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Sunday, August 29, 2010

Autism at Marijuana Convention

The Orange County Register covers a medical marijuana convention in Anaheim:

At the Unconventional Foundation for Autism booth, parent Mieko Hester-Perez of Brea recounted her controversial decision to treat her terminally ill, autistic son with small doses of marijuana.

Joey, who was had been given just six months to live last year, weighed 48 pounds at age 10, Hester-Perez said. He was extremely aggressive, on 13 medications for autism, and had recently been diagnosed with anorexia and malnutrition, she said.

After she began giving him carefully controlled doses of marijuana in a brownie, his behavior improved, he gained more than 40 pounds and he went down to two autism medications, said Hester-Perez, founder of the Unconventional Foundation for Autism, which works with more than 100 parents.

"I saved my son's life," said Hester-Perez, whose story has been featured on TV shows like Good Morning America and 20/20. "This is an alternative to parents who have exhausted all other means."

Hester-Perez said her decision came with great hesitation, and even at Saturday's expo, she explained how out of place she felt.

"I feel like a fish out of water," she said. "I'm a non-cannabis user, and the next booth over is selling marijuana pipes. But I'm here. I couldn't sleep at night knowing I could help another family."

See 2009 story on ABC: