Autistic Spectrum Disorder

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), sometimes also referred to Autism Spectrum Condition or Autism, is a lifelong developmental condition that can affect the way a person communicates and interacts with the world. ASD can affect people in different ways and is often co-occurring with other conditions such as ADHD, Anxiety, Depression, and Epilepsy.

ASD can be sub-classified as one of the following conditions:

  • Autism
  • Asperger syndrome
  • Pervasive development disorder – not otherwise specified
  • Childhood disintegrative disorder
  • Rett syndrome

What are the symptoms?

People with ASD can display a wide range of signs and symptoms which can vary significantly in severity. Some of these include:

  • Challenges with social communication and social interaction
  • Repetitive or restrictive behaviour
  • Over- or under-sensitivity to light, sound, taste, or touch
  • Highly focused interests or hobbies
  • Extreme anxiety
  • Meltdowns and shutdowns

Cause and treatment

There is no known cause of ASD. While some experts believe that it may be linked to genetics, there is not clear evidence that this is the case.

ASD is not an illness that needs to be cured. However, some people with autism may require additional support from family members and specialists such as a paediatrician, speech and language therapists, occupational therapists and psychiatrists. The nature of ASD means that there is no specific treatment plan for everyone. Instead, a combination of different therapies may be considered.

These include:

  • Educational support with challenging domains (may include social difficulties, language and communication)
  • Psychological behavioural therapy – may be used to reduce the incidence of challenging behaviours
  • Medications – may be considered for the treatment of specific symptoms, such as anxiety, depression, or obsessive-compulsive disorder

Medical Cannabis and Autistic Spectrum Disorder

Medical cannabis has been found to be useful in the management of Anxiety, Depression, and Insomnia, all of which are commonly expressed in people with ASD. This means that cannabis-based medicines may be a useful option for symptom management where traditional treatments have failed.

Furthermore, there is growing evidence to suggest that medical cannabis is able to influence neural messaged in people with ASD, potentially helping to reduce some difficult-to-manage expressions of autism.

Our specialist physicians are experienced in assessing individual cases and helping to determine whether medical cannabis could be an effective option.

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