Cannabis can treat autism spectrum disorders in patients who are 18 years old or younger, reveals a study. The drug is well-tolerated, safe and effective for relieving symptoms such as seizures, tics, depression, restlessness, and rage attacks.
In the study published in Scientific Reports, "Overall, more than 80 percent of the parents reported significant or moderate improvement in their child," according to Lihi Bar-Lev Schleider, of the BGU-Soroka Clinical Cannabis Research Institute.
Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is an extensive developmental disorder that is expressed in almost all dimensions of the child's development. It is now common to refer to this disorder as a wide range of Pervasive Developmental Disorders (PDD) in which there are various manifestations and symptoms.
Quality of life, mood and ability to perform activities of daily living were assessed prior to treatment and at six months. Good quality of life was reported by 31.3 percent of patients prior to treatment initiation. At six months, good quality of life more than doubled to 66.8 percent. Positive mood was reported as 42 percent before treatment and 63.5 after six months.
The ability to dress and shower independently improved significantly from cannabis treatment. Only a quarter (26.4 percent) reported no difficulty prior to the treatment while 42.9 percent improved their ability to dress and shower independently at six months.
Cannabis oil medication also significantly improved sleep and concentration. Good sleep and concentration were reported by 3.3 percent and zero percent respectively at the outset vs. 24.7 percent and 14 percent during an active treatment.
"While this study suggest that cannabis treatment is safe and can improve ASD symptoms and improve ASD patients' quality of life, we believe that double blind placebo-controlled trials are crucial for a better understanding of the cannabis effect on ASD patients," says Dr. Victor Novack, of the BGU-Soroka Clinical Cannabis Research Institute.