Arizona Bill Would Make Autism a Qualifying Condition for Medical Marijuana
Parents of children with autism in Arizona may be able to treat their children with medical marijuana, thanks to House Bill 2049, which would add autism to the list of qualifying conditions for a medical marijuana card. Arizona senators Diego Espinoza and Lorenzo Sierra are spearheading the legislation. According to a report by Boulder Weekly.com, Arizona currently has 156 minors who qualify for medical marijuana use for conditions such as epilepsy and cancer. Research into the benefits of medical marijuana as an autism treatment are still ongoing. A 2017 Chilean study found that oral cannabis extracts were significantly more effective than conventional medicines in treating autism, while a study from Ben-Gurion University found cannabis to be “a well-tolerated, safe and effective option to relieve symptoms including seizures, tics, depression, restlessness, and rage attacks.” A clinical trial at NYC’s Montefiore Medical Center is also exploring the effectiveness of the non-psychoactive cannabis compound CBDV in relieving autism symptoms, like irritability and aggression, in children. One Arizona mother, Brandi Williams, says medical cannabis has significantly improved the behavior of her son, who has both autism and epilepsy. Prior to receiving medical cannabis, Williams says her son, Logan, would regularly engage in violent self-harming behavior, “Banging his head 75-150 times a day on hard objects all over the house.” Williams said medical marijuana has significantly reduced this behavior, and has helped Logan with socializing as well. Opponents of medical marijuana cite the lack of research and possible long-term effects. At the same time, Williams pointed out that the amount of medical marijuana needed to treat autism is roughly the size of a grain of rice. Further studies are being conducted in the U.S. to evaluate medical marijuana’s effectiveness as an autism treatment.