Parents of autistic children in Arizona have been fighting for several years to get Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) added as a qualifying condition for medical marijuana.
Three hearings were held and the court’s final decision on August 14th was to deny adding autism to the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act. One of the main reasons cited in the judge’s decision was a lack of evidence.
Previous attempts also ended unsuccessfully. In 2017, a petition for ASD was denied for lacking the necessary requirements of specified codes. The initial rejection read, in part: “The petition does not include any evidence of a study involving humans and marijuana that has been established in a peer reviewed journal.”
Documents from the recent hearings also noted that clinical trials in process for ASD and cannabinoid therapy are insufficient as they are “in-process” and do not have conclusions. But it was determined that the documents would be valid scientific proof once the studies are complete.
Dr. Judy Mikovitz of the University of Virginia – Charlottesville, has argued that medical marijuana offers a curative option for those with ASD and does not cause harm. She did also note that medical marijuana alone should not be the course of treatment for a person with ASD.
In the final ruling, the decision indicates that sufficient scientific evidence was not provided and that anecdotal evidence is not sufficient. It also states that there was a failure to establish that any person with ASD is impaired and is unable to perform daily activities.
Scientific evidence from the conclusion of ongoing trials may be what the advocates need for a court to recognize that medical marijuana does help children with ASD.