​​I’m often asked what the best strain for autism is. This is a question loaded with opportunities to share some knowledge.

No. I, we, they, nor anyone else has ‘the strain’ for autism. I’ve been solicited by companies claiming they have it, and have seen products that claim they are ‘for’ autism. Yes, we’ve found a few strains that work well for Kolt but it’s constantly changing. I think there’s a misconception that there’s a perfect strain and I’m not sure where it comes from. Maybe from marketing ploys or people just looking for a fix to all their problems in one package, but I’m a firm believer a single strain for autism doesn’t exist.

Kolt can use Grape Ape for a meltdown today, but it may not work for a meltdown tomorrow. Autism has a lot of tentacles, so to speak. Once you minimize meltdowns, healthy eating habits are in place, and sentences are flowing you might notice aggression creeping up, or now he’s starting to wander, something he hasn’t done in years. It’s a daily juggling act.

Each strain has its own individual combination of cannabinoids (cannabinoid profile). Each strain can satisfy a combination of cannabinoid deficiencies in a person’s endocannabinoid system. Similar to a lock and key with several teeth and tumblers, with some lining up and some not. It may seem like the idea is to find the perfect key to match all the tumblers, but consider over one hundred tumblers (known and studied cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids), each tumbler has a ‘depth’ to it also, not just ‘yes or no’ more like a percent range. This percent can fluctuate as our body chemistry does. One strain is impossible and a variety of tools is needed…especially when managing several autistic tendencies.

Let’s say we’ve been using Skywalker OG to manage behavior but lately we’re noticing that it’s just not working like it was. We notice this with Kolt about every four to five weeks. Why is this? When constantly using a strain you have an abundance of this cannabinoid profile. Abundance is good. That means you’ve pushed that tendency to the most manageable point you could have, from a cannabis standpoint anyway. You threw the ball high and you want to keep it there. Know where this limit is. Write it down. Move to another strain and start managing a different tendency, but still keep an eye on the ball in the air because with the strain change you may see it fall some when others go up. Welcome to the juggling act. Sometimes a ball will drop, don’t worry and keep concentrating on the others while you pick it up. Some balls will consolidate, making less tendencies to manage over-all. And others will vanish as new ones enter the game. As long as there is positive progression over-all then the right thing is happening. Remember this during the hard times!

I suggest to parents to make a prioritized list of tendencies to manage and pick the top one or two. Go to the dispensary and get few strains that help with that particular tendency. Try each one for a few days or a week and take notes on what you see. Chances are you’ll end up with at least two or three strains that really show great results on multiple tendencies. This is good. I like to have a tool box of options, not a one-for-all strain. I have something for day and night, school and home, and that high-strength emergency stuff for that unexpected meltdown.
A key note I think that’s important to stress is cannabis is not ‘curing’ autism. It’s helping parents to manage autistic tendencies. Cannabis is a tool that slows the autistic mind enough for us to introduce new, healthy actions in hopes that these new actions get accepted into their daily pattern. Cannabis is a crucial tool that assists and improves the use of traditional therapies.

Dan Brandt

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