Cannafora is a medical cannabis treatment center for people with autism and other neurodevelopmental disorders. The center offers a complete solution holistic approach (biological, emotional, environmental) that addresses all aspects of the patient’s life.
Yuval, my severely autistic son is 27 now. Yuval is very restless and has a lot of anxiety, so when he was 12 years old, we started giving him antipsychotic medication on the recommendation of his doctors. But he just became worse and worse.
By the age of 17 he got epileptic seizures so we had to add anti-epileptic drugs. When he was around 17, he became very self-injurious, biting himself until bleeding. And sometimes very aggressive towards his cares or towards me.
There were years I refer to as “living in the shadow of hell”. Loving and caring for your child but frightened he will attack you…can’t be alone with him and can’t drive and take him to places.
So, even before cannabis, we weaned him off all those medications and found him to do better without them than with. But still, he had his outbursts, his restlessness and self-injurious behaviors.
Then, in 2014, I read that Israeli neurologists started prescribing high CBD whole plant oil for kids with intractable epilepsy. I reached out to them, but they said they couldn’t prescribe it to Yuval since his epilepsy is intractable and because autism was not a qualifying condition in Israel.
I decided we had nothing to lose and would find a way to give it a try. I read as much as I could on the internet about the cannabis plant, turned to an Israeli psychiatrist who treated hundreds of Israeli veterans with PTSD and finally, got access to medical marijuana for Yuval.
It was on October 2015. I remember thinking if Yuval responded amazingly to the treatment his mother would become the Israeli advocate for so many families choosing to treat their children with medical marijuana instead of pharmaceutical drugs.
In Yuval’s case, he responded best to a CBD-rich whole plant cannabis oil and vaporizing high-THC cannabis flower when he is agitated. CBD-dominant cannabis products without THC tended to increase his hyperactivity and anxiety. However, some children can experience significant improvements with CBD oil alone.
Definitely. Since cannabis is a very complicated plant, much more scientific research is needed to better understand: the different strains, cannabinoids and terpenes effects, different delivery methods, extraction methods, and vaporizing options.
Even today here in Israel, where autism is a qualifying condition for medical marijuana we have more and more doctors supporting this treatment option and willing to prescribe it. And since autism is so complex by itself most of the knowledge today comes from the patients themselves, and just small part of it from science.
And this is what I do here in Israel at Cannafora (Cannabis for Autism treatment center I’ve founded) – the “hands on” part with the families to get the right cannabis product and the right dosing and balance for their autistic child…
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I love helping others, seeing them realize their potential and being a change for good. I discovered the power of the cannabis plant in its raw form when it brought our child back to us from the fog so I committed my life’s work to pay it forward by educating the world about our story and how the hemp/cannabis plant can help billions of people around the world with its seemingly endless uses.
Our son was diagnosed with severe, regressive autism and we came across some research that cannabis was helping kids with seizures and we prayed it would help our son. When we discovered raw, whole-plant cannabis high in CBDa that’s when we had our breakthrough.
Our son is no longer on the spectrum and so we set 101cbd.org to pay it forward and educate the world about this miracle plant.
There is a lack of training in the medical profession in the basic functions of the endocannabinoid system and the functions of cannabis in the body. There is an especially large gap in knowledge about the hemp-extracted CBD and the raw CBDa products available in the consumer market.
As many patients turn to these products on their own for pain, anxiety, sleep, and more serious health challenges, it is important for the medical profession to keep abreast of the latest research on benefits, guidance on choosing products, and dosing suggestions.
While there has been more familiarity with THC products in medical marijuana, there appears to be a lack of differentiating the usage and benefits of CBD versus THC.
There also is a lack of awareness of the potential negative effects of recommending THC products for children during brain development up to 25 years of age and the potential negative additive effect of THC on children with current neurological problems such as autism…
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My oldest son, Gavin, was diagnosed with autism in 2010 at the age of 5 and accepted into the Sussex Consortium for their year-round Autism program. It was a hard diagnosis for us to face even though my husband is a Special Education teacher and works with autistic children on a regular basis.
Gavin was born a twin with his sister, Rylie, at 29 weeks gestation. I remember the first time I was allowed to hold him he cuddled up under my neck. My first thought was “Oh, wow! I’ve got a little cuddle bug!” I called him my Bugaboo. He met all of his milestones albeit a bit delayed due to his early birth.
There was still something “off” though. He seemed to have been born with OCD. His pediatrician and I would discuss his “quirkiness” when he was very little but as time went on, we both knew we needed to get him evaluated for ASD. He would fixate on broken or uneven floor tiles and physically fight me if I tried to move him.
Instead of clothes, his dresser drawers were full of rocks, sticks, pieces of electronics he took apart, old erasers, and pieces of folded papers that he would stare at. He never once played with toys. He was combative, aggressive, and controlling with others, especially with Rylie.
He could not handle changes and had to have strict routine. He was developing certain behaviors such as smelling and tasting nonfood items, for instance ants, plants, feet if he could get to them under a table, soap, etc. The communication coming out was perseveration and how he was receiving communication was extremely pragmatic.
Communication, mutism, and lack of being able to console or touch him was our biggest concern. He was disappearing into a different world each day. We saw him mirror others around him so we decided to integrate him into regular classrooms with a therapist by his side and private therapy during the summers.
He was ahead for his age on an intellectual scale but emotionally, socially, and behaviorally things were difficult for him. We saw slivers of empathy come through and this made us hopeful. The hardest for us was the social impact we saw playing out for him. We could see that he was figuring out that his brain worked differently than his peers.
He wanted to be accepted by his peers but was not. Sports did not work out in his favor with his IBS, awkward gait, and severe social anxiety. We began making plans to remodel our downstairs into a suite for him as he got older, thinking long-term.
He also wanted and needed his own space to retreat and calm down. His social anxiety, even with family, was apparent. What would his future look like? Were we doing the right things? Diets, medicines, therapy…I know every parent question themselves if they have done enough. It’s a hard thing to wonder. You literally tear yourself up over this…
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