With the news just this week that there are more autistic kids out there than ever before, Marie Myung-OK Lee’s story of how cannabis is helping her nine-year-old son couldn’t have come at a better time.
At the outset, the idea is shocking – the family feeds their nine-year-old pot-laced cookies every day.
But Lee’s story of son J’s life prior to the cookies is equally shocking for those of us lucky enough not to have firsthand experience with autism. She relates days when his teachers mark him down for as many as three hundred “aggressive” moments in one school day. She talks of uncontrollable compulsions that cause him to eat his own clothing and bed linens, of the aftermath when his body then has to pass the fiberous fabrics.
When she first wrote about her plan back in May, Lee weathered attacks on her parenting, among them people advising her not to drug her kid . . . but advocating her to work for a cure. Would you tell a cancer patient not to take advantage of something that shrinks his tumor because it isn’t the cure that he could be out working toward?
What makes the difference here? That he’s a child?
A cure would be wonderful for every autistic child, but like the cure for any of life’s currently incurable diseases, it’s a ways off. And yet pot has made the worst of J’s symptoms disappear, allowing a child suffering from a syndrome no cure a semblance of normal life. It is the next best thing to a cure – a treatment that works.
It’s worth pointing out, too, that asking a parent not to “drug” her kid sounds hollow when the other options to pot are all technically drugs as well. Legal though they may be, pharmaceuticals are mind/mood-altering substances as well.
Researchers have already harnessed illegal drugs to treat childhood diseases – what, after all, is the basis of most ADHD medicines but speed? Maybe medical marijuana is next for a child’s medicine cabinet near you.
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