Monday, February 27, 2012

Parents want to treat autism with medical marijuana

When some think about autism treatments they see thousands of dollars that is needed for high priced prescription treatments. These medications are known to be potentially harmful and have little effect on the symptoms, and worst, they are for the most part experimental. One couple from Oklahoma City wants to put an end to their child being used as a "test subject" and switch to something that is socially controversial but has had medical success in reversing the symptoms of autism, medical marijuana.

Catherine Mejias and her husband have tried everything when treating and caring for their son Deacon who has been diagnosed with autism. They began to notice at age 5 that Deacon (now 7) was not developing the skills and developmental mile stones that are normal for children his age. Deacon couldn't speak, had problems associating with other children, was unfocused and wouldn't respond often when spoken to. They feared the worse, and sure enough, they were right.

Deacon became a handful and required round the clock supervision and treatment, and Deacon's new regiment wasn't cheap. In a time period of twelve mouths the Mejias have spent over $15,000 in medication for treatment alone, the results were futile. The Mejias concerns weren't about the money they spent, but rather over the limited to no results of these medications, further, most of the medications were experimental. "We have a journal where we've listed all the drugs he takes, they're not working and their pretty much just being tested on our children," said Deacon's father.

The Mejias says what Deacon needs they unable to get because it's illegal in their state, medical marijuana. Recent research from the past 10 years have shown how effective THC (the chemical found in marijuana) is when treating autism, in some cases even reversing severe symptoms. THC is the main psychoactive component of marijuana, primarily given to patients in a pill form. Doctors say it possesses pain relieving anti-inflammatory, nausea-preventing, euphoric effects as reported by KOCO Eyewitness News 5 who originally told the Mejias' story.

According to the Autism Research Institute, medical marijuana has shown a significant success in lessening symptoms such as aggression, anxiety, loss of appetite, panic attacks and dangerous behavior in some autistic children. One of these success stories is the case of Hester-Perez who says medical marijuana saved her son Joey's life. 10-year-old Joey had similar symptoms to Deacon and won't eat, he was literally wasting way into nothing and doctors were concerned for his life. Perez then made the decision to give Joey marijuana in his brownies, the results were shocking. Not only did Joey begin to eat and gain a healthy weight, but he also became more responsive and dangerous behavior was suppressed.

The Hester-Perez case gained attention a went national showing living proof of the positive effects medical marijuana has some autistic sufferers, and was even sited in the pro marijuana documentary "WeedGeist" which outlined other medical marijuana success stories. It was cases such as these researched by the Mejias family that gave them hope for a safer and cheaper alternative.

But despite the success of research regarding medical cannabis and autism, lawmakers won't consider touching the topic in the Mejias families state, and now they fear moving will be their only option in order to help their son.