Medical Cannabis For Autism: What The Latest Studies Are Telling Us

This article originally appeared on and has been reposted with permission.

Around 1% of the global population has autism spectrum disorder (ASD), and this number is gradually increasing since doctors are becoming more adept at diagnosing it.

It can be painful and challenging to have a loved one struggling with symptoms of autism. In extreme cases, this can include self-harming, aggression, and severe anxiety. Despite all the advances in medicine, we still don’t have a cure for autism spectrum disorders, though the treatments available are mostly focused on symptom management so that these don’t disrupt the daily lives of those with this condition. Since it affects everyone differently, the symptoms vary greatly as well, which is why tailored treatment plans are necessary.

Could Cannabis Be Better At Treating Autism In Kids Than Traditional Meds?
Photo by Anthony Fomin via Unsplash

Currently, psychotherapy and prescription medication are the two main types of treatments being used for individuals with autism. Many types of psychotherapy are used depending on the symptoms; these may include one or some: physical therapy, occupational therapy, assistive technology, speech therapy, or applied behavioral analysis. For medication, the FDA has only approved two: Risperdal, and Abilify, which are antipsychotic medications designed to reduce aggression and irritability.

Treating and managing autism can be extremely difficult, but thankfully, cannabis has been shown to be beneficial in children as well as adults with this condition.

What The Studies Say

A recent review led by Mariana Babayeva, a Touro College of Pharmacy in New York professor, revealed that there is a growing body of clinical studies that have shown promising results using cannabis to treat autism spectrum disorder.

“Due to its vital role in regulating emotion and social behaviors, the endocannabinoid system represents a potential target for the development of a novel autism therapy,” reads the study. The authors also added “several studies have suggested that dysfunctions in the components of the endocannabinoid system may contribute to the behavioral deficits and neuroinflammation observed in autism.”

RELATED: THC More Effective Than CBD In Treating Autism, New Preliminary Study Shows

Within the medical community, it’s also a widely accepted hypothesis that since the receptors of the endocannabinoid system can be found in the central nervous system, this explains the link between cannabinoids and improvements in autism symptoms.

In 2020, researchers from Boston’s Tufts University revealed that when they worked with kids as well as young adults who had ASD but medicated with hemp-based or cannabis products, 60% among those with aggression caused by ASD reported that they noticed improvements after treatment. Meanwhile, 91% of those who had both ASD and epilepsy saw improvements in seizures.

RELATED: Could Cannabis Be Better At Treating Kids With Autism Than Traditional Meds?

Then in 2021, a clinical review of existing literature on cannabis for autism concluded that, “Cannabis products have been demonstrated to reduce the number and/or intensity of different symptoms, including hyperacidity, attacks of self-mutilation and anger, sleep problems, anxiety, restlessness, psychomotor agitation, irritability, aggressiveness perseverance, and depression. Moreover, they are associated with an improvement in cognition, sensory sensitivity, attention, social interaction, and language.”

the potential of cbd and cannabis within the anxiety and autism community
Photo by Fernando @dearferdo via Unsplash

The study’s authors then concluded that, “Cannabis and cannabinoids may have promising effects in the treatment of symptoms related to ASD, and can be used as a therapeutic alternative in the relief of those symptoms.”

In the medical community, it has become clear that while the research on cannabis for autism is still in its early stages, it has been nonetheless controversial. That hasn’t stopped families from asking doctors and seeking professional medical advice on the use of cannabis for autism symptoms because there are significant cases of anecdotal evidence that it can be helpful for many of its symptoms especially when it comes to calming down aggression and reducing seizures. Cannabidiol (CBD) has especially been noted as helpful because it’s non psychoactive, and has a long track record in treating seizures safely, even for children.

RELATED: The Potential Of CBD And Cannabis Within The Anxiety And Autism Community

In fact, many parents feel so strongly about the use of medical marijuana for treating autism symptoms. A parent advocacy organization called the Mothers Advocating Medical Marijuana for Autism (MAMMA) has chapters in several states; in their website, one can find numerous testimonials from families who say that cannabis has helped their children. What is sad is that many of these families are medical refugees who had to relocate states just so that their kids could benefit from states with medical marijuana laws where it can be used for seizures and other symptoms. There have been families that have also sent in their testimonials anonymously, saying that they have used cannabis illegally because we still don’t have the legislations in place enabling autistic people to use cannabis.

There are currently 14 states that list autism as either a qualifying condition or a debilitating condition, but that isn’t enough. No matter where you live, you must be able to have access the medicine that can help make a difference in your life, even if you choose to medicate your child with cannabis.


There are more studies ongoing to help shed light on how the body and endocannabinoid system in autistic people respond to cannabinoids. While the exact mechanisms are still much of a mystery, we can at least say that cannabinoid compounds work for autism. However, the efficacy, type of cannabis product, and dosage taken all play a role too. There is some research that says THC taken with CBD is best while others say CBD alone is best.

While cannabis can help, parents who want to give their children cannabis for medicine   should keep in mind that it should not be seen as a cure-all. At best, cannabis probably works more effectively with other autism therapies. Speak to your doctor or one in a state that has legalized the use of cannabis for autism to find the best route for you or your loved one.

This article originally appeared on and has been reposted with permission.

Expand all Collapse all
Is Delta 8 federally legal?

Delta-8 is legal federally, and most state laws don't specifically address it. Due to ambiguities in the 2018 farm bill, which legalized hemp and hemp products, delta-8 is currently not prohibited by federal law.

What are the benefits of Delta 8?

In the human body, Delta-8 binds to the CB1 and CB2 receptors. Because it binds to both receptors simultaneously, users experience a milder cerebral high. When compared to the effects of THC, users describe a more clear-headed, productive, energetic, and upbeat feeling.

Is Delta 8 or CBD better?

Difference Between Delta-8 THC and CBD Delta-8 THC may not be as prominent as Delta-9 THC, but it is still among the predominant cannabinoids with psychoactive properties. However, CBD is NOT a psychotropic cannabinoid. While CBD can have better results in the long run, Delta-8 THC can give you a quick fix.

Can you fly with Delta 8?

Is it Legal to Fly with Delta-8-THC? Often, yes! It is legal to fly with Delta-8 when you are flying to and from areas where Delta-8 is legal, as long as the airline you choose doesn't specifically prohibit Delta-8 products.

Does Delta 8 help with anxiety?

Contains less than 0.3% Delta 9 THC. Good for chronic pain and anxiety relief. It does not cause paranoia or increased Anxiety.

Is Delta 8 a controlled substance?

Delta-8 is considered a Schedule 1 Controlled Substance by the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) because it is known to cause psychoactive impairment to the consumer.

What is the difference between Delta-8 and Delta 9?

Delta-9 THC is a property of cannabis discovered all the way back in 1964. The primary difference between Delta-8 THC and Delta-9 THC is that Delta-8 is just a bit less psychoactive than Delta-9. This means that products with Delta-8 THC have a more gradual, and therefore more satisfying, effect on the consumer.

Does Delta-8 become 11 hydroxy?

Although in an edible form, Delta-8 THC can metabolize into a natural chemical called 11 Hydroxy tetrahydrocannabinol. Since 11 Hydroxy THC can only be absorbed through the liver, the molecule's possible psychoactive effects can last up to 6 to 8 hours during digestion.

Does Delta 8 make you sleepy?

According to the NCI, Delta-8 uniquely binds twice with cannabinoid receptors in the nervous system that play a role in sleep by calming down processes like breath, heart rate, and mental activity.

Does Delta 8 Flower get u high?

Delta-8 THC is one of the hottest topics in cannabis right now. It's a minor cannabinoid that can get you high like traditional THC, but much less so. Delta-8 found in small amounts in the cannabis plant and is often converted from other compounds like CBD.

How does Delta 8 affect the body?

5 benefits delta 8 could offer you According to the National Cancer Institute, delta-8 THC can bind to the CB1 receptor throughout the body. These receptors are part of our endocannabinoid system, which helps our body regulate and maintain homeostasis.

Does Delta 8 contain CBD?

Delta-8 is yet another compound derived from Cannabis sativa or the hemp plant. As you likely know by now, this is the same natural origin that CBD, THC, CBG, CBN, and CBC come from, too. Though all of these compounds are related to some degree, delta-8 is closest to CBD and delta-9 (also often known plainly as THC).

Does Delta 8 cause euphoria?

Delta-8 may not produce intense euphoria, but it will take effect pretty quickly. Depending on your mode of intake, of course, the time of impact will vary. If you vape it, you will experience the effects within 1 to 6 minutes. If you use a tincture, you will get the first effects after half an hour.

Is Delta 8 legal in all 50 states?

The Short Answer: Yes. Hemp-derived Delta-8 THC products, containing less than 0.3% D-9 THC is legal in all 50 states of the USA. But what if the extract contains more than 0.3% Delta-9 THC?

Can Delta 8 help you lose weight?

A research study from 2004 concluded that delta-8 helps increase appetite while promoting weight loss. This effect is certainly very unique, and scientists will do even more research on this subject. These effects might be due to the potential benefits delta-8 has on metabolism.

Does Delta 8 give you munchies?

Yes, Delta 8 can make you feel hungry. Delta 8 is an appetite-stimulating analogue of tetrahydrocannabinol (or THC). Of course this depends on the amount you smoke (vapes) or consume (edibles), but Delta 8 has been reported to stimulate your appetite, in some cases, even more than Delta 9 (marijuana).

Does Delta 8 make you laugh?

Whatever makes you laugh, Delta-8 is a great way to start the fun. In fact, we've developed Delta-8 products because we love to see people laugh.

What does Delta 8 convert to eating?

Delta-8 THC actually converts into delta-11 THC when processed through the digestive tract. Since delta-9 THC also converts into delta-11 THC when eaten, there's no special benefit to eating delta-8 THC. In general, research suggests that delta-8 has about two-thirds of the potency of delta-9.

Does Delta 8 affect your liver?

In the present study, we have demonstrated that Δ8-THCV exerted protective effects against liver I/R reperfusion damage by attenuating tissue injury, oxidative stress and inflammatory response.

Does Delta 8 make good edibles?

Our Delta-8-THC Gummies — Best for Beginners They contain 10 mg of delta-8-THC per gummy, which is a great dose to start your journey into edibles with. It will give you a relaxing buzz, and you can easily increase the dosage as needed. Our delta 8 gummies are made from a broad-spectrum hemp extract.

You May Also Like

About the Author: Delta-8