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Debunking Cannabis Myths Pt. III: Marijuana Inefficient in Treating Autism

Here's the real deal when it comes to treating Autism with cannabis.

by Holden Caulfield

by Holden Caulfield

To be perfectly honest, we always wondered whether marijuana really makes us deal better with our problems. Could cannabis pave the road to a better and more sustainable future in which we can empathize with our fellow man? Well, we wouldn’t be asking those questions so dramatically if the answer to them was “yes, of course”. And to make sure we have some solid arguments behind our claims, we are going to rely on a pretty outstanding piece of research that recently came out of Colorado. One that casts some serious doubt on the most basic convictions we had about this wonderful plant. To wrap it all up, we will dive deep into autism and just how this research might play a vital role in treating it in the future. All that and more in the following few paragraphs.

Emotion Processing

According to this study that deals with cannabis effects on emotion processing, the researchers at the University of Colorado have found that consumers of cannabis actually have a harder time responding to negative emotions and are not the most empathetic people you could run into. Well, at least when compared to, you know, people who don’t consume cannabis.  The study was done over the course of two years and Dr. Lucy Troup has a very reasonable sample size of 70 participants to prove her claims. Their smoking habits varied between rare, casual and chronic, which inadvertently gives more validity to her research.

The methodology behind the study was built upon three tests dealing with emotions, explicit emotions and empathy. Basically, if you were a part of the sample, you would be asked to look at a facial expression (neutral, negative or positive) and then be graded on your ability to empathize with that expression. Pretty straightforward, right? Except the results showed that the control group had way higher empathy results than the group consuming marijuana.

How The Study Relates To Autism

While this study has no direct relation to autism, it does raise some valid questions regarding the inability to empathize, which is eerily similar to the behavior of people suffering from autism. The lack of research on this matter is staggering so it’s not that weird autism has not been added to the list of conditions that could be treated with medical marijuana.

Unless you’re in California, then you won’t have a problem obtaining it. Still, even then, it is important to be extra careful. For cannabis to work in treating autism, strain management is again essential, as well as getting the THC to CBD ratio right.

For instance, there are numerous testimonials out there that show cannabis is indeed efficient in treating autism. Noah was lucky enough to undergo a life changing adventure with cannabis treatment. His main problem was that he was suffering from epileptic seizures. The fact that cannabis oil treatment affected his autism was an unexpected side-effect that made this little guy finally get a good night’s sleep, gain weight, and actually grow in size. His mother had turned to medical marijuana once she ran out of options since prescribed medication either made things worse or had no effect at all.

Another really interesting case is one of a young boy named Kolt. He moved to Colorado Springs with his mother Jamie because every single treatment he tried up until then proved inefficient. If he hadn’t done so, Kolt would still be unable to use a fork, talk, use words properly or understand the world around him. He was diagnosed with autism, mascytosis and a sensory processing disorder. Eventually, a behavioral pattern emerged that made Kolt an outcast in times of any social interaction.

This was due to banging his head on the floor, tempter tantrums, screams, bites, etc. No amount of therapy made any difference and Jamie really did try everything from speech, feed and behavior therapy to prescription drugs. If it wasn’t for his caregiver, Dan Brandt, who personally worked with Kolt and made sure the boy received appropriate treatment, Kolt’s life would still be insufferable. Luckily, due to cannabis treatment, Kolt can now eat small meals regularly, pronounces certain words, sleep by himself and even wait in line.

These results are not only promising but quite revealing because they prove cannabis is on the verge of becoming a true ally in fighting autism. So the future is not bleak and there are states currently working on adding autism to the list of medical cannabis conditions, including Michigan, which is where Noah is from. You can help them out by filling out this online petition!


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Holden Caulfield

A storyteller with several years of professional experience in copywriting, branding and digital production. Currently, he is researching transmedia production and creative technologies while pursuing a degree in ‘Media Studies’ at The New School in New York.



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