​​ Last October I wrote "The Strain for Autism, or Not” that helped to explain why a specific stain of cannabis simple doesn’t exist to manage autism. Here, I want to expand on that idea some and put a little more detail around what I’m talking about.

Autism isn’t like most diseases. It’s a way of thinking; a perception of the world that is unlike most of ours. Perceiving the world that we’ve created to suit our needs can be hard for an autistic mind to comprehend. The failure to understand our society, manners, complex processes, and other things we tend to not even think of leads to a processing error in the mind. “I’m physically here but have no idea what ‘here’ is or why things happen the way they do ‘here’.” Often this leads to a meltdown; a distressed mental state of frustration and confusion. We often tend to refer to meltdowns as a sort of behavior issue, but often times meltdowns have nothing to do with behavior and everything to do with trying to communicate, or frustration from lack of the ability to communicate effectively.

Health issues often accompany autism such as lack of motor function (trouble speaking, using a pencil or fork, etc.), gastro problems (such as colitis, gastropareses, GERD), neuropathy, autoimmune disorders, under developed cognitive performance, seizures, the list goes on. Each autistic individual with health problems has a different set of problems and their severity of each problem is also different. Pain is a common factor and not being able to explain what hurts can often lead to a meltdown and behavior issues. The inability to explain health problems can also lead to what we would consider self-harming acts…. like punching the legs…but this can be due to neuropathy that's not understood and can't be communicated, not self destructiveness.

Cannabis can be used to manage many of these health issues. Managing the health issues will reduce the meltdowns they cause. Cannabis can also be used to re-focus the mind and shift perception helping them to cope better in our reality. It also helps the mind to be more open to new things and to help understand why the world is the way it is. Cannabis induces empathy and evokes feelings and emotions which also helps to better understand our reality and communicate with us. Minimizing pain, reducing stomach flare ups, relaxing restless legs, and reducing neuropathy will reduce meltdowns. 

In all these examples, autism itself is not being manipulated or influenced that much. The focus is on the health issues. Since each individual holds a different set of problems, each individual requires a different combination of strains and modes of ingestion. The autism will always be, there is no curing it. By itself without any health issues, autism is not a negative trait. Again, it’s a perception and each of us, autistic or not, look at the world differently any way. Managing health issues takes away the stress and allows the autistic mind to be able to learn and cope within our reality. If we were all managing a single problem, then a single strain would exist, but that simply isn’t the case.


Dan Brandt
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