Transcript of News Segment:
In a special KTLA investigation we told you about one young California boy whose parents are giving him medical marijuana to treat his autism symptoms.
The response to our report has been overwhelming… so we took this very personal, ground-breaking story straight to the experts.
KTLA’s Cher Calvin introduced you to ‘Sam,’ a ten year-old who lives with his Dad, his Mom, and his sister Lucy in Northern California.
Sam has autism.
His disorder made him so violent and aggressive, his parents Steve and Angela turned to growing medical marijuana, and dosing Sam with it.
“If you think about it, it’s the perfect drug for that kind of behavior, very calming,” Sam’s Mom Angela says.
His Dad Steve turns the cannabis plants into a concentrated form commonly called ‘hash,’ and gives Sam just a speck, which he eats almost daily.
For Sam’s family, the results have been astounding.
“It was like all this anguish, pent-up rage and aggressiveness went away,” Steve said. “It just calmed him down.”
“Parents are suffering so much from the behaviors they see in their children, and they’re looking for any kind of solution,” Dr. Granpeesheh says. “So it’s not unexpected to see parents turning to medical marijuana.”
Dr. Granpeesheh has studied autistic children for three decades. In recent months she’s heard a handful of other success stories much like Sam’s.
“I’ve heard from some parents that they’ve use medical marijuana and they’ve found that it reduces aggression, it reduces hyperactivity,” Dr. Granpeesheh says. “It will definitely affect the self-stimulatory and repetitive behaviors in autism, so they find their children are much calmer after the use of marijuana.”
Still, the doctor warns that we don’t yet know enough about cannabis for kids. “My concern with this would be that we don’t have any research on the use of medical cannabis with children, and we certainly don’t have any safety studies.”
Dr. Granpeesheh says there might be a down side to marijuana for autism. “In most cases the use of such things as cannabis will actually reduce your learning ability, and it’s very important for children with autism to become more aware — not just more calm, but more aware. And it might not be possible to do that when you’ve used cannabis.”
But in light of our “Sam’s Story” special report, the Center for Autism would fully support more study of the effects of medical marijuana.
“It’s certainly a very interesting area,” Dr. Granpeesheh concludes, “And we would be interested in doing that research.”
It’s a fascinating frontier for many parents who’ve experienced the challenge — and the heartbreak — of autism in their children’s lives.
AND EFFECTIVE TREATMENTS,
Copyright © 2009, KTLA-TV, Los Angeles