A man examines cannabis plants, grown in Israel for medical marijuana use..
(photo credit: REUTERS)
A new study shows that medical cannabis is effective in children with autism in relieving symptoms such as tics, rage attacks, restlessness, depression, and seizures, according to a press release publicized on Thursday.
The study was conducted by researchers from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) and Soroka University Medical Center.
“Overall, more than 80 percent of the parents reported significant or moderate improvement in their child,” said Lihi Bar-Lev Schleider, of the BGU-Soroka Clinical Cannabis Research Institute.
According to BGU’s Dr. Gal Meiri of the Negev Autism Center, “We analyzed the data prospectively collected as part of the treatment program of 188 ASD patients treated with medical cannabis between 2015 and 2017. The treatment in majority of the patients was based on cannabis oil containing 30 percent cannabidiol oil (CBD) and 1.5 percent tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Symptoms, patient global assessment and side effects at six months were primary outcomes of interest and were assessed by structured questionnaires.”
Quality of life and mood were assessed prior to treatment and assessed again six months after the initiation of cannabis treatment. A good quality of life, which was reported by 31.3 percent of patients prior to treatment initiation more than doubled to 66.8 percent at six months. Positive mood moved up to 63.5 percent from 42 percent after six months.
Good sleep, reported by only 3.3 percent of patients, shot up to 24.7 percent, and concentration went up from zero percent to 14 percent during active treatment.
“While this study suggest that cannabis treatment is safe and can improve ASD symptoms and improve ASD patients’ quality of life, we believe that double blind placebo-controlled trials are crucial for a better understanding of the cannabis effect on ASD patients,” says Dr. Victor Novack, of the BGU-Soroka Clinical Cannabis Research Institute.
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