Cannabis use for medical reasons has already been legalized in many states, but there is still no consensus among people as to its medical benefits.
While the conversation about medical marijuana continues, the idea of allowing children to use the substance is still considered close to taboo. But one mother is speaking out about how she personally experimented on cannabis to aid her then young son's violent rage due to a painful gut disease and autism.
Dealing With Pain, Autism And Rage
Marie Myung Ok-Lee is a mother whose child has gone through severe physical pain from infancy. In the story she posted in The Washington Post, Marie describes her journey from being a helpless mother of an ailing child to a supporter of cannabis use, which she said helped ease her child's pain and violent rage.
In her essay, Marie recounts her child's long ordeal, which began at 18 months after undergoing two spinal surgeries that left him immobilized in a cast for more than a year. It was after this that her son began experiencing violent rage almost all throughout the day.
Marie and her husband did not understand the cause of the violent rage at first until their son was diagnosed with a painful gut disease and severe autism.
After trying different treatments that didn't work and being hesitant about a newly recommended drug, Marie was desperate for effective remedies. She found the answer right in the very university where she worked, at Brown University, where she learned of the healing properties of cannabis through a group of users, thus beginning her own cannabis testimony.
Hopeful about this possible treatment, Marie researched and experimented on the possibilities and gained a marijuana license for her son. She tried different strains of cannabis for her son to use, and different methods. One of which was baking the substance into cookies.
In her experiments, she found that not all strains of cannabis were effective for her son, with some leaving him with red eyes or unwilling to do tasks. However, when she did find the right strain — said to be a favorite of cancer patients — she found that her son was clear-eyed, active, and free from pain and rage.
"It seemed like a miracle," she said of the treatment. Her son has been using it for seven years.
However, moving to New York from Rhode Island presented a dilemma for the family. New York has yet to consider autism as a qualification to use medical marijuana. Her hopes lie in President Barack Obama's last days as a turning point for her son's "miracle" treatment.
Cannabis and Autism
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a developmental disorder that usually appears in the very first years of life. It is often characterized by severe difficulty in social and communication skills, and even by aggression.
The use of cannabis by individuals with ASD has been seen to minimize their aggressive tendencies and boost a more positive mood. Pennsylvania and Delaware are some of the states that currently qualify individuals with ASD for cannabis use.