As the the 2012 election year shifts into full gear, the subject of legalizing marijuana has yet again come to the forefront. Most notably, Ron Paul has gained a large following of pro-marijuana advocates, citing his consistent pot-friendly stance during his 30-year tenure in the House of Representatives.
Outside of the realm of politics, marijuana also has the autism community talking, with many questioning the safeness and efficacy of the drug for those on the autism spectrum.
In 2009, Mieko Hester-Perez made national headlines for giving her then-ten-year-old son marijuana, which she claims saved his life. With her son Joey’s weight dropping to a dangerous 46 lbs. due to his very poor diet, Perez began prescribed treatments of marijuana-laced brownies, which caused the youngster to immediately gain 38 lbs., restoring his health in the process. In addition to an increased appetite, Perez also claims the marijuana helped curb her son’s self-injurious behavior, wandering and aggressive demeanor — all within a short period of time.
As the Perez story made the rounds, other desperate families quickly followed suit, creating a huge tug-of-war debate about the ethical, legal and health implications of medical marijuana for autism.
Not surprisingly, some physicians have been very critical of its use and claim there is little data to support its effectiveness and argue that prolonged treatments can have huge implications for those on the autism spectrum. And as one of our authors pointed out in a story last year, the use of psychotropics and other mind-altering drugs for autism almost always result in undesired consequences.
I agree that we should be extremely wary of putting anything in our children’s bodies that will affect their mood, behavior or psychological state. However, playing the role of devil’s advocate, it’s also very difficult to argue against the success Mieko Hester-Perez has experienced with her child.
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