Pennsylvania University Announces Study of Cannabis and Children with Autism

A Pennsylvania university will be taking advantage of its new cannabis industry by conducting a study on the effect of the drug on children with autism.

Leigh University is planning on studying the effects of cannabis and children with autism. The university’s Center for Promoting Research to Practice has worked with children who have autism for years, including hosting workshops and symposiums on the topic. The university’s facility where professors work with and study children with behavioral challenges and autism is called Centennial School.

The university announced its plans to partner with BioGreen Farms. Although Pennsylvania just began awarding licenses to cannabis businesses this week, BioGreen Farms was not approved in the first round of licensing. Despite the delay, the company’s Medical Director, Dr. Sue Sisley, has high hopes for the study and how it will benefit parents and their children. “Moms are certainly using this actively in the black market, and now it’s time to bring everything out and into the open,” said Sisley. “It’s time to let sun shine in.”

Sisley is a psychiatrist who was let go from career at the University of Arizona in 2014. She argued her dismissal was a political move after the university failed to find a location for the FDA-approved trial she planned to study the use of cannabis with veteran with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Now, Sisley has many agreements with other license applications for studies.

Pennsylvania is one of the few states that allows cannabis to be prescribed to children with autism. Autism affects one in 64 children, with boys four times as likely to be affected. Autistic patients are also allowed to receive a prescription in Delaware, California, Oregon, Massachusetts and Washington, D.C.

Currently, the FDA has approved antipsychotic prescription drugs to help with irritability in patients with autism. Cannabidiol has shown promise after several severely autistic children have improved after using the medicine. However, there is not a lot of research on cannabis’ effect on people with autism.

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