Some of the fiercest advocates for the legalization of cannabis are moms. Or MAMMAs, as the case may be. MAMMA stands for “Mothers Advocating Medical Marijuana for Autism,” and these women are serious about helping their children who are suffering from autism.
Estimates of the number of children living with autism in the U.S. range from one in 68 to one in 240, but if your child is suffering from the disorder, statistics like that are irrelevant. You want relief for your child. Whatever it takes.
That’s why groups like MAMMA exist. These mothers have struggled to find treatment for their autistic kids from the conventional medical/pharmaceutical industry and have hit a wall. But mothers who are fighting for their children don’t respect walls. Parents across the country have discovered that treating their children with cannabidiol (CBD) alleviates the symptoms of autism, and they’re determined to make CBD legally available, not just for their own children but for all afflicted children. Thus, MAMMA aims to get autism recognized as a qualifying condition for medical cannabis.
The efficacy of CBD in the treatment of autism needs more research but, as is so often the case, the opportunities for scientific study are severely limited by the federal government’s stance on cannabis – it’s Schedule 1, meaning the government treats it the same way it treats heroin: a drug with no medical value.
The nation of Israel is much more open-minded in its treatment of cannabis, and there are currently more than 100 cannabis clinical trials underway in the country, more than any other nation on earth.
Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem is currently conducting a study on the use of cannabis in treating autism. The two-year study involves 120 children and young adults who suffer from autism, and it will continue through the end of 2018. Adi Aran, the doctor leading the study, is a pediatric neurologist. He says the study came about as the result of the efforts of frustrated parents. “Many parents were asking for cannabis for their kids. First I said, ‘no, there’s no data to support cannabis for autism, so we can’t give it to you.’” His mind changed after Israeli studies indicated that cannabis drastically reduced seizures in children with epilepsy.
Slowly but surely, American doctors are also finding ways to research medical cannabis, in spite of our Draconian federal laws. Pennsylvania’s Lehigh University is set to begin a study on the effects of CBD on autistic children this year. They’re able to do that because Pennsylvania is one of the few states that includes autism as a qualifying condition for medical cannabis. Dr. Sue Sisley, a doctor involved in the upcoming study is eager conduct research on the topic.
“Moms are certainly using this actively in the black market, and now it’s time to bring everything out and into the open,” she said. “It’s time to let the sun shine in.”