Recently, Project CBD did an interview with Dr. Bonni Goldstein. Dr. Goldstein is a Pediatrician as well as a developing cannabis clinician. She currently is the Director of Canna-Centers and uses her physician network to focus on cannabis as therapy for patients. To top it off, she is the author of the highly recommend book Cannabis is Medicine and we are so excited to hear about this research breakthrough that was discovered in cannabis and autism.
Dr. Goldstien is the co-author on an article in the Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research journal called “Cannabis Responsive Biomarkers: A Pharmacometabolomics-Based Application to Evaluate the Impact of Medical Cannabis Treatment on Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder.” What does that even mean in non medical language? Thankfully Dr. Goldstein broke it down into a language we can all understand. Cannabis responsive biomarkers are “chemicals in our body that are part of chemical pathways that help our cells functions. She mentions that 3 biomarkers that were explained in the article are Spermine, N-Acetylaspartic acid (NAA) and DHEAS, dehydroepiandrosterone. Spermine is associated with inflammation and pain and can be picked up in saliva and blood. NAA is a very prominent neurochemical, an amino acid that is involved in neuroinflammation and laying down myelin. DHEAS is a hormone that is often associated to males and agression ( Goldstein, Project CBD).
For the study, they recruited 15 children with autism between the ages of 6-12 who were already on a cannabis regimen and showing improvement or stability for over a year. The children were neurotypical or typically developing. Children were showing ongoing continued benefits from their cannabis medicine and this was already proven on reports from their therapists and teachers. Cannabis medicine is very personalized, meaning not one size fits all, each patients’ cannabis journey is different and it may take some time to determine what works best. Not all 15 children were given the same cannabis medicine. Saliva samples were taken in the morning before the dose of cannabis medicine (CBD, THC, CBG, CBN, THCA, and CBDA) and then again 90 minutes later. Parents mentioned they were able to see a difference at this time stamp. While the study focused on hundreds of biomakers, then reduced to 65, there was a total of 31 biomarkers that showed relevance to the autism and cannabis treatment. With that being said, a physiologic range was established. Hooray! Such a big and exciting research breakthrough.
It is important to mention that Dr. Goldstein stated, “I’ve never been afraid to use THC in my patients. Children do not have fully developed cannabinoid receptors, so they may be less sensitive to the effects of THC. I want to make it clear to anybody listening, my patients are not walking around stoned and incoherent and impaired. Some patients, the parents will call me, oh we upped the dose and his eyes are a little red and he seems a little silly right now. We make very tiny changes and we try to avoid any kind of making the child uncomfortable or impaired” (Project CBD).
As with any study, a lot of the research findings were not put all into one article. Dr. Goldstein and her team will continue producing more papers and continue on with their research. If you are interested in hearing the full interview, reading the article or watching the Youtube video, please click here.