And what about marijuana for autism? Compared to the studies done for schizophrenia, which number more than 1,000, autism and marijuana has gottenalmost no research attention. That hasn’t stopped a grassroots movement from growing up around using pot as an autism therapeutic, with one Facebook group,MAMMAS (Mothers Advocating Medical Marijuana for Autism), boasting almost 5,000 followers, and one writer and autism parent advocating for its use from a public pulpit.
But as the authors of a recent review note—and PubMed searches bear out—no studies exist suggesting clinical benefit for autism. Indeed, in a news release publicizing the review, the first author, Scott Hadland of Boston Children’s Hospital, is quoted as saying:
in using medicinal marijuana (parents) may be trading away their child’s future for short-term symptom control.
These authors also call for more research into cannibidiol’s effects and more emphasis on developing high-cannabidiol/low-THC products. Perhaps these compounds, rather than the plant, should be what we mention when we talk about these neurological therapeutics. After all, no one brings up using willow trees for pain or blood thinners, even though they originated the active compound in aspirin, and no one says they take ’foxglove’ as a heart medication–they take digoxin instead.