- Recent studies indicate that compounds found in marijuana may be used to successfully treat autism.
- Families share their stories of treating their autistic children with medical cannabis.
You may be tired of hearing about how medical cannabis is curing today’s most prevalent diseases and mental disorders, including cancer and epilepsy, as well as depression and anxiety. But there is a reason why the medical cannabis movement is taking off; cannabis WORKS, and for this reason, it is crucial to be spreading information about the potent effects of this plant.
Studies Reveal Promising Results With Cannabis And The Treatment of Mutations Associated With Autism
Last year, researchers at Stanford University said that the debilitating effects of autism are primarily caused by a gene mutation that blocks the body’s natural production of cannabinoids, called endocannabinoids, and hinders the way those molecules communicate with the brain.
In the study, researchers found that the mutation of the neurologin-3 gene, which is responsible for creating and sustaining normal communication between brain cells, appears to have a direct correlation to autism. Therefore, introducing derivatives of cannabis to the brain could ease symptoms associated with the disease.
Although the exact science revolving around how a disturbance in endocannabinoid signaling contributes to autism symptoms hasn’t been extensively researched yet, researchers say there is significant evidence that suggests medical marijuana may be a viable treatment option for this condition.
Researchers from the University of Irvine in California believe the folks at Stanford may be on to something: because they, too, have discovered a link between endocannabinoids and autism.
In a study of mice with fragile X syndrome, it “showed dramatic behavioral improvements in maze tests measuring anxiety and open-space acceptance.” And because THC, the active compound in marijuana, stimulates the same receptors as the endocannabinoids, researchers concluded, “increasing natural marijuana-like chemicals in the brain can help correct behavioral issues related to fragile X syndrome, the most common known genetic cause of autism.”
A recent article published in the Autism Daily Newscast indicates that many families are already experimenting with marijuana as a treatment for their children’s autism — as an alternative to other drugs with major side effects and questionable results.
Researchers add that while they do not advocate giving medical marijuana to children with autism, they believe their findings will lead to the development of important treatments for this devastating disease.
Families Are Already Jumping On Board
Chrissy Hetrick-Leonard is a mother of three and a nurse. Her full-time job is caring for her oldest child, an 11-year-old girl with multiple health challenges. Those challenges are daunting and include Cornelia de Lang Syndrome, Dandy Walker Syndrome, autism, epileptic seizures, hip dysplasia and other maladies.
Chrissy’s daughter’s seizures were extreme to say the least, bloodying up her face and breaking bones, she told THC Magazine. There was a lack of eye contact or even smiles, as doctors told Chrissy her daughter had the cognitive abilities of a 2-year-old. After years of frustration with pharmaceutical drugs and conventional therapies, Chrissy turned to RiverRock Wellness and Tony Verzura’s proprietary program called A.C.T.
The A.C.T. Now program has nearly eliminated the seizures suffered by Chrissy’s daughter, which are at most one per month. It has improved her cognitive function test results by 200 percent, and reduced her paralysis by 80 to 90 percent. She no longer uses any pharmaceutical drugs.
“Within the first week, I saw her come out of almost like a closet,” Chrissy says. “I got eye contact, direct smiles at me … The improvement after six months is mind blowing.” Chrissy developed a wall board to assist in communicating with her daughter. After months of talking through pictures, by hitting a button for audio descriptions of the picture, to now walking up to the board and indicating her desire to say something, her daughter is alive like never before.
Heartbroken and desperate, an Oregon family has turned to medical marijuana to help manage their son’s self-destructive rages. They say the treatment, which has sparked controversy, has helped their child, described as “severely autistic,” like nothing else has.
11-year-old Alex Echols suffers from tuberous sclerosis — a rare genetic disorder that causes the growth of non-malignant tumors in organs. Doctors say Alex has growths in his brain that have led to autism, debilitating seizures and self-directed rages.
Writing in a blog he set up for his son, dad Jeremy Echols explains that Alex often exhibits extreme, self-destructive behavior, such as slamming his head into walls and slapping his face until it bleeds.
Echols says that after trying — and failing — for years to protect Alex from himself, he and his wife were forced to move their son into a state-funded group home when he was 8.
Alex’s mother stated that they tried every medication in the books, as well as specialized therapies, but nothing seemed to work.
Then, in 2009, Alex’s mom came across stories of parents treating their autistic children with medical cannabis with positive results. With no other hope, the family decided to try the treatment. After some time, the family noticed some remarkable results:
“Eventually we had some truly amazing results,” Alex’s dad wrote on his blog. “He explored his world with his hands, something he was very rarely able to do. His hands were the enemy up to this point … But on those few truly magical days when we got the dosing just right, he played. He used his hands to explore. He looked at us and smiled.”
Unfortunately, the family still struggles with the continued administration of medical marijuana to Alex, due to the legal status of the plant in most states. They haven’t been spared criticism either, as the long-term developmental effects of cannabis use in children is still not yet known.
But for the Echols, the benefits far outweigh the risks.
How Long Will It Take?
How long will it take for people to realize the amazing healing capabilities of cannabis? This plant has the potential to wipe out a large majority of the pharmaceutical industry for good while saving the lives of millions of people in the process. Not to mention the incredible and unlimited uses of its counterpart, hemp. The fossil fuel industry, along with a plethora of other industries like clothing and construction, would be revolutionized. If everyone were open to the potential uses of cannabis and hemp, we would see an entire new world and way of living, the likes of which we’ve only imagined in our wildest utopic dreams.
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"If “Survivor” was actually real and had stakes worth caring about, it would be what happens here, and “The Sacred Science” hopefully is merely one in a long line of exciting endeavors from this group." - Billy Okeefe, McClatchy Tribune