Israel is known as a world pioneer when it comes to studying cannabis. Now, the country is underway with the world’s first clinical trial using a cannabis-derived substance, cannabidiol (CBD), to treat symptoms of Autism.
One 17-year old participant is showing great signs of success, according to USA Today. Her severe autism has led to episodes of self-harm. Her mother administers CBD oil mixed with food to help treat her.
CBD is said to be helping children in a way that no other medicines have. One in 68 children is affected by some form of autism in the United States. It can affect communication skills, social skills, comprehension abilities, receptive behaviors and eating habits, to name just a few symptoms.
The study includes 120 participants varying in age from 5 to 29. The range of severity is from mild to severe autism. The study’s lead, Adi Aran, notes that almost all of the participants took antipsychotic medication prior to the study. Half of those taking prescribed medications had poor results.
Aran said, “Many parents were asking for cannabis for their kids. First I said, ‘No, there’s no data to support cannabis for autism, so we can’t give it to you.’”
Roughly a year after studies showed that medical marijuana can help children with epilepsy, Aran changed his mind. Epilepsy is present in about 30-percent of children with autism, the researcher reports.
As Aran saw more reports of parents illegally obtaining CBD oil to treat their children’s autism, his need to study it scientifically increased. An observational study conducted by Aran showed that 70-percent of the researcher’s autistic patients saw huge improvements.
He then said, “OK, we need to do a clinical trial so there will be data.”
Participants can either have CBD oil or placebo.
Mrs. Yael, a participant’s mother, said, “I had really come to a point where I no longer had the power – not physically, not emotionally.”
Israel currently has over 110 studies underway involving marijuana.
Alan Shackleford, a Harvard-trained physician, said, “Israel leads the world in inquiries and studies on cannabis as a potential medical treatment.”
Early results show:
- General decrease in self-harm episodes
- Increased communication
- Improved behavioral problems
Tamar Gedo of Breath of Life Pharma said, “My child is speaking relentlessly. …He never spoke before. And he’s 12 years old.”