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Rhode Island May Add Autism to Medical Marijuana Program

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The Rhode Island Department of Health (DOH) heard testimony in consideration of autism as a qualifying condition for medical marijuana. Two parents shared testimony regarding autism as a debilitating condition. Nicole Cervantes told her family’s story regarding her autistic son and his self-harming behaviors.

Cervantes told the DOH about her son’s head banging behavior that improved after administering CBD oil for a few months, WPRI 12 News reports. She detailed how hard he would bang his head on the wall. It eventually made his forehead take on a sphere shape.

Cervantes said, “He has been able to focus more. He no longer bangs his head.”

Dr. Randal Rockney of Hasbro Children’s Hospital agrees with the parents regarding the use of CBD for autism.

Dr. Rockney said, “A trial of such a medication to manage the behavioral manifestations of autism spectrum disorder would be a good idea.”

Dr. Henry Sachs provided a statement to WPRI news regarding the use of medical marijuana for autism.

Dr. Sachs said, “As health care providers, we rely heavily on research findings to demonstrate the efficacy and safety of any new treatment. Of course, those standards would need to be met around the use of marijuana treatment for patients with autism. Research is currently lacking in that area.”

The DOH has 180 days to provide a decision regarding whether or not to add autism as a qualifying medical marijuana condition.