There has been a lot of craziness swirling around the science of child autism, not to mention Jenny McCarthy.
If the debunked idea that childhood vaccines can cause the disorder was always far out to you, then read on. Welcome, reasonable person, to the world of real science.
UC Irvine endocannabinoid reseacher Daniele Piomelli has come to a novel theory about marijuana and autism, but hear him out:
Autism's leading genetic trigger, "fragile X syndrome," represents a situation where "regional synapse communication is severely limited, giving rise to certain cognitive and behavioral problems," states UC Irvine.
OK. But get this: " ... Natural marijuana-like chemicals" in your own brain "can help correct behavioral issues related to fragile X syndrome," the school says.
Piomelli's research, announced to UC Irvine yesterday, also was published online by the journal Nature Communications.
This connection would suggest that medicine derived from weed could be used to reverse the effects of autism.
That, however, might be far off. (For one thing, marijuana is still considered by the federal government to be a drug with no legitimate medical use.)
Piomelli and his team treated mice that had fragile X syndrome symptoms with marijuana-like compounds and discovered "improvements."
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What we hope is to one day increase the ability of people with fragile X syndrome to socialize and engage in normal cognitive functions.
That would be huge not only for sufferers of autism but for the medical marijuana movement.