Characteristics for Medical Cannabis Treatment Adherence among Autistic Children and Their Families: A Mixed-Methods Analysis

Ayelet David, Orit Stolar, Matitiahu Berkovitch, Elkana Kohn, Michal Waisman-Nitzan, Inbar Hartmann, Eynat Gal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: Medical cannabis treatment for autistic children has recently become popular, and studies have focused on examining the treatment's effects on children's symptom presentation, reported side effects, and dropout rates. However, no previous study has investigated the factors influencing adherence and dropout rates in cannabis treatment. Method: This explanatory sequential mixedmethods study explored these factors by examining the characteristics of 87 autistic children and their families and deepening parents' perspectives and experiences of the 6- month CBD-rich cannabis treatment's benefits and barriers. Results: We found this treatment to have a high (75%) adherence rate, relatively mild side effects, and substantial reported benefits for the children and families. However, this treatment was not free of barriers; the intake regime, some side effects, and in some cases, unrealistic parental expectations made adherence difficult for some families. Conclusion: Our results highlight the importance of providing professional guidance and knowledge to parents of autistic children, enhancing their understanding of the impact of CBD-rich cannabis treatment on their children and expected related challenges, and coordinating realistic treatment expectations. We hope that addressing these important aspects will influence parents' ability to adhere to and enjoy the benefits of cannabis treatment for their autistic children.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number538901
Pages (from-to)68-79
Number of pages12
JournalMedical Cannabis and Cannabinoids
Issue number1
StatePublished - 16 Apr 2024


  • Adherence
  • Autism spectrum disorder
  • Children
  • Family
  • Medical cannabis

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pharmacology
  • Complementary and alternative medicine
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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