Cannitrol – Cannabis Control Agent

Marijuana news from around the world


Can Marijuana treat Autism?



Autism is a disease that has gotten a lot of press lately.  Some believe it is naturally occurring, while others blame vaccines for its origins.  Whatever its origin, it is one of those disorders that can be particularly trying on a family.  It predominantly affects children and the symptoms and severity often progress as a child enters puberty, meaning it gets tougher to deal with as time goes on.  Its symptoms include a wide range of mental, neurological and behavior disorders, with experts often disagreeing on what constitutes true autism, and other similar afflictions.  As it is so complex, the treatments for it are also wide-ranging.  Some doctors trust behavioral therapies, while others prefer a pharmaceutical approach, and many families wind up mixing and matching a combination of treatments to find out which is most effective.  For parents it can be incredibly aggravating and heart-wrenching to see occasional progress slip away as their children’s minds and bodies react to treatments and then stop responding.  Many reach the point where they are willing to try anything, and it is only then that many have chosen to try medicating with marijuana.

Investigations into any official links between autism and marijuana research prove to be difficult.  This is because there is no official work being done on the topic.  Because of the federal laws blocking marijuana, it is impossible to get funding for a set of studies.  Much of the evidence for the relief that marijuana provides is anecdotal and reported on a case-by-case basis from families gone public with their stories.  One of the more famous cases is from Mieko Hester-Perez and her son Joey.  At age ten he weighed 46 lbs and was severely malnourished.  Many autistic children are “picky eaters” and often will not feed themselves or offer resistance to caretakers trying to nourish them.  At her wits’ end, she decided to try medicating Joey with marijuana-infused brownies. She claims that within hours there was a noticeable difference.  He began eating and requesting foods and it altered his behavior too.  Previously Joey had tended toward self-destructive behavior and aggression toward others.  The mellow feeling of being “high” had calmed him down. Also, it reduced his wandering.  Wandering episodes are of huge concern for any parent; now imagine the child in question has no way of communicating to people who find him.

Other “success stories” come from Marie Myung-Ok Lee, a Brown University professor, and Debbie Hosseini of California. Both women have children diagnosed with Autism who have seen little or no effect from prescribed pharmaceuticals.  As is often the case with modern medications, there are numerous negative side effects as well as developed tolerance.  Even Marinol, the THC-derived pharmaceutical drug only consists of THC and may only include trace amounts of other medically useful cannabinoids.  Louis Spurgeon of  Kansas has a pervasive developmental disorder and was helped by using marijuana.  It seems to help most with ensuring nutritional intake and calming down aggressive and violent behaviors (sounds familiar).  But for Louis Spurgeon and Kevin Hosseini it has also helped with social behavior and verbalization.  According to his mother, Louis had been on several different medications but even as a teenager his scholastic skills were stunted.  In high school though, he joined with the “wrong crowd” and started smoking pot.  Though she protested, she noticed how it affected his mind and behavior in a positive way. It helped his sociability, calmed his anxiety and aggression and even promoted his verbal skills.  After he began smoking, Louis and his mother were having actual conversations!  For once the “wrong crowd” got someone onto the right path.

Marijuana may not be the answer for all autistic patients.  It is a wide-ranging disorder that effects people in many different ways, just like marijuana.  What these case studies highlight is the need for more research in a regimented manner.  For the longest time the US government only funded studies that show the negatives to marijuana and none of the benefits.  Their priorities are skewed; in fact many studies that previously showed benefits, had their funding cutoff and the results were buried.  This is science that must be done for the sake of science and humanity.  Often it is the surprise discoveries that lead to true breakthroughs.  Politicians should know better than to try and steer a study to say what they want.  In the meantime, Marijuana is something that parents may want to consider.  One of the pros of marijuana is that its effects are short term. If it proves ineffective or even negative for a particular patient, discontinuing its use ought to return that patient to his previous state.

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Those Incredible Edibles


Like a giant pink elephant in the room, detractors of marijuana only assume that intake is done via smoking.  Cannabis, the giving plant that it is, offers us so much and gives us many options for intake, rather than simply sparking up and inhaling.  Among the alternative methods are vaporizing and the world of culinary delight.  Hemp seeds are an excellent source of nutrition, but offer little in the way of THC or CBD.  And what about those patients who simply cannot inhale smoke?  How does one get maximum medical effects by eating this plant?  We do not recommend eating raw buds.  The human digestive system cannot handle all that plant fiber and will not extract the THC well enough to have the desired effect. But there are a variety of methods one can use to prepare this perfumed plant into palatable pastries.

It used to be the case that creating edibles was a D0-It-Yourself affair for those who had both the motivation and an abundance of medication.  But these days chefs and pharmacists everywhere are turning their hands to the world of “Medibles.”  In certain states with legalized medical marijuana, one can walk into a dispensary and bypass the bud jars and gaze upon the tasty edible medications.  On certain beaches in Maui, patients can find bakers distributing goodies too.  In fact, culinary cannabis has exploded into an extravagant field offering more choices than a banquet.  Many of us are familiar with brownies and cookies, or anything like that which uses oil or butter to cook with.  But the selection has grown even further.  There are tinctures and teas, colas, sprays, lozenges and lollipops.  If variety is the spice of life, then this is one spicy meatball.

It is important to take precautions when medicating with edible cannabis.  When ingested, its effects can be different than when inhaled.  It often takes longer to feel the effects, generally between 30 minutes and two hours.  And the effects will last longer in your body.  While operating heavy machinery always requires caution, it is even more imperative that caution is taken after the consumption of edibles.  Also, it can be easier to over-medicate when ingesting marijuana through edibles.  When THC hits the liver, it is metabolized into 11-Hydroxy-THC which has shown to have stronger psychoactive properties than the original THC compound. Be careful when purchasing products and ensure their potency is labelled.  Some manufacturers, like Cheeba Chews, label their products well and patients know what to expect.  Furthermore, they subject their product to rigorous lab testing to ensure safety and quality standards.  Unfortunately, some companies use packaging labels that do not include all of the pertinent information and patients are often unsure of what they are getting.  A good rule of thumb for those new to edibles is the wait and see approach.  Let’s say you’ve just gotten home with a batch of fresh brownies.  Don’t just pop it in and wait for the ride.  Cut the brownie into 2-4 pieces and spread out ingestion over the course of several hours.  This will help significantly reduce the likelihood of over medication.

There is a lot to be said for edibles. We hope you enjoy them safely, and check back with us for more on this subject.

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