A new study out of Stanford University has found promising signs to suggest that cannabinoids – compounds found in cannabis, as well as naturally produced in our body – may help to treat autism.
According to Autism Daily Newscast (ADN); “A new study shows that mutations associated with autism block the action of brain molecules that act on the same receptors that marijuana’s active chemical acts on”.
They continue: “Thomas Sudhof, a cellular physiologist at Stanford University, tested mutations associated with autism in mice. Two mutations associated with autism in a synapse-adhesion protein led to deficits in prolonged endocannabinoid signaling in mice. This suggests that autism could caused by a disruption of the brain’s ability to send clear signals”.
These findings suggest that cannabinoids could be used as a treatment to autism as they can unblock a disruption in the body’s cannabinoid receptors.
ADN points to another study which helps to validate this possibility; “Danielle Piomelli of UC Irvine and Olivier Manzoni of INSERM, the French national research agency, treated mice exhibiting symptoms of Fragile-X Syndrome, a disorder that causes autistic symptoms, with novel compounds that correct the signaling of endocannibinoid transmitters in the brain [which cannabinoids can do]. The mice showed dramatic behavioral improvements in maze tests measuring anxiety and open-space acceptance”.
Clearly more research is needed to truly consider cannabis an effective autism treatment, but these findings are promising. As ADN puts it; “families who are already using the drug to treat their children’s symptoms believe it has made all the difference in the world. Many children with autism are already given cocktails of drugs that may be even stronger than marijuana, with serious side effects and limited results”.