In view of evidence that cannabinoids can help improve the quality of life of autistic people, an Israeli pediatrician has launched a first of its kind clinical trial to study the effects of medical cannabis on autistic children and adults, Haaretz reported.
Dr Adi Eran, head of the pediatric neurology department at Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem, is obtaining permits from Israel’s Ministry of Health to test 120 low-to-medium functioning autistic individuals, male and female, aged 4 to 30.
The participants will be given cannabis oils rich in cannabidiol (CBD), one of 113 active chemicals found in cannabis that makes up 40 percent of the plant’s extracts. The substance is non-hallucinogenic.
The research will focus on behavioral symptoms such as physical aggression and attacks deriving from acute anxiety.Even though cannabis oil is not a recognized treatment for autism, several Israelis have been given prescriptions to treat severe symptoms, Eran noted.
A subcommittee of the Health Ministry is currently reviewing rules that would define criteria for using medical cannabis to treat autism.
Cannabis was approved in March 2014 for treating epilepsy, including in children, whose no other medication seems to work for them. 30 percent of autistic people suffer from epilepsy. It was while treating autistic epileptics that a positive effect on behavior was reportedly observed, Haaretz reported.