Can marijuana treat Autism? These clinical trials aim to find out

Can marijuana treat Autism? These clinical trials aim to find out

By Laura Geggel, Senior Writer

A growing number of clinical trials are looking into whether compounds in marijuana can be used to treat some of the symptoms of autism.

One of these clinical trials was just announced at the University of California, San Diego, and others are slated to take place in New York at Montefiore Medical Center and New York University, and in Israel at Shaare Zedek Medical Center.

These trials were prompted, in part, by the success of other clinical trials investigating whether cannabis could effectively and safely treat other neurological disorders, including two rare forms of epilepsy and a condition called fragile X syndrome.

There have also been a slew of anecdotal stories from parents of children with autism saying that cannabis improved their children's symptoms. But more evidence is needed to make sure that specific compounds in cannabis are a safe and effective treatment for symptoms of autism spectrum disorder, said Dr. Orrin Devinsky, director of NYU Langone's Comprehensive Epilepsy Center, who is involved in two of the upcoming clinical trials. (Parents should not give their children cannabis, or cannabis-related compounds, without consulting with a doctor first.)

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