Parents of some autistic children report that cannabis eases behavioral problems more effectively than conventional pharmaceuticals. Their anecdotal evidence should be taken seriously by medical researchers.

Autism is one of a group of conditions known as pervasive developmental disorders. This mysterious disability, first described and named more than 60 years ago, is characterized by striking emotional and cognitive isolation and detachment. Autistic children are characterized by their appar- ent inability to form human relationships, abnormal or absent speech, and an unusually limited range of activi- ties and interests. It is estimated that three to six out of every 1000 children in the United States has autism, about three quarters of them are boys, and the number of cases appears to be rising. It is not clear whether this is due to better detection and reporting of autism, a real increase in the prevalence, or both.

There is no cure for autism, nor is there “one-size- fits-all” treatment. Treatment options include behavior and communication therapies, educational therapies and drug therapies. Our interest here is in exploring the possibility of a new drug therapy.