New study on cannabis and autism backs parents’ longtime claims

“Cannabis in ASD patients appears to be well tolerated, safe and effective option to relieve symptoms associated with ASD,” concluded the study authors

Bethan Rose Jenkins, Cannabis News Writer/Editorial

A new study out of Israel has demonstrated fresh evidence to support claims that cannabis could be relied on as a treatment for autism. Cannabis research was approved in the country back in 2007.

Published in the journal Nature on January 17, the Israel study confirmed that the plant’s naturally occurring chemicals could help to reduce symptoms commonly experienced by autistic people, such as rage attacks, restlessness, and seizures.

Goals of the study were “to characterize the patient population receiving medical cannabis treatment for autism and to evaluate the safety and efficacy of this therapy,” according to the study’s authors.

What was involved in Israel’s study on cannabis for autism?

The study on cannabis for autism, titled “Real Life Experience of Medical Cannabis Treatment in Autism; Analysis of Safety and Efficacy,” spotlighted the symptoms of 188 patients with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) over the course of six months.

Most of the study subjects, 81.9 percent to be exact, had a mean age of 12.9 years. A total of 14 study subjects were below the age of five, 70 were aged 6-10 and 72 of them were aged 11-18.

Everyone involved in the study on cannabis for autistic children experienced restlessness, rage attacks, agitation, speech impairment, cognitive impairment, anxiety, incontinence, depression and more prior to receiving treatment.

“Although many with autism are being treated today with medical cannabis, there is a significant lack of knowledge regarding the safety profile and the specific symptoms that are most likely to improve under cannabis treatment,” the study authors wrote.

“Cannabis in ASD patients appears to be well tolerated, safe and effective option to relieve symptoms associated with ASD,” concluded the authors who worked on the Israel study.

Children already benefiting from cannabis for autism

The subject of using cannabis to treat autistic children has a long-stimulated debate regarding the plant’s suitability for treating such a condition. Many parents are adamant that cannabinoids, the active chemical compounds contained in cannabis and hemp plants, are beneficial for their children.

One mother named Mieko Hester-Perez is certain that cannabis saved her autistic child’s life. Within a six-month period of using weed-infused edibles as a treatment for autism, her 10-year-old son Joey had overcome an autistic-related eating disorder that caused his weight to plummet to 46 pounds.

“You could see the bones in his chest and in his arms and legs,” said Mieko. “He had stopped walking and he would bruise very easily.”

After attempting various medications with no success such as a gluten-free diet and behavior modification strategies, Hester-Perez was desperate for a natural and more effective alternative.

“The effects of the medication were temporary. It seems like every three weeks we were either changing the doses or changing the medication, which is normal, but that took a toll on his body,” said Hester-Perez.

Every couple of days, the committed mother started giving her son a weed-infused brownie the size of a 50-cent coin, with exceptional results.

“The other meds I was giving to Joey he would take three times a day and they were not having the same effect as the medical [cannabis],” Hester-Perez explained.

She has since appeared on Good Morning America and has even started her own website: