Currently, there is no evidence to support the use of marijuana as a treatment for ASD. This, in conjunction with the possible negative side effects, strongly suggests we should not use marijuana for treatment of ASD, at least until the medical community first understands its safety. However, even if proven safe, then professionals will need to do well-controlled, high-quality research studies using marijuana as a treatment for ASD. These studies should evaluate the effects of marijuana on clearly defined and carefully measured behaviors to determine any positive and causal impact. Until that time, it is clear that the use of marijuana and other related cannabis products are contraindicated for treatment of ASD. Because there is no scientific evidence that marijuana may benefit individuals with ASD, parents and caregivers of children with ASD should strongly consider the adverse side effects that may occur when marijuana is used as a treatment.
Statement on Use of Medical Marijuana for People with Autism
Medical marijuana is now legal in several states and the District of Columbia. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the term “medical marijuana” means either the marijuana plant itself or one its many extracts or compounds. Use of the marijuana plant is not approved by the FDA for any medical purpose. However, three marijuana-related compounds (nabilone, dronabinol andcannabidiol) are approved for specific indications. To date, there is limited research, and no evidence, on the potential short-term, long-term or neurodevelopmental risks and benefits of medical marijuana or its related compounds in ASD.