Although research on marijuana and the autism spectrum disorder is still in its early stages, there has been plenty of debate and confusion. In the past, growing numbers of patients and families seek advice from medical professionals on using cannabis to treat symptoms. From stopping seizures to calming anxiety, a gradual trickle of research suggests cannabidiol (CBD), a component of cannabis, could be the miracle drug patients have been seeking. But is it to the standards of this research? Should we recommend Delta 9 THC oil to people? How do we balance the benefits and the risk?
However, many doctors lack sufficient training in this area, so they are not prepared to engage in meaningful discussions with families and patients.
Cannabis comes from a species that includes flowering plants that belong to the family of marijuana. It refers to the parts of the cannabis plant that contain high amounts of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). The medicinal uses of the cannabis plant go back hundreds of years in various cultures around the globe. Nowadays, cannabis comes in handy to treat many diseases, such as cancer, arthritis and HIV/AIDS, glaucoma, seizures, and much more.
When used for recreational purposes, it creates a euphoric or mental-altering effect when consumed or smoked. It comes in handy for therapeutic purposes. The cannabis plant is responsible for more than 500 distinct chemical compounds. It includes 100 cannabinoids that bind with CB1 as well as CB1 in addition to CB2 receptors within our body’s endocannabinoid structure. CB1 receptors are found more often in peripheral tissues in addition to central neurons, while CB2 receptors are found only in peripheral tissues and are the predominant ones of the immune system.
What Is Delta-9-?
THC stands for D-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (D-9-THC). It’s a molecule of cannabinoid found in marijuana (cannabis), a principal psychoactive component, i.e., the chemical that causes those who smoke marijuana to feel high.
THC is one of the more than 500 substances and 100 distinct cannabinoid molecules found in marijuana. While THC is the most well-known one, another molecule that has attracted much attention is called cannabidiol (CBD).
THC is a popular recreational drug; however, it is used for medical uses too. Marijuana came in handy to treat therapeutic purposes for hundreds of years.
A few of the ailments for which THC can treat include:
- Inflammatory intestinal disease (IBD)
- Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Muscle spasticity
- Opioid use disorder
- Poor appetite
- The post-traumatic stress syndrome (PTSD)
- The symptoms associated with HIV/AIDS
There is another reason for this. The FDA also approves the synthesized THC drug dronabinol (sold by the trade name Marinol and Syndros). A drug with a synthetic ingredient similar to TCH is called the drug nabilone (brand trademark Cesamet). Dronabinol helps treat nausea and vomiting due to chemotherapy. It causes loss of appetite and weight due to HIV/AIDS. Nabilone also comes in hand to treat vomiting and nausea.
Benefits Of Delta-9
The significant difference between Delta 9 THC oil and Delta 8 THC is their results. The cannabinoid is a stimulant for CB1 receptors located in the brain.
Because of these effects, Delta 9 THC oil is a psychoactive chemical used to treat various ailments. It is involved in many functions within the brain, including memory, decision-making, and more. Many customers have reported that these substances can aid improve sleep quality and reduce racing thoughts. They help alleviate body pain and provide health benefits like improved appetite, less physical pain, improved mood, motivation, and creativity. Delta 9 THC oil has also been utilized for its health benefits, reducing symptoms of PTSD and anxiety and aiding people suffering from seizures, glaucoma, inability to eat, and other issues.
What Is Autism?
Autism or the autism spectrum disorder (ASD) causes difficulties in interpersonal skills, repetitive behaviors, speech, and nonverbal communication. As per the CDC, it affects one out of 44 children across the United States today.
Since it is an autism spectrum disorder, every person diagnosed with autism is unique and has a combination of strengths and challenges. The methods individuals with autism learn, develop and solve problems can vary from highly skilled to challenging. Specific individuals who have ASD may require substantial assistance in their everyday life, while others need less help and, in some instances, they can live entirely independently.
How Does Delta-9 Help With Autism?
Cannabis is a treatment for those with autism spectrum disorders. It seems to be a well-tolerated, secure, and likely solution to ease symptoms, including seizures and tics, depression, and rage and restlessness attacks. The treatment compliance rate appears to be very high, and less than 15% of patients stopped the treatment six months after the last follow-up. Over 88% of parents reported moderate or significant improvement in the assessment of the global health of their child. The excitation and imbalance characterize ASD in GABAergic and glutamatergic communication throughout various brain structures18.
The precise mechanism behind cannabis-related effects on patients who have ASD isn’t fully understood. Results of ASD animal models point to underlying deregulation of the endocannabinoid (EC) system11-16’s behaviors in signaling. It is evident within ASD patients17. The mechanism of action responsible for the effects marijuana has upon ASD could be related to GABA and glutamate transmission. It helps modulate glutamatergic and GABAergic imbalances19.
As of now, there is no evidence-based recommendation for CBD and cannabis usage in kids with autism. There aren’t any guidelines regarding general safety and efficacy and other factors such as dosage, the recommended percentage between CBD to THC, and the symptoms that will likely improve treatment. We also lack information on the subject with patients who might be seeking assistance and may be willing to explore the issue independently.
- Thus, psychiatrists should guide families and patients towards this treatment option while exercising caution regarding its potential risks, benefits, and associated costs. Furthermore, they must be aware of the available evidence and explain the current data to patients and their families despite its lack of scientifically-based results.
- The Child and Adolescent Psychiatry academy in America strongly discourages cannabis and cannabinoids for children who have autism. However, it admits that it could be an alternative for children suffering from chronic or severe disabilities when current treatments are ineffective. This opinion has not changed despite the FDA’s approval of cannabidiol for treating seizures. In addition, the American Academy of Pediatrics holds the same position.
- Despite these warnings, people suffering from any ailment flock to cannabis treatment. However, a gap exists between the need to treat and the amount of research required to convince doctors to give permission. It is also uncommon for cannabis-related curriculums in residency programs and fellowships, but that is becoming more common.