autism medicinal cannabis
Parents of an autistic individual may choose cannabis after trying multiple pharmaceutical medicines with little or no success to treat the most difficult symptoms of autism (self-injury, aggression, insomnia, cognitive impairment, and severe communication difficulties). Autism and medicinal cannabis reverse tolerance Patients who have experienced an increase in the effectiveness of medicinal cannabis (need less for same result) to treat autism are experiencing reverse tolerance. Reverse tolerance (drug sensitization) occurs when a patient needs less of a medicine to receive the desired effect. This usually occurs after about 6-7 months of using the same product and can be a welcome occurrence, allowing the individual to spend less money on medicinal cannabis. Reverse tolerance also occurs in other conditions. For example, a person who takes opiates for pain may need a smaller dose to receive the same results. This also happens with nicotine and antidepressant use. Cannabis tolerance, when cannabis stops working to treat autism Sometimes after using cannabis to treat autism, it stops working as effectively as it once did. This is called the honeymoon effect. The honeymoon effect occurs when the effectiveness of a new medication wears off over time after doing very well for some weeks or months. This is very common. Sometimes o switch strains/products. Often switching to a new strain/product is enough to make it work well again. This is also why having a few products on hand that work well is essential for long term success. Typically, medicinal cannabis stops working as well after about three months. Tolerance is focused largely on the effectiveness of THC and not so much on CBD (cannabidiol). If you or a loved one is experiencing a honeymoon effect, it is important to know that another dosage of medicinal cannabis or a different ratio of CBD to THC can be successful. The tricky part of the process is finding the new effective ratio. To find the new medical dosage, the patient may need to try different products, different ways of ingesting the cannabis, and different ratios. Autism and medicinal cannabis cross tolerance Cross-tolerance occurs when a patient becomes resistant to the effects of cannabis because of exposure to a pharmacologically similar substance. Common cross tolerances:
  • alcohol and cannabis
  • psilocybin (psychedelic mushrooms) and cannabis
  • barbituates (medicines used to help sleep, relieve anxiety and muscle spasms, prevent seizures) and cannabis
  • opioids (medicines needed for strong pain relief) and cannabis
  • prostaglandins (hormones) and cannabis
  • chlorpromazine (anti-psychotic) and cannabis
Cross tolerances are serious and can take months or years to be corrected. Fortunately, once the cross tolerance is corrected, the medicinal cannabis dose is significantly lower than the initial dosage amount before cross tolerance occurred. Extreme caution is advised when using cannabis-based products to treat autism in children. It is important to talk with your child’s doctor first for a consultation. Cannabis affects young brains (and bodies) very differently than adult brains and bodies. Constant monitoring of dosage and reactions is critical with physician oversight. Questions to ask your doctor about medicinal cannabis and autism
  • Is medicinal cannabis a viable treatment option for me?
  • Will my current medications increase my risk of developing cross tolerance?
  • What should I do if cannabis stops treating my symptoms?
  • When do I need to come back for a follow-up visit?
  • What should I do if I develop reverse tolerance?
    • Should I get a lower prescription or just take less?
  • What emergency symptoms indicate I should visit an Emergency Care Center?
MamasHealth acknowledges that research on CBD and the effects of CBD on the endocannabinoid system are rapidly evolving and the range of possible findings remains wide. MamasHealth makes no claims that CBD products are intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease and recommends all individuals consult with their health care professionals prior to using CBD.