Medical Marijuana and Autism Spectrum Disorder in Virginia
Updated: May 24, 2022
What is ASD?
Understanding ASD means understanding the “S” in its name. This disorder exists on a “spectrum,” meaning that there are many different subtypes and that symptoms can vary from one patient to the next. General symptoms experienced by those with Autism include but are not limited to:
· Social communication challenges
· Restrictive repetitive behaviors
· Sensory issues (light, sound, taste, etc.)
· Physical and mental conditions
Sometimes ASD is categorized into levels, with Level 1 representing people who are what some call “high functioning.” Individuals in this category may have received a diagnosis of Asperger’s Syndrome in the past before that condition was placed onto the spectrum with other associated disorders.
Treating Comorbid Symptoms
There are no known medications for treating ASD itself. Some pharmaceuticals can be used to treat certain symptoms. These pharmaceuticals are not always very effective and can come with side effects that require that ASD patients limit their use.
As an alternative, taking medical marijuana helps with certain conditions that are comorbid with a diagnosis of ASD. What is “comorbid”? That is a word used to describe symptoms that stem from conditions that can happen in tandem with ASD. For example, many people with ASD also experience mental health issues, including depression and anxiety. This is where medical marijuana can do its best work for patients with ASD.
Medical marijuana has an established reputation for treating symptoms associated with depression and anxiety. It can also help people sidestep some of the serious side effects that can come with pharmaceuticals used to treat these disorders.
Treating Core Symptoms
While research continues, there are some indications that medical marijuana may help with core ASD symptoms, as well. In some cases where individuals exhibit very dynamic symptoms, medical marijuana has even been able to assuage core symptoms of ASD, including problems with communication and behavior.
In 2018, a study conducted at the Shaare Zedek Medical Center on 60 children with ASD and severe behavioral problems, suggests this. Parents of the children in the study reported that 61 percent of behavioral symptoms in the children had either “much improved” or “very much improved,” while 39 percent of children experienced improved anxiety levels. Almost half of the children also experienced improvements in communication. This study indicated that almost a quarter of the children were able to stop taking other medications after taking medical marijuana and that a third were able to lower their doses of other medications.
Research into ASD itself and medical marijuana’s influence on it is ongoing. Some initial studies indicate that ASD may be related to an imbalance in the endocannabinoid system, or ECS, which may be why the cannabinoids in medical marijuana are able to impact the disorder. What is clear is that medical marijuana has been a great help to many with this complex condition!
Get Your Medical Marijuana Card and Experience Relief from the symptoms of ASD!
Medical marijuana is a safe and legal option for Virginians looking to address symptoms associated with a wide range of disorders, including ASD. Your first step is consulting with a doctor who can give you the recommendation you need to access this natural product.
Schedule an appointment with an online VA medical marijuana doctor today to start gaining access to safe and legal cannabis products, including tinctures, flower, concentrates and more for your loved one or patient!
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Call us at (888) 633-5808, or simply book a medical marijuana evaluation to start getting relief you can trust today!
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