AUTISM AND MARIJUANA

I just read an article that intrigued me. The article said that medical marijuana will now cover Autism and sleep apnea. I don’t know if this is a positive or a negative. It certainly is interesting. But I am not 100% sure people with Autism should be smoking pot. On the other hand, maybe it could work. I guess I would have to try it for myself to see if it is beneficial or not. This is one of those rare instances where I am torn between “good” or “bad”. The article is not by any means saying that medicinal marijuana will “cure” Autism. The article said that the state of Minnesota  legalized medical marijuana for “conditionally effective-patients with Autism or sleep apnea can enroll July 1 and pick up medication August 1st.” Dr. Tom Arneson, who is a research manager at the Office of Medical Cannabis stated that he “Encourages people to try proven therapies first. There is not enough known about cannabis.” What surprised me about this is that apparently there are two kinds of pot…and that’s not including all the different flavors. (Not that I would know anything about that).  The two kinds of pot are THC and CBD. THC is the one that stoners use to get high. “There is no ‘high’ with CBD” according to Dr. Arneson. According to him, “CBD does many good things.”  CBD is the one used in trials for Autism at this point. THC is used for things like anxiety and is used in clinical trials. Apparently, CBD “decreases the often violent behavior that characterizes Autism and Tourette’s Syndrome. It also seems to have anti-psychotic affects as well. BUT studies are not conclusive.” WHOA, WHOA! “Violent behavior”?! Not all Autistics are “violent” in nature. Some, like me (most of the time) are actually very mild and mellow most of the time.

Here’s the part that hit home with me. There are multiple things that can deter doctors from prescribing the drug. Evidently having a heart condition is one of them. According to Arneson, “Atrial fibrillation might not be a deterrent”. Some of the effects of smoking medical marijuana include: Your heart rate increasing by 20 to 100% for up to three hours. (The last thing I need…); it can actually increase the risk of a heart attack in the first hour after using the drug. (WOW!) It can also “increase the risk of schizophrenia in people who are vulnerable to it”.  (“Who said that?” “Did you hear something?”). One of the effects is kind of a given: addiction. According to the article, statistically one in 11 users of medicinal marijuana become addicted, and that number increases to ONE IN SIX people who start smoking pot as teenagers. In addition, “People who smoke marijuana are at greater risk of developing chronic bronchitis and infection, though there is no evidence linking the drug to lung cancer.”

Again, I don’t know if prescribing medical marijuana to people on the Spectrum is a good idea or a really bad one, but there are a lot of variables. Some, if not all, of the cons seem to outweigh the sensation of relaxation. I have never smoked pot, but a few of my friends in High School did. One side effect the article did not mention that seems to play a major role, especially in men, in relationships is “performance”. According to a friend of mine’s girlfriend, “It may make you last longer but the experience is total shit.” In other words…shrinkage.

Please let me know what you think of this somewhat controversial topic. Yay or nay on the issue? As always, thanks for reading! This is Tom Whalen saying, “Peace out, man!”

Author: AuTom Spectrum Blog

I have Autism and am a self-advocate and public speaker. On the side I do stand-up comedy. I live in Baltimore County and have an AMAZING girlfriend

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