Parents Control Son's Autistic Rages With Pot

Health Check 45

marijuanaTough question for parents: would you give your child medicinal pot? What if your child has a disease that's caused both autism and a seizure disorder and together the two sent your child into uncontrollable rages, even made your 11-year-old hurt himself?

This is the life of Alex Echols, a little boy from Oregon who is giving parents of autistic kids with uncontrollable rage hope. He can't communicate with his caregivers to explain why he would headbutt things so hard that his entire face is black and blue. But since he started drinking a liquid form of cannabis, he isn't hurting himself anymore.

Hard to argue with that, right? Especially when you look at the picture of Alex, wearing a helmet and bloodied, atop the Echols family blog. Next to it is a picture of Alex without the helmet, his skin as it should be.

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It's a no-brainer. Parents want the happy, healthy kid. Not the one who is beating themselves up with no way of controlling themselves.

So pot it is ... right?

Medical marijuana is not currently considered a treatment for autism. But it is one for seizures. And consider an estimated 1/3 of kids with autism also have seizures, the chances of this treatment going mainstream are getting higher by the day.

The Echols' case is already getting national attention, with parents jumping on their Facebook page and blog to share stories of how cannabis has helped their kids. They're drawn, too, to the story of how the Echols are fighting to gain acceptance for this treatment for kids who have similar rages to Alex.

Because of his severe case of Tuberous Sclerosis, the rare, genetic disorder that causes unregulated growth of non-malignant tissue in his body and is blamed for both his seizures and his autism symptoms, Alex lives in a group home. The only problem? The drug -- which the Echols obtain legally in Oregon under the state's medical marijuana program -- can't be administered by the folks at the home. The couple have to take their son off-site three times a week so he can drink his cocktail.

Their current fight against the prohibition of cannabis and to gain acceptance for treatment of these rages with something they say works is one that could make a major difference for kids across America.

Does your child have rages like Alex? Would you consider using pot to help him or her?

 

Image via "it was 3 a.m."/Flickr

autism, kid health