On Tuesday October 16, the Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH) authorized the use of medical marijuana as a treatment for autism. According to a report from local media, the choice to legalize cannabis will immediately go effective and is “a final decision of RIDOH, subject to judicial approval”.
The decision of the health department puts various requirements on doctors who choose to prescribe medical marijuana for patients suffering with autism. Doctors are made to consider “pharmaceutics grade forms of pure CBD” prior to prescribing medical marijuana. Physicians must also report the purpose for utilizing medical marijuana and the choice to abstain from pharmaceutical alternatives. Moreover, they must discuss with specialists in the departments of child psychiatry, pediatric neurology, or developmental pediatrics and conduct a test of progress at least three months after the patient’s first dosage of medicinal marijuana. Physicians have to discontinue the use of medical marijuana if they don’t notice any advancement in the condition of the patient.
According to a RIDOH public information officer, Joseph Wendelken, the prerequisite were meant “to make certain that the physician of the patient is consulting with the necessary subspecialist to measure the risks and benefits.
A few months ago, parents sent a petition to the department of telling them to permit the use cannabis therapies like CBD for the treatment of children suffering with autism, claiming that autism qualifies as an enervating medical condition. When the petition was read in August, Nicole Cervantes testified that her autistic son had been heavily banging his head which resulted to his forehead being deformed. However, when her son received CBD treatment, his condition vastly improved.
Cervantes said that her son can now focus since he doesn’t bang his head. She also hopes that the board would assist her in her quest to discover the best alternative treatment for her son.
According to the testimony of Dr. Randal Rockney of Hasbro Children’s Hospital in Providence, the utilization of medicinal cannabis therapies could assist in regulating the behavioral manifestations related to autism. Dr. Randal Rockney also said that the use of CBD as a treatment for autism is due for advanced research.
Rockney said a trial based on this kind of medication which manages the behavioral manifestations of autism spectrum disorder would be a great option.
According to a statement from Dr. Henry Sachs, the medical director at Bradley Hospital in Riverside, Rhode Island, he thinks that thorough research should be done on the medical use of marijuana.
Sachs said health care providers, heavily depend on research discoveries to illustrate the potency and safety of any new treatment. Moreover, those measures should be centered on the use of cannabis treatment for patients suffering with autism. There is currently lack of research is this field.
In 2004, the use of medical marijuana was legalized in Vermont solely for registered patients with a qualifying severe medical condition and recommendation from a physician. Patients who can qualify for treatment should be suffering from disease including cancer, HIV and AIDS, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, PTSD, glaucoma, seizure disorders, and chronic pain. Currently, the program has an estimate of 4,500 registered patients.