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Should Medical Marijuana Be Used to Treat Autism


Nug of the Month: Aug 2008
There are some people who believe autism can be treated with medical marijuana. In fact recently there was a story in the news about a mother doing just that. But there are a number of issues in doing so and the need for more research.

The Autism Society defines autism as "a complex developmental disability that typically appears during the first two years of life and is the result of a neurological disorder that affects the functioning of the brain, impacting development in the areas of social interaction and communication skills. Both children and adults on the autism spectrum typically show difficulties in verbal and non-verbal communication, social interactions, and leisure or play activities."

A few days ago the CBS Early Show presented a story about a mother who is using medical marijuana to treat her 10-year-old autistic son. The co-host of the show, Russ Mitchell, declared: "As more youngsters are being diagnosed with autism, there is a growing need for alternative treatments. One California mother says medical marijuana has made vast improvements in her autistic son."
The Week, a news and opinion website, has a video clip showing the mother giving medical marijuana to her son. The show discusses the mother's statements that her son's severe autistic behaviors have been significantly reduced because of the marijuana cookies she has been giving her son. It was noted in the program, however, the American Academy of Pediatrics is opposed to legalizing marijuana but remains interested in doing research on it.
Another mother maintains on the autism research website "I know it's not the end all answer but it's been the best answer for the longest time for us in regards to ALL the other medications. I cannot tell you how many months we would go on a medication wondering if it was doing anything, anything at all. Here we can see the difference in 30-60 minutes guaranteed."
An autistic college student has posted his story on the use of medical marijuana to help curb his own behaviors. He doesn't identify himself by name but describes himself as follows on a website dealing with autism:

I am a college student who was diagnosed with AS years ago, with a mother who knew of nearly every technique for autism treatment. Despite this, I still have many problems with communication and coordination. I have overcome many other problems, most importantly self-destructive behavior towards myself and occasional violence towards others. But every day I still worry about where my life is headed, and if I'll really be able to live on my own, not so much because of the responsibility but because of the loneliness.

After taking medical marijuana the positive results are said to be significant. The youth maintains:

The result of the treatment was nothing less than a miracle, and the effects were beyond what I could have even conceived. Nearly every problem I have dealt with has been alleviated to some extent. My social skills are far better than what they were. Even though at times I would be talkative, I would often trip up in the middle of what I was saying, and I never felt I was making meaningful conversation with anyone. Since I've started using the treatment last week, I've had several in-depth conversations lasting 15-20 minutes or even longer. The content of those conversations has completely changed because now I'll choose what to say on an emotional basis. (the third article explains this very well) For once I've been able to move people emotionally through conversation, not just through simple jokes which I'm occasionally good at. I've made people laugh before, but now I actually have the ability to noticeably make others happy. While one of the most well-known of marijuana use is forgetfulness, I have noticed that my memory has actually improved dramatically.

Still there are those who raise questions about the use of medical marijuana to treat autism. A major question has to do with whether or not the drug is legal in the particular state it is administered. Other questions have to do with supply and the form of administration of the drug.
While proponents of marijuana use provide evidence of its effectiveness in treating autism, the more conservative groups remind people there are a variety of ways to deal with the issues. These include behavior modification, communication and dietary modifications.
In the meantime as more states modify laws on medical marijuana use, the community of parents with autistic children and autistic adults are said to be looking forward to additional information and research on the use of marijuana in treating autism.

News Hawk- Ganjarden 420 MAGAZINE ® - Medical Marijuana Publication & Social Networking
Source: DigitalJournal.com
Author: Carol Forsloff
Contact: DigitalJournal.com
Copyright: 2009 digitaljournal.com
Website: Should Medical Marijuana Be Used to Treat Autism
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