The Texas Legislature established the Texas Compassionate Use Program in 2015. This program allows physicians to prescribe medical cannabis for a variety of approved conditions. Initially the program included pediatric seizures, some neurologic conditions, and cancer as qualifying conditions. However, as of September 1, 2021, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and autism spectrum disorder (ASD) have both been added to the list of approved conditions.
It is not yet clear exactly how cannabis helps both of these conditions, as the science is still young. In people with PTSD the amygdala does not always work properly, remaining stuck or easily triggered into a hyperactive fear mode. Medical cannabis may help alleviate this hyperactivity thereby helping those with PTSD experience significant relief. Additionally, it has been observed that medical cannabis may help insomnia and general feelings of anxiety.
Medical cannabis has also been shown to reduce anger, emotional outbursts, and self-harm behaviors that are seen in those with ASD. Most of the existing research regarding treatment of ASD with medical cannabis has involved children with ASD. Additional studies are needed to more fully understand the risks and benefits.
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