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Autism/Asperger Syndrome

Autism is thought to be a “neurodevelopmental spectrum disorder” characterized by impaired social interaction, verbal & nonverbal communication, and restricted & repetitive behavior. Sensory processing difficulties are also common, as autism affects information processing in the brain by altering how nerve cells and synapses connect and organize.

 

Self-harm, ritualistic or compulsive behaviors, delayed speech, an inability to understand or connect to others’ emotions and extreme anxiety are some of the symptoms of autism, though this may differ somewhat between “high-” and “low-” functioning individuals. However, one of the commonalities between autistics of all “types” seems to be extreme sensitivity to external stimuli. Autistics are more likely to be synaesthetic.

 

Most research so far suggests that it is the CB2 receptors that are worth targeting for the management of autism, as autistic children display immune system dysregulation, which cannabis may help regulate. Other research suggests that “mutations found in individuals with autism block the action of molecules made by the brain that marijuana’s active chemical acts on.”

 

Positives

 

  • Cannabis is an anxiolytic, easing the stress of overstimulation as well as social interaction
  • Supposition: cannabis may help make synaesthesia more “pleasurable”
  • Cannabis may help regulate synapse signalling problems in autistics, e.g. anandamide signalling
  • Getting rid of the anxiety may help prevent self-injurious behavior

Negatives

 

  • No proper evidence of cannabis’s efficacy for autism as of yet
  • May induce anxiety in some, and potentially be a cause of social withdrawal, panic attacks and repetitive behavior
  • May also induce “over-stimulation”
  • May need to medicate when surrounded by trustworthy people in a familiar environment

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