Israel has started the first clinical trials in the world to determine if cannabis can provide a treatment for autism. Specifically, researchers are focusing on cannabidiol. Israel originally approved medical cannabis in 1992 and has since been at the forefront of cannabis research, with government backed grants and research. This autism research is taking place at Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem and is expected to last through 2018, involving 120 patients from the ages of five to 29 who have mild to severe autism.
The pediatric neurologist leading the research stated almost every patient in the study has tried traditional alternative treatments, and about half had a negative response. There is currently no research that exists on this topic, which this study hopes to provide concrete answers. An recent ‘observational study’ of 70 patients using cannabinoids showed some improvements.