Autistic people who smoke marijuana often report having positive experiences. Yet their anecdotal evidence does not in and of itself prove that marijuana is an effective drug for treating autistic symptoms. To help fill that void, a recent study published in the journal Frontiers in Psychiatry examined 20 patients with autistic symptoms who had been treated with full-spectrum cannabis extracts (FCEs).
Although the study concluded that marijuana largely helps autistic people address their core symptoms, the study’s corresponding author painted a more complicated picture about if and how autistic people can safely consume cannabis. Much of it comes down to ratios of two drugs found in marijuana: THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), the drug that gets people high and CBD (cannabidiol), a non-intoxicating compound sought for its medicinal properties.
“The outcomes were mainly positive for most symptoms,” the authors reported, noting that the two exceptions included a patient who was only medicated with CBD-rich FCE and another who was medicated with a blend of CBD-Rich and THC-rich FCEs. “After FCE treatment, 18 out of 20 patients showed improvement in most core and comorbid symptoms of autism, and in quality of life for patients and their families,” the authors concluded. “For them, side effects were mild and infrequent.”
Dr. Renato Malcher-Lopes,…