A bill is now sitting on the desk of Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper which, if signed, would legalize the use of medical marijuana by those with autism.
It has been passed by both the House and Senate with strong support, but the head of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment does not back it.
Supporters of the bill feel medical marijuana including the psychoactive component can be a valuable medicine in dealing with autism. Some people are already using for it their children who qualify under special conditions. One example is the Kropp family in Pueblo County.
Kolt may look like your ordinary 10-year-old boy, but his family feels there has been a transformation.
They credit medical marijuana for taming his severe autism.
They had been living in Arizona. Kolt’s mother, Jamie Kropp, says her son was combative and self-destructive.
“I’m sitting at my wit’s end crying not knowing what I can do for my son, but I knew he could have a better quality of life,” she said.
While Arizona does have legal medical marijuana, she says Kolt did not qualify, so she researched and found cannabis was having positive effects on children with autism in some cases. She decided to bring her family to Colorado.
“I knew if I came to Colorado I would be protected, that I could get Kolt his medical card and start treating him with cannabis,” she said.
Kolt qualified for medical marijuana in Colorado due to a rare skin condition. His mother began giving it to him in different forms, vaping and homemade tinctures with strong levels of the psychoactive component THC.
From their own plants, Jamie showed how she bakes, grates and mixes the cannabis with coconut oil to create what she considers a “miracle drug for her son.”
The difference has been visible; his eating compulsion stopped, he is now able to attend school and speak and reports from the school show a steady improvement.
While the results appear dramatic, they have been faced with criticism that they are getting Kolt high.
Jamie’s boyfriend Dan Brandt addressed that.
“With a typical mind, smoking cannabis I feel euphoric effect. Does an autistic mind feel that?” he asked. Brandt added that we don’t know enough about the mind with autism to say for sure, but they experimented with different levels of THC and found what they felt was the best for Kolt.
Brain scans of other children with autism who have taken CBD (which does not include THC) and medical marijuana have sometimes shown a marked calming difference.
But the executive director at CDPHE, Dr. Larry Wolk, warns medical marijuana can be harmful to children with autism and there is no scientific evidence it is effective.
To Jamie, that doesn’t matter.
“There was a little boy lost inside of his body. Since coming to Colorado, we have gotten our family back.”‘
Kropp and Brandt are so encouraged by what they have seen in Kolt they have a website on the subject.