Lehigh University looks to study cannabis’ effect on autistic children

As Pennsylvania prepares to award its first licenses for the fledgling medical marijuana industry, Lehigh University intends to partner with one of the potential growers in the Lehigh Valley to study the effect of the drug on children with autism.

While some parents of autistic children have preached the benefits of cannabis for years, Lehigh’s Dean of Education Gary Sasso confirmed Monday that the university wants to collect some of the first quantitative data on the controversial drug therapy. Pennsylvania is one of the few states that specifically allows children with autism to be treated with cannabis.

He said the anecdotal evidence is interesting, because marijuana appears to lack the side effects of the psychotropic drugs that are accepted in the treatment of autism. But, he cautioned, the effect of marijuana is largely unknown, underscoring the need for the study.

If it proves to be safe, “does it mitigate some of the

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