"If medical marijuana calms down some children with autism it may work in the same way that massage or swinging therapies do. These things feel good and that could have a settling effect on kids that are prone to be hyperactive," said Becky Estepp, mother of a child with autism and a spokeswoman for autism advocacy group Talk About Curing Autism.
St. Pierre said one of the primary problems with marijuana research has been that government funding policies have not allowed research into possible medical benefits, only potential harms. His statement appears supported by a search of the database of clinical trials funded by the government, showing trials of
"One of the big concerns we've had for over 30 years is that the federal government has a series of skewed funding priorities," he said. "If the government allowed researchers to move more naturally…we would see more studies on cannabis and autism."
"[The National Institute on Drug Abuse] would not fund a trial of marijuana as a treatment of autism," said Earleywine.
And he said that is unlikely to change even under a more liberal administration.
"It's a competitive time to get those research dollars," said Earleywine. "I think it's unlikely, even thought the attitudes are less conservative."
Email Mieko at email@example.com or email Ted Cromwell, the head of the Unconventional Foundation for Autism, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information on autism, visit the American Academy of Pediatrics at www.aap.org.