Autism and Cannabis


Before you crucify me, let me say I recognize this is a controversial issue.  I do hope you read this fully and watch the video below.  It will explain why I have quietly watched the issue of medicinal cannabis use for the treatment of severe autism symptoms for a long time.  It will explain why I secretly cheered when a Marijuana oil bill cleared the last hurdle in Virginia legislature .  My home state is working to make it easier for people with severe forms of epilepsy to legally seek treatment. I am hopeful one day those with Autism may benefit as well.

I usually avoid controversial issues.  I did not do that today. Today I stepped out of the proverbial closet.  I publicly made my opinion known when I read and responded to an autism blog that posted MEDICAL CANNABIS & AUTISM – YOU ASKED MY OPINION (THE BLOG I’VE BEEN AVOIDING).  While my last comment is awaiting moderation there I decided to share my response here.

Someone replied: Cheri, I was asking Anna for clarification by what she meant by “severely affected”. Since you have a specific case. then I can ask you the question directly; how would your daughter’s autism be improved by “medicinal cannabis oil”? Autism is currently described as a condition affecting two functions of the brain; (1) social communication, and (2) restrictive interests and repetitive behavior. Do these two conditions need to be treated, and how is marijuana going to “help”.

My reply: There are severity levels for autism spectrum disorder.  you can see the DSM-5 Diagnostic Criteria Table 2: Severity levels for autism spectrum disorder for yourself at:
Autism is called a spectrum disorder for a reason. My son is on the spectrum. He would be at level 1. At a level 1 he requires minimal support. My daughter is also on the spectrum. She is at a level 3. At a severity level 3 she requires very substantial support. I won’t divulge her personal details..  because.. to put it frankly it’s none of your business. However, I will quote DSM-5 Diagnostic Criteria for Autism in table 2 Level 3 Communication: Severe deficits in verbal and nonverbal social communication skills cause severe impairments in functioning… Level 3 Restricted, repetitive behaviors: Inflexibility of behavior, extreme difficulty coping with change, or other restricted/repetitive behaviors markedly interfere with functioning in all spheres. Great distress/difficulty changing focus or action.
Now to answer your questions: (1)Do these two conditions need to be treated, and (2)how is marijuana going to “help”
(1) In my daughter’s case (level 3) the answer is yes and it is no for my son (level 1)
My daughter is currently prescribed psychotropic medications through her pediatric psychiatrist. Through blood work the level of one medication has to be monitored carefully and adjusted so that the least amount possible is used to be effective. A medicine that carries a black-box warning because it can cause serious liver damage that could be fatal, especially in children. I hate it. But she can not safely function without it.
(2) Will medicinal cannabis help her? I do not know if it would or not. But I would like to see her be able to legally and under medical supervision be given the chance to try. It has been shown to be very effective for other children. Cannabis helps ameliorate symptoms, especially the most severe symptoms like self-injury or aggressive behavior and can also help improve communication and cooperation.( ) As far as side effects goes medicinal cannabis can not possibly be any more dangerous than the medications she has already been prescribed.



  1. I agree with Medical Marijuana. If I could get a prescription I would, but I don,t think my epilepsy is that bad. I take medication for it. I take 9 medications, a few of them are not good for my liver, and I probably could get off a few of them.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I have little to no experience with children with autism but am learning through the blog posts of parents who have children with autism. I think that you are right to take up a controversial issue and speak about it. I believe we are living in an era when it is important for people to speak out and make their needs and requirement sknown. Fortunately we are living in countries where this freedom is allowed. So carry on and thank you for this informative post.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I have see how cannabis helps for seizures etc. and I can understand how it might help with some of your daughter’s symptoms. I can only imagine how much you might want to get her any help that you can.
    There are many medications that people abuse, but when used for the right reason and person they make the all the difference in the world.
    Take Care.. Diane

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I cannot even believe this person asked if these symptoms needed to be treated. They have no idea the effects on functioning autism has for kids. Sorry you had to hear it but you expressed and defended the truth very well. Good job!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. In a day and age where there are so many harsh, over prescribed medications, I think this is a much safer alternative. I hope the access and research continues because we have lost touch with so many herbal, more natural medicines, and I think they can be less harsh and safer, especially for children. I hope this can give your daughter a more comfortable and fulfilling life! I support your efforts!

    Liked by 1 person

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