc…) by the age of 2-3 months old. Children with autism have a hard time with everyday human interactions. By 8-10 months, failure to react to name being called, delayed cooing and babbling and very low interest in people (emotionless) are signs autism may exist.

Symptoms of Autism
Symptoms of Autism – Image powered by Livingautismnow.com

Communication Problems

Children should be at a certain milestone when it comes to learning language by a year old. They should be able to say a word or two, respond to their names and point to objects. Toddlers should also be able to express their dislike for something verbally and through expressions.

Repetitive Behaviors

Autistic children tend to only partake in a very limited range of activities. Many are found to have unusual repetitive behaviors. At times, they can be self-stimulating, like watching fingers move. Some of these common repetitions include:

• Jumping
• Rocking
• Hand-flapping
• Arranging objects
• Rearranging objects
• Twirling
• Repeating phrases, words or sounds

Current Treatments for Autism

Medications for Autistic Children

There is no cure for autism. But, its symptoms can be treated using various medications, although there’s no standard medication recommended. The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests determining the one or two biggest behavioral issues, and target those with meds.

Some of the medications currently being used to help treat the behaviors caused by autism include:

• antipsychotic medicines
• selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs)

The most commonly used meds for treating autism go by the brand names Ritalin, Focalin, and Risperdal. Common side effects of antipsychotics and other such meds can include (but are not limited to):

• Blurry vision
• Constipation
• Dry mouth
• Flushing
• Drowsiness
• Weight gain
• Overdose
• Facial ticks
• Liver damage
• Seizures
• Lack of appetite
• May develop movement disorders, such as dystonia, parkinsonism, tardive dyskinesia (TD) or akathisia

Current Treatments for Autism – Image powered by Medicineforsure.com

Intervention for Autism

Another common treatment for autism spectrum disorder is intervention. This generally involves medication, behavioral treatment or both. Other medical conditions often accompany autism, such as GI (gastrointestinal) distress, sleep disorders and/or seizures.

When treating autism, it’s important to also treat these conditions to improve learning and other behaviors, and attention. Interventions take some time to work, and never work at all for some autistic children.

CBD and Autism

The complex neurobehavioral disorder known as autism affects communication skills and social language. Studies suggest that these limitations may be improved with the use of Cannabidiol (CBD). CBD can have a positive impact on the treatment of hyperactivity, smells, noises and hypersensitivity to physical sensations associated with autism spectrum disorder.

One CBD and autism study found that Cannabidiol regulated focus and emotion within autistic children. It acts as a neuroprotective agent, possibly helping to cease the degradation of the brain. Oral doses of CBD can help to regulate an autistic person’s mood, a major issue with the disorder.

CBD and Autism – Image powered by Cannabisnetworknews.com

Prescribed meds for autism require the correct dosages to be effective. However, with CBD, there are no dosages, as that is determined by the disorder’s severity. And, you don’t need to be concerned about the chances of overdosing on CBD.

CBD has also been documented to have successfully treated other symptoms of autism spectrum disorder. Some of these symptoms include hostility, rage, and anxiety. Cannabidiol helps by giving autistic patients a calm, steady and relaxed demeanor.

Medical Research on Medical Marijuana and Autism

Many researchers are leery of medical marijuana research due to federal legislation regarding the unorthodox treatment for various disorders, including autism. But, one mother, Mieko Hester-Perez was desperate to find relief for her son’s autism symptoms.

Her 10-year-old son suffered from severe autism, and wouldn’t even eat, dropping to 46 pounds. The various medications he was taking to control his autistic behavior, including Ritalin, Focalin, and Risperdal, took his appetite away, causing him to stop eating altogether.

According to Hester-Perez, medical marijuana gave her son the appetite he needed to start eating again. The improvement was noticeable immediately. The autistic child became mellow and less on-edge, and would even play with his toys in his room. This is something autistic children simply do not do. Here’s more on that.

One of the biggest concerns when it comes to autistic kids is the high probability of suffering from seizures after the onset of puberty. Results of a study were published by The US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health on using medical marijuana for treating seizures.

During the study, medical marijuana was given to participants to see whether it could help control focal epilepsy. The participants were reported to experience 100% complete control of the seizures.

When they stopped using marijuana, exacerbation, or major worsening, in convulsions were the result. Medical marijuana is also known to reduce anxiety. For autism patients, this can lead to a reduction in tantrums as well.

Medical Research on CBD and Autism

Experts report that immune system dysregulation is displayed in children with autism. These kids also display altered peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) immune responses. A study on thatthis was published by the US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health.

During the study, the involvement of CBD in peripheral blood mononuclear cells from autistic children was investigated. The data was compared to various levels of age-matched sufferers with normal healthy developing controls, in children with autism ranging in ages 3-9 years old.

Medical Research Form CBD and Autism – Image powered by Marijuana.com

Autistic children saw improvement as CB2 cannabinoid receptor type 2 levels increased significantly. Various factors related to the CB2 receptor indicates that it is an effective potential therapeutic source for autism care and management. Read more.


The marijuana plant (also known as a flower or bud) contains two primary compounds: CBD (Cannabidiol) and THC (tetrahydrocannabinol). THC is the compound that produces the high feeling known as psycho-activity.

THC vs CBD – Image powered by Endoca.com

CBD, on the other hand, is known for its medical properties – ones that could help with the symptoms of autism spectrum disorder. Unlike THC, CBD does not cause the user to get high or feel a buzz. Research shows that CBD has long-lasting positive effects. Some of the reported improvements include:

• Helps reduce pain
• Decreases (or ceases) seizures
• Reduces stress, anxiety, etc…
• Reduction in inflammation (including on the brain)

How to Take Medical Marijuana for Autism

The most common way to use medical marijuana is to smoke it. This method is not recommended for children, especially autistic children. Smoking marijuana is not only addictive, but it’s also not safe for young lungs.

There are other ways to take medical marijuana that is much easier to administer to children with autism. They all contain cannabis, administered in various fashions. They include:

• Sativex – Cannabis-based medicated mouth spray
• Liquid Cannabis Extractions – Applied underneath the tongue
• Cannabis Balms and Cannabis Salves – Rub on for temporary relief
• CBD Hemp Oil – Liquid created from cannabinoids extracted from the medical marijuana plant

CBD Oil for Autism

CBD oils are derived from Cannabinoids from the marijuana plant. These oils have shown to be effective for helping to alleviate the symptoms associated with autism spectrum disorder.
Using CBD oil as an autism treatment many help to control certain factors that could lead to negative autistic behaviors, such as:

• Hyperactivity
• Delayed or no response to social interactions
• Inability to communicate with others
• Hypersensitivity to sensations physically
• Sensitivity to various smells and noises

Oils created using CBD have been known to deliver therapeutic benefits for autistic patients. Some of its other benefits include:

• Anti-oxidant – Removes oxidizing agents in the system that are potentially damaging
• Anti-anxiety – Allows the user to experience a calmer, more settled state-of-mind

How to Grow Your Own Autism Medication

Although there is no cure for autism, medical studies show that medical marijuana can help treat the symptoms and negative effects caused by autism spectrum disorder. Cannabis sativa has been known to help autistic children rest better, sleep better and regain mobility.

Medical Marijuana – Image powered by Viorlife.com

Growing your own medical marijuana plant allows you to control your own meds. You can administer it when you like, and take full control of the doses. This will help you give your autistic child some relief from the negative feelings and behaviors of autism.

There are multiple strains of medical marijuana. According to studies, the sativa strain contains high amounts of CBD. So, some experts suggest this is the best strain of medical marijuana for treating the symptoms and behaviors associated with autism. Order your sativa today or learn more from this infographic by guardianhelmets.com.

cannabis autism infographic

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The founder of I Love Growing Marijuana, Robert Bergman, is a marijuana growing expert that enjoys sharing his knowledge with the world. He combines years of experience, ranging from small-scale grows to massive operations, with a passion for growing. His articles include tutorials on growing... [read more]


Please Post Your Comments & Reviews

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  1. By Enrique

    ,01 Jun 2017
    Treating kids with autism with medical cannabis is the same as treating them with antipsychotics. Look, there is no evidence that any specific strain helps with autism, therefore it's illogical and reckless for us parents of autistic children to support […]Read More
  2. By Martha

    ,29 Sep 2017
    Case law that you can cite if an adult person is placed in a residential setting (ICF-DDHs, nursing homes, Level 1-4 homes for disabled, etc) licensed by state of California and that person needs MEDICAL cannabis for a condition.

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