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Israel Begins Cannabis Autism Study, Could Start Exporting Weed

Tikun Olam Cannabis Now Magazine
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Israel Begins Cannabis Autism Study, Could Start Exporting Weed

Israel is rapidly becoming the promised land of medical cannabis research — and, potentially, the source of medical-grade marijuana for researchers the world over.

In yet another first from the country where researchers first isolated THC and discovered the body’s endocannabinoid system, an Israeli researcher is laying plans to conduct the world’s first study into whether cannabis aids people with autism. Dr. Adi Eran’s planned investigation into whether medical cannabis will aid 120 “low to medium functioning” autistic individuals will have the blessing of Israel’s Health Ministry and will be the “first of its type,” according to Haaretz.

One of autism’s best-known symptoms is an inability to understand “normal” social cues.

Studies have shown that increased activity at the CB1 endocannabinoid receptor has improved social function, suggesting that a potential treatment in autism may lie in substances that trigger that receptor including phytocannabinoids, which are the cannabinoids in the cannabis plant. In Eran’s study, participants will be given oils high in cannabidiol, or CBD.

Eran is a head of pediatrics neurology at Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem. He’s already received approval “in principle” from the Health Ministry to conduct his study, and is in the process of finding research subjects, Haaretz reported.

Several Israeli families with severely autistic members have already received permission to use medical cannabis and have found some positive results, the website noted. According to one nurse, administering CBD oil three times daily to autism sufferers calmed them significantly and made them less prone to violence. However, the treatment has yet to be tested under rigorous conditions.

In the meantime, Israel is making moves to greatly expand the amount of cannabis available to research and, according to the country’s agriculture minister, so much will be available that the country could begin exporting the plant to other countries.

One hold-up is that cannabis growers in Israel say that growing the plant is not economically feasible unless it’s available to be exported.

Over the weekend, Minister Uri Ariel told Israel Radio that, “eventually,” cannabis growers could be allowed to export the plant, reported.

Pending approval from some unwilling arms of government, Israeli cannabis exports could begin within two years, he predicted.

Have you seen promise in treating autism with cannabis? Tell us about your experiences.



  1. Thomas Tiraterra

    September 6, 2016 at 11:11 am

    My son is a 28 year old non-verbal autistic adult. He has some cognitive abilities but can not communicate effectively. His behavior as he got older was on tract to institutionalizing.

    Frequent outburst and interaction interfered with all social settings.

    He has used medical cannabis orally for over 6 years. We grow organically and manufacture his medication. Titrating was the most difficult component as there is no resources to provide guidance.

    To say that there has been “positive” symptoms would be a huge understatement. This medication has no less than allowed him to function in public, at program, at home and at social events.

    He still has his issues, but the medication has provided him the opportunity to function in society.

    Reduction in behaviors such as stemming, emotional outburst, as well as increased ability to be calm and engage in activities is well documented through IEPs programs, social resource ( Regional) reports, social support systems and medical monitoring.

    More importantly is the recognition and testimony of family, friends, social workers and doctors who have witnessed the vast improvement of his behavior, most of whom are either ambivalent or against the use of marijuana in any form.

    To not explore and provide the opportunity for medical cannabis research is an outrage.

    Necessity was the impetus for us to explore this option to treat autism, and it has been very successful over a long time.

    We share our commitment and information with anyone who ask.

  2. Douglas Allen

    August 30, 2016 at 10:36 am

    Other than the reduction of violence, what other positive symptoms occurred with the autistic children who received 3 daily doses of CBD oil? Less stemming? Improved cognitive skills?

    How long have they been treated? Has there been any progression over time?

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