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Sunday, April 11, 2010

Marijuana and Autism

Spectrum reports:
Mieko Hester-Perez is convinced marijuana saved her child’s life.
Just six months ago her son, Joey, a 10-year-old with severe autism, weighed just 46 pounds. He stopped eating after the medications he had been taking to control his behavior took away his appetite, according to the Orange County, Calif., mom.
“You could see the bones in his chest and in his arms and legs,” Hester-Perez says. “He had stopped walking and he would bruise very easily.”
But it was medical marijuana, an unorthodox treatment for autism that’s been the center of debate recently, which got her child eating again and changed his life for the better, she says. It was not a decision she made lightly. “I decided to try medical marijuana truly after I exhausted every other treatment,” Hester-Perez says.


The mother is hoping her crusade will result in the California state legislature including autism as one of the treatable conditions under its medical marijuana law, which passed in 1996. AIDS, cancer, glaucoma, and arthritis are among the illnesses currently included. Although autism is not explicitly mentioned in the bill, doctors can prescribe marijuana for any other illness that it might provide relief.
This fall, in fact, California voters will vote on a ballot measure to legalize marijuana. The initiative would forbid adults from selling or giving marijuana to minors, but history of tobacco and alcohol regulation would suggest that youngsters would have little difficulty getting it.