Hey, look, here’s some non-apocalyptic news from the Middle East: the Israeli government has signed off on a study to determine whether cannabis can curb the symptoms of autism! With the support of the Israeli Health Ministry, Dr. Adi Eran, the head of pediatrics neurology at Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem, will study 120 “low to medium functioning” autism patients between the ages of 4 and 30 as they experiment with non-psychoactive CBD oil.
Israel has long embraced cannabis research; both THC and the body’s endocannabnoid system were first identified by Israeli scientists, and even before the current study was proposed, a small number of Israelis were given government permission to administer CBD to family members with severe autism.
“It isn’t that they’re stoned because the oil has no psycho-active component,” points out the Israeli nurse Naama Saban. “Their parents say the quality of life has completely changed. That for the first time, their little kids can have friends over and the big brother doesn’t go wild.”
Before the current study begins, however, the Israeli Health Ministry will lay out guidelines for the researchers to follow. Once the study is underway, as the newspaper Haaretz reports, “participants will be divided into two groups: the test group that actually ingests the oil, and the control subjects who will be given placebos. After a test period during which the effects on the patients will be recorded, treatment will be halted for a month, then the groups will be reversed – the test group will become the control group and vice versa. Again, as is typical in such research, at no point will subjects or their families know whether the patient is receiving CBD or a placebo.”
This “first of a kind” study will deliver the type of exciting results that many of us have suspected all along. But with an official, state-sanctioned study under their belt, Israel will hopefully convince others to follow suit.