Colorado Governor Signs Bill Adding Autism Spectrum Disorder to Medical Marijuana Program

The Marijuana Times

Colorado Governor Jared Polis has signed into law legislation that allows those with autism spectrum disorder to become legal medical marijuana patients.

by Anthony Martinelli, co-founder and Editor-in-Chief of TheJointBlog

“OK kids, that’s how we make a law,” Governor Polis said after signing House Bill 1028 into law. The measure was passed unanimously by both the House of Representatives and Senate (combined the vote was 96 to 0).

Under the new law, autism spectrum disorder joins the following qualifying medical cannabis conditions:

  • Cancer
  • Glaucoma
  • HIV or AIDS
  • Cachexia
  • Persistent muscle spasms
  • Seizures
  • Severe nausea
  • Severe pain
  • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

As noted by High Times, a similar bill passed both the House and Senate last year, but was rejected by then-Governor John Hickenlooper,. “I haven’t found a pediatrician yet who thinks it’s a good idea to sign this bill,” Hickenlooper commented at the time, adding that certain autism groups’ silence on the bill “speaks volumes.”

Polis, who campaigned on a pro-marijuana platform and became governor in January, has been an opponent of Hickenlooper’s distrust for marijuana’s effect on autistic kids for some time.

“[D]espite Hickenlooper’s professed ignorance, studies do exist to reinforce their beliefs that the drug can reduce many of the health condition’s more severe symptoms.”, notes High Times. “In Israel and Chile, research turned up positive effects in many clinical study participants, and the U.S. Department of Defense is set to begin a major study on the topic starting in June.

Many states have made allowances in existing medical marijuana regulation for patients with autism. In October, Rhode Island’s Department of Health okay’d the treatment, and last December in Iowa, the Board of Medicine has voted to add autism to the list of qualifying conditions for the medical cannabis program.”

“This path happened for a reason,” Michelle Walker of Mothers Advocating Medical Marijuana For Autism told Colorado publication Westword. “Because with 1028, we were able to ensure that individuals with autism and autistic people would have access, whereas the previous program created would have restricted access. Now, we’ve expanded access.”

According to a study published in 2016 in the Journal Translational Psychiatry.,  cannabinoids may provide a potential treatment option for the “associated symptoms displayed by autistic patients”.

The study concluded by stating that; “This study therefore shows that abnormalities in anandamide activity may underlie the deleterious impact of environmental risk factors on ASD-relevant behaviors and that the endocannabinoid system may represent a therapeutic target for the core and associated symptoms displayed by autistic patients.”

The study was conducted by researchers at University “Roma Tre” and Sapienza University of Rome and can be found by clicking here.

A study released last year in the journal Fronties in Cellular Neuroscience found that cannabis may help reduce the aggressive behavior experienced by some autism patients. More information on this study, conducted by researchers at RMIT UniversityMonash University, the University of Auckland and the University of Melbourne (all in Australia), can be found by clicking here.

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