Rachel’s life with autism dramatically changed after using medical cannabis. Image from YouTube.
by Paul Fassa
Health Impact News
With the addition of Pennsylvania and Ohio in 2016, the total number of states in America allowing the use of cannabis medically is now 25. The non-state known as the District of Columbia or Washington, D.C., the nation’s capitol, also has allowances for medical cannabis.
They all have variations of what ailments or diseases are allowed for obtaining a medical marijuana permit. The states that are the most liberal include Colorado, Washington (state), and Oregon. They allow recreational use of marijuana, thus eliminating the need for approval from a bureaucratic medical marijuana approval system.
Some states have more restrictions than others. For example, in New Mexico, hepatitis C is a condition allowed for cannabis, but only if one is using an FDA approved medically prescribed anti-viral. In other words, only as an adjunct for interferon type drugs that have a history of nasty side effects.
This helps keep those who would rather avoid the medical system in it. Nearby Arizona allows cannabis for hepatitis C without the concurrent anti-viral treatment requirement. But so far, only one state allows medical cannabis for those diagnosed with aggressive or destructive autism, Delaware.
Currently, a panel within the Minnesota Department of Health has met to discuss the possibility of including autism as a qualified condition for cannabis use. If you are a Minnesota resident and wish to register your supporting opinion or parental giver story with that panel, they are open to comments until September 20th.
Here’s that panel’s email address – Health.Cannabis.AddMedicalCondition@state.mn.us
Seizures and Full Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)
CBD oils, high in cannabidiol and very low in THC, the cannabis compound that stimulates the “high” or euphoric sensation, are readily accepted for helping kids with chronic intractable epilepsy, even in some states that have not legalized medical marijuana.
That’s partially due to the favorable national exposure from CNN TN News Dr. Sanjay Gupta’s nationally televised documentary “Weed,” which also went viral on the internet. It featured a child with severe seizures and not other manner of existence whose symptoms were reversed dramatically with CBD oil.
That exposure reached thousands of families with children suffering from intractable seizures who demanded access to CBD, even if it meant moving to Colorado. Add this to the CBD’s high cannabidiol content with very low THC helps makes it easier to convince politicians to allow CBD oil for children. It’s the solution for the THC for kids taboo.
Part of the THC resistance for kids is misinformation from psychiatry coupled with the public’s misunderstanding of autism. The DSM-5 is the fifth edition of guidelines for diagnosing mental disorders as diseases that are changed every decade or more. DSM stands for Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (of Mental Disorders).
The latest DSM update is summarized in a power point presentation by Walter E. Kaufmann, M.D. of the Department of Neurology Boston Children’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School. Click here and view page 28 of the slide presentation.
A more detailed outline of the DSM-5 diagnostic criteria for ASD (autism spectrum disorder) includes how to incorporate other behavioral tendencies noted in previous DSM editions. You may notice from the power point summary and/or expanded outline you can access at the end of this paragraph that the diagnostic criteria for ASD is pretty much behavioral and mental. (Source)
There is a lot of aggressive and self destructive behavior among ASD kids, often largely due to medical pain, often in the gut. Dr. Andrew Wakefield and his colleague Dr. John Walker-Smith were the only doctors willing to hear what the parents of a dozen autistic children with intensely painful gastrointestinal illnesses had to say, that they were fine until their MMR vaccinations.
In other words their medical situation was part of their autism. Wakefield and Smith did some blood workups to confirm a link to the MMR vaccine among these kids. And all those two doctors did was write-up a clinical report about the kids and what their parents said, suggesting the MMR (mumps, measles, rubella) should be broken up into the three shots given at separate times.
Then the pharmaceutical backed media lies began, and Dr. Wakefield became the target of slanderous claims that the media still supports … but that’s another story, told well here.
Psychiatric and psychological misinformation have created a myth that autism is simply mentally induced abnormal behavior. Media gullibility and public ignorance have sustained the myth to the level of “common knowledge” or “everybody knows.”
It’s also this false impression that many public officials and others hold: That autism is mental, and the THC in whole plant cannabis may exacerbate ASD symptoms because of it’s psychotropic effect. Also, there are levels of “Reefer Madness” lingering in the consciousness of many politicians or state bureaucrats.
The DEA’s stubbornly misplaced attitude toward cannabis doesn’t help the effort of allowing autistic kids whole plant full spectrum marijuana. Fortunately, anecdotal reports of whole plant cannabis used successfully to bring kids out of totally crippling and/or destructive aggressive autism are leaking through the defenses, some publicly.
But how are anecdotal events even occurring if autism is not registered as a condition to allow full spectrum whole plant cannabis with THC?
The medical marijuana pioneer California is giving doctors more leeway in deciding what’s best for a child after all the “standard of care” medical applications worsen the child’s condition. Then cannabis is called in. A couple of other states without autism registered as a condition for cannabis allow similar physician discretion.
But usually parents of autistic children in medical cannabis legal states need to find other co-morbid medical symptoms that do allow CBD/THC medical marijuana. Using one or more co-morbid medical maladies enables parents to register for medical marijuana cards and help their kids and themselves lead better lives.
Examples of some co-morbid illnesses are Crohn’s disease or IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), again, just like the Wakefield-Smith kids. Intractable epileptic seizures is another one that’s common to autistic kids while all epileptics are not autistic. There are other co-morbid possibilities in different states. But what if any of those medical conditions cease to exist and the child is still autistic?
And don’t forget care giver toll demanded on the parents. The “standard of care” medical expenses, and their side effects, which worsen the conditions of their autistic children, all add to parental demands for simplifying access to what is proving a viable treatment for autistic kids when all else fails, even CBD, whole plant full spectrum cannabis.
MAMMA Leads the National Crusade for Autism as an Allowable Condition for Cannabis
The desire to add autism to the list of conditions allowed for medical full spectrum cannabis treatment has become a national grassroots crusade, led mostly by MAMMA, the acronym for Mothers Advocating Medical Marijuana for Autism.
MAMMA was founded by Amy Lou Fawell and Thalia Michelle, both mothers of autistic children. Their mission is to lobby state by state to approve autism as a condition for using full spectrum cannabis, not just CBD, by educating state officials who make those legal conditions for using cannabis medically. You can access their facebook page here.
Dr. Christian Bogner, M.D., of Michigan has observed remarkable improvements in a few autistic children who were administered Rick Simpson Oil (RSO) type oils that are a little over 50 percent THC and slightly under 15 percent CBD. He has been pushing for approving autism as a condition that will permit this type of cannabis oil for children.
Regardless of how successful the Charlotte’s Web CBD oil has been for seizures, it may or may not be sufficient for other aspects of the autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Also, there are cases of children improving with CBD oil only to relapse later. Then by using full plant cannabis with THC and CBD was added, the child improved rapidly again. (Source.)
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