In my mind, it’s so sad to see cannabis used as a last resort. We should be using all of our plants first, then moving to pharmaceuticals. I think in the future, the truth will come out – That was the way it’s meant to be. With that said, let’s get started.
Cannabis has been a life changer for my son and me. He was diagnosed with autism at the age of four. I had a hard time trying to understand where to go from there.
Years of crying, tantrums, and meltdowns ensued. We had so many sleepless nights, and his days were spent with him only pecking at his meals. I tried changing his diet, but that didn’t work. He eventually started refusing to eat all together.
In the middle of all this, I was fighting my own battle… trying to save myself from having to take pain medication for the rest of my life. I found that cannabis helped ease my pain, and I could manage my days with it. I was able to get off of pain meds completely and start having a clear mind again.
Then I thought, why couldn’t this help my son?
I started to search for literature on cannabis and autism. (I cited some links at the bottom of this article.) I found out there were already other families using cannabis to help their autistic family members. I talked with so many of them, and asked them how they decided cannabis was right for them.
They told me it was their last chance medicine. So many of them saw that their children responded so well to the plant. I wanted to try it for my son.
It was hard finding doctors who would help get my son’s medical marijuana card. I had to prove to them that it would be helpful for my son. He actually got approval because of pain from another diagnosis.
Each state is different on what qualifies a patient to have their medical card. Some states are harder than others. It’s not easy for children to get approval in my state.
After getting his card and my caregiver’s card, I was able to head to the dispensary to obtain flower form of Cannabis. My close friend was able to make that flower into Rick Simpson Oil (RSO). In my mind, this was the best way to give it to my son. I could put it into a capsule and give it to him like his normal medicine routine.
I was told to start with a dose the size of a grain of rice. That made me nervous so I got a toothpick and just got the tip of it dirty. That was his first dose.
That night he was calmer than normal, but still not sleepy or hungry. The next night, I stepped it up a little. This happened for four more nights until I could see a change.
By the fourth night he told me he was so hungry he could eat two dinners. You know what? He did! He ate one plate, and then an hour later he ate another plate of food. I could not believe it!
After his second plate, he started to sound super sleepy. He even told me, “Mommy I am tired. Will you lay with me?” He had never done that before. He normally struggled for hours to get to sleep. He slept all night. I did not. I was up every couple hours just to look at him. He was so peaceful in his slumber. I was amazed at this point.
Since that night, we have been able to change so many things in his life. School has gotten better. He was having interventions 500 times a month. Now we are down to less than 75 times a month. Who knew that would be a benefit of cannabis? All I was looking for was for him to get better sleep and eat more.
My son is also a heart patient. Cannabis has even helped with that. Before cannabis, we were told that we had a year or less until we would have open heart surgery. Now we have been able to postpone the surgery for two years.
His doctor is amazed, too. I told him what I was going to do before I started this journey. He was the only one I told, and he backed my decision 100%. Having his support helped me worry less.
Learning as I Go
Just like other medications, it took a while to find the right strains for my son. We went through a couple strains that weren’t a good fit. Then we found a couple strains that worked for him.
I had the cannabis tested to see what cannabinoids where present in them. That helped me find strains for the future. With cannabis, the body becomes used to a strain. So, you have to change it up every couple of months. The good thing is that you can cycle back to those old strains again.
I could tell that his body was becoming used to the strain when behaviors start to return that were once under control. Two days after a change in the oils, he returns back to his peaceful state.
I couldn’t even imagine what life would be like without cannabis. I don’t want to. It has been a blessing in our lives. I truly hope that we can educate more people on its benefits.
People should be able to make their own decisions of whether or not this plant is for them. We should have access to public studies so people can make informed decisions. You have to make up your own mind up on what is right for you and your loved ones.
Shadowlynn Mclaughlin lives in Arizona with her son. You can follow her on Facebook at Hearts of Green Foundation, where she hopes to educate families about the benefits of natural and herbal products.
Hiatt, Erin “Cannabis and Autism: Is Marihuana an Effective Treatment?” (Sunday March 11, 2017) https://www.coloradopotguide.com/colorado-marijuana-blog/article/cannabis-and-autism-is-marijuana-an-effective-treatment/
Kossen, Jeremy “How Does Cannabis Consumption Affect Autism?” (May 19, 2016)
Posted by Oaktree on Thursday Jun 9, 2016 “Treating Autism with Cannabis Oil Has Helped My Son. Interview with Dale Jackson, Autism Cannabis Oil Pioneer”