Mother explains why she gives pot to her 9-year-old autistic son

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77 Responses to “Mother explains why she gives pot to her 9-year-old autistic son”

  1. Anonymous says:

    One word of caution … I know a lot of people who initially enjoyed the effects of marijuana (sometimes too much), but later found that it induced paranoia and depression after years of use. we still don’t know much about it … I’m not saying ‘drugs are bad,’ just be careful.

    • Anonymous says:

      Just because someone smoked a bunch way back and now is paranoid and depressed does not mean that the smoking is the cause. I and two close friends (at least – just two off the top of my head) smoked little or not at all and are on the paranoid and depressed side, with other anxiety-type symptoms. Just because you suffer from B after using A does not mean A is cause, as another poster said of Zoloft and obsessive hair-pulling.
      We like to find patterns and we like to lay blame, but coincidences make the world go ’round.

  2. Goofball Jones says:

    “seeing some huge changes in his behavior and, presumably, his happiness.”

    Funny, I get the same way! Maybe I have teh autism!

  3. Goofball Jones says:

    Uhhh…yeah, that’s it…I have autism. I need this…for medical reasons.

  4. Anonymous says:

    What is interesting (at least to me) is that it takes a specific strain, “White Russian” to have the needed effect.

    • jokel says:

      Cannabis has more than one active ingredient and the modern strains differ quite significantly in the mix they produce, so isn’t really too surprising to hear that one strain performs better than another.

  5. Anonymous says:

    When you smoke all the time, doesn’t everyone seem anxious, autistic, and in need of toke? Sound like hippie Munchausen by Proxy.

  6. posthocergopropterhoc says:

    So Marie is doing unblinded, not randomly controlled, unsupervised medical experiments on her daughter? What’s to say that her daughter’s improvements weren’t due to subconscious cues from mom, who was optimistic that the “treatment” would work, or due to others’ involvement and observation of in the kid’s life?

    If it’s really the pot, convince her primary care physician to prescribe Marinol (dronabinol) for the child and see if the effects change. Maybe the brownies are just delicious and it has nothing to do with the THC.

    I know, “it’s just pot.” But doesn’t anyone see the ethical concerns of encouraging parents to do their own off-label uncontrolled drug research? There’s already a lot of internet-enabled pseudoscience that parents use to justify their actions with respect to kids’ health (see also: Jenny McCarthy as a self-proclaimed autism expert).

    • Xenu says:

      Doctors don’t magically know everything. Sometimes patients and/or parents have a closer understanding than any doctor ever will.

      • civver says:

        Right, and we know better. Sounds like what the Supplementary, Complementary, and Alternative Medicine (SCAM) proponents say.

        Also, normal pharmaceuticals? OMG kkkemikkkals bad! Nothing like good ol’ (−)-(6aR,10aR)-6,6,9-trimethyl-
        3-pentyl-6a,7,8,10a-tetrahydro-
        6H-benzo[c]chromen-1-ol.

    • bersl2 says:

      The hypothesis is that marijuana, not one synthesized component alone, is beneficial to children with autism. Minus stupid laws, one would only start isolating components if the plant itself works vs. placebo.

      Anecdotes are not evidence, but they can lead to legitimate hypotheses. In fact, I find this experiment of hers to be very much in the spirit of early scientific approaches to medicine, and I think it would be worthwhile to conduct a blind or double-blind, placebo-controlled experiment.

    • teapot says:

      If it’s really the pot, convince her primary care physician to prescribe Marinol (dronabinol) for the child and see if the effects change.

      Many adults find Marinol to be unpleasantly heavy in its sedative qualities, which is why they prefer to smoke. Imagine giving one to your kid…

      PS the quote I used in my previous comment comes from the top of page 54.

    • Nadreck says:

      “What’s to say that her daughter’s improvements weren’t due to subconscious cues from mom”

      That would be because, as an autistic child she’s just as likely to shoot laser beams from her eyes as she is to pick up on a subconscious cue about anything from anyone. One viable description of autism is that we don’t have a subconscious.

    • Anonymous says:

      posthocergopropterhoc, if you’d RTFA you’d know that it was her SON not daughter… And you’d also know that they tried marinol. Marijuana has been researched for decades. It’s safer than the majority of OTC drugs, much less prescription drugs (especially when eaten rather than smoked). Ill-informed voters like you are the reason marijuana is still schedule 1.

    • Anonymous says:

      Did you bother to read the article at all? My indication that you didn’t is that Marie is trying to help her son.

    • Itsumishi says:

      Marie isn’t doing blind unsupervised studies on her daughter. She doesn’t have a daughter (at least none mentioned in this article or any of the 2 previous articles). She is giving her son medicinal marijuana that has been approved by her son’s doctor, and approved by the Rhode Island Bureau of Criminal Identification.

      The only thing particularly different about this and anyone who tries new and fairly unstudied treatments is that marijuana has been extensively studied for thousands of years and whilst there are definitely some negative effects, the medical risks are quite low.

      I’m not advocating marijuana for everyone by any means, but this woman should not be criticised for (by the sounds of things) researching thoroughly a relatively safe drug for her sons serious and difficult condition.

    • Anonymous says:

      you sound like a drug company rep…

    • zyodei says:

      For what it’s worth, placebo controlled, double blind studies have resulted in a situation where we give millions of children strong amphetamines and mind-warping anti-psychotics.

      What if it is not just the THC, but another chemical in the pot? What if it is some difficult to discern combination of chemicals?

      I fully support the validity of the strict scientific method. But if you say that the only way that scientific research can happen is within laboratory settings using strict method, I feel this limits human growth unnecessarily.

      Everyone should explore, everyone should experiment. Their might be some risks associated with it, but they are outweighed by the expansion of human knowledge that has resulted from amateur science.

      • kc0bbq says:

        “Everyone should explore, everyone should experiment. Their might be some risks associated with it, but they are outweighed by the expansion of human knowledge that has resulted from amateur science.”

        Can’t call it science if you don’t use science. You may get lucky and stumble into a discovery, but it’s not science.

  7. Jeff C says:

    generally i think pot is pretty stupid, it’s a gateway drug in the sense that it leads to stupid hats and rambling about bullshit theories that don’t make any sense. with that said if it helps you with whatever ails you go for it. even give it to your 9 year old if it’s making his life better.

    BUT FOR THE LOVE OF GOD DON’T TELL THE INTERNET ABOUT IT!

    this lady is just asking to have her kid taken away and her house ransacked for drugs.

    • teapot says:

      Jeff C: Keep your misinformed opinions to yourself. Where is your proof? And you’re the one talking about rambling bullshit theories… that’s fresh.

      The American Medical Association (AMA) has been on side with weed even since the 1937 bill brought by Robert L. Doughton of North Carolina to ban its recreational use.

      ‘While acknowledging that the drug’s popularity as a prescription medicine had declined, Dr. William C. Woodward (The AMA’s legislative council) nonetheless warned that the Marihuana Tax Act “loses sight of the fact that future investigations may show that these are substantial medical uses for cannabis”‘

      I highly reccomend the book I linked to above:
      Marijuana Is Safer: So Why Are We Driving People to Drink? By Paul Armentano, Steve Fox, Mason Tvert.

      It will help you seperate fact from fiction and cut down fools like Jeff when they perpetuate bullshit.

      Jeff: if you care to learn more (which I suspect, judging by your ignorant demeanor, you don’t) then read that book.

      • Jeff C says:

        calm down, i never said it didn’t have medicinal benefits.

        on the other hand, and i haven’t seen any studies to prove this… but i don’t think any reasonable person can deny; a lot of people who smoke pot wear stupid hats.

        • bersl2 says:

          “a lot of people who smoke pot wear stupid hats.”

          I give your effort a 9/10; the above-quoted statement gave you away.

        • Anonymous says:

          “a lot of people who smoke pot wear stupid hats”

          yeah and a lot of people who drink water wear stupid hats, or eat carrots, or drive cars, wear pants, etc. There are a lot of stupid people in the world, but not sure I am seeing proof that it is just because of pot.

      • Antinous / Moderator says:

        teapot,

        Stop yelling at people.

        • teapot says:

          I don’t see the caps…
          Or any errors in my information…

          Apologies for the rather pointed way I occasionally write, but I just wish people would justify their beliefs sometimes… Myths about marijuana have cost thousands of people their freedom and liberty, not to mention the sickening sum of money wasted on legal defence, prosecution, incarceration and policing – all thanks to the war on drugs.

          You have the tea-party loons bitching about federal spending money on healthcare, while Americans have been happy to flush billions down the toilet for the war on drugs, over 7 decades, in return for no significant gains.

          Jeff’s comment may have been light hearted, but it gets under my skin when people group smokers into one, all-encompasing group. It’s like saying the people who drink Johnny Walker black label are the same as those who drink moonshine… It’s true they both get drunk, but I’m sure their time is spent on very different pursuits.

    • zyodei says:

      One of the most important ways the political repression works is through the control of information. If just this woman tries something different, it affects only her son. By having the courage to speak out, she can affect thousands. I applaud her bravery, and pray that she is safe from state violence.

  8. loonquawl says:

    So there is this mother doing psychopharm-trials on her son. Although from Rhode Island, and therefore allowed to grow up to twelve plants for medical purposes, she is getting it from an acquaintance. I wondered. From the article: “[...]J consumed enough cannabis each day to knock out a 300-pound man[...]“. Ah. Volume issues.

    All rise and applaud, because she makes sure the stuff comes from ‘organic’ culture.

    To recap. A mother gives huge amounts of psychoactive pharm to her child, and notices behavioral changes. And she even heard of another mother dispensing pot (unrelated ailment, possibly other strain of pot, but what gives) and seeing results. And then there is another mother, with a child diagnosed with the same sickness, but other main problem (her sons: aggression, pain; other child: no appetite).

  9. Anonymous says:

    I was a lot more moved by the first two articles in this series.. You might want to link them here, they’re very touching, and in my opinion do a better job of illustrating the benefits of the medicine.

    http://www.doublex.com/section/health-science/why-i-give-my-9-year-old-pot
    and
    http://www.doublex.com/section/health-science/why-i-give-my-9-year-old-pot-part-ii

  10. Brother Phil says:

    One possible benefit of herbal marijuana over Marinol is that the latter only contains (synthetic) THC.

    Recent research, comparing skunk with older strains, seems to indicate that THC by itself can produce psychotic effects, which are prevented by the concurrent administration of cannabidiol.

    This is what is being talked about when people say that skunk is unlike the more traditional strains – it contains almost pure THC, with little or no cannabidiol, and measurably changes the recipient’s reasoning in ways that other strains don’t.

    • Nword says:

      Holy crap dude, I don’t know what the hell you’re smoking, but it’s something pretty potent.

      Skunk, a strain that has been around since the 70′s, invented by a guy called skunkman sam (go talk to him on icmag.com) is a cross between strains from several different continents, but it has a fair bit of afghani in it, and that means a lot of CBDs. Skunk will get you stoned, which means it’s far from pure THC.

      If you want a strain which contains very little CBD, and almost exclusively THC, you’ll want to try some classic landraces, Southeast Asian strains (vietnamese, thai, etc) and African strains.. These strains are known as psychedelic, some almost as potent as LSD.

      In the end, you’re at completely the wrong end of the spectrum, Skunk is a strain developed for flavor and flowering times, not for THC pureness (all higher THC percentages mean is that you smoke less to get high), if you want plants that will make you psycho, go with the “traditional strains”, which contain almost 0% CBD and lots of the more psychedelic variety of THC (THCV).

      Stop reading the daily mail, start reading some Jack Herer (RIP).

      BTW, happy 420 to all!

  11. The Kludge says:

    A couple telling points for the delusions of the author:

    Her homeopath put her onto medical marijuana.

    She says J always gains tolerances to synthetics- which she admits only has one cannabinoid- but implies marijuana won’t suffer the same effect because it has 60. (The logical position would be that 60 should put off the tolerance for some amount of time, but not forever.)

    She rejected a pharmaceutical solution- that did have very adverse side-effects- because there were no long term studies of kids on that drug. but she never brings up the fact that there are also NO long term studies of kids on pot, either.

    She calls an anecdotal experience “scientific evidence”.

    She also says she did research. I did, too:
    “PalMD is a practicing internist in the Great Lakes region of the U.S.” he says:
    http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/?p=2825
    http://scienceblogs.com/whitecoatunderground/2009/11/kids_got_autism_get_em_high.php

    Additionally, “David H. Gorski, MD, PhD, FACS is a surgical oncologist at the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute” has this to say about experimenting on Autistic kids:
    http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/?p=2815

    Personally, I’ll have the science, thanks.

  12. Anonymous says:

    If I was starving myself and I started doing marijuana, I’d probably start eating more too. Munchies, anyone?

  13. Kerov says:

    In a free country, this story wouldn’t immediately conjure up images of a militarized SWAT team breaking down this family’s front door at 3 a.m., keeping mom, dad, and the kids face-down, handcuffed, and at gunpoint while the house is ransacked, and then taking the parents away to be ‘processed’ and held at the county jail, while the terrified kids are put into foster care.

    But it does in the USA.

  14. Lauren O says:

    So Marie is doing unblinded, not randomly controlled, unsupervised medical experiments on her daughter?

    The fact that you use the word “daughter” leads me to suspect you didn’t even read the article, which is titled, “I give my autistic son pot” and uses masculine pronouns throughout. And if you didn’t even read the article, I somehow feel you might not really have enough information to comment on this specific situation.

    On a completely different note, rinsing dishes off and putting them in the dishwasher is better than I did as a 9-year-old, and I’m not, as far as I know, anywhere on the autism spectrum (I was just a bratty kid). If the pot is really behind that, I find that impressive.

  15. Anonymous says:

    I’m shocked! Shocked, I tell you. After all those articles on NOT RINSING YOUR DISHES before putting them in the dishwasher, and here these uptight and irresponsible parents are teaching their children to deliberately over-use water and soap!

    Where are child and family services when you need them? What a travesty.

  16. BadIdeaSociety says:

    I do like how pot is the all-purpose cure all for anything and everything. I suspect that, in the future, tests will be done to prove (and disprove) a lot of these uses.

    If the woman had given her kid cigarettes, Skoll or a pint of beer, I think the opinion of a lot of the people on here would be different.

    • Ugly Canuck says:

      The Brits carried out some extensive tests recently: the results have been deep-sixed, because it was so obviously efficacious in treating a number of medical conditions.

      • BadIdeaSociety says:

        I’ll believe the study when the UK Government or Wikileaks publishes them. Until then, I will look at pot the same way I look at ear candles (meaning, I don’t believe it is anywhere near as affective as people say it is.)

  17. FreakCitySF says:

    I tried to update her wiki page when the article was originally written, maybe now the wiki trolls will allow it!

  18. Anonymous says:

    In a free country, this story wouldn’t immediately conjure up images of a militarized SWAT team breaking down this family’s front door at 3 a.m., keeping mom, dad, and the kids face-down, handcuffed, and at gunpoint while the house is ransacked, and then taking the parents away to be ‘processed’ and held at the county jail, while the terrified kids are put into foster care.
    But it does in the USA.

    Exactly. I don’t like grass or recreational drug use but the negative effects of an increasingly militarized society in the U.S. and the drastic response of federal and sometimes local law enforcement reminds me more of some places where the citizenry are kept under control by threat of violence. IMHO, this inherent use of excessive force — video game style — to solve any and every problem is out of control in the U.S.

  19. Anonymous says:

    Call me old fashioned, but I’d just spray the kid with Windex.

  20. Ugly Canuck says:

    The brit srudies were suspended prior to completion .
    The results therefore were never published…but ,marijuana was re-classified very shortly thereafter.

    Vased on media “science” the Brit Gov decided to re-instate the prior classification…and all the scientists advising the BHrit Gov on this matter resigned in protest.

    Reagan banned all research in 1980 – because the prohibitionists know that such research would incontrovertably prove marijuana’s use as a medicine. They know how useful marijuana was and could again be in the medical arsenal against disease pain and discomfirt, from evidence given by the AMA opposing the prohibition of marijuana in the mid-1930s.

    The prohibitionist need to keep research banned or restricted to maintain their cruel prohibition, which is not supported by any evidence of harm due to marijuana use whatsoever.

    It is the prohibitionist which cause harm: religious types apparently looking for people’s suffering to bring them to “the truth”., and thus banning and outlawing any harmless pleasure, or research whioch could prove such past-times harmless.

    Without non-science’s non-sense, prohibition of harmless – indeed therapeutic and healthful – marijuana must fall, where the Laws are based on reason, rather than religion and superstitions based upon religion.

    Or are the Authorities too busy permitting IOxtcontin to be marketed? Or other expensive anti-depressants or other sleeping pills or anti-anxiety drugs, all apparently with savage and unknown side effects? And highly addictive?

    Oh well, so long as it’s lucrative…for the people’s suffering will bring them unto the foot of the tree of life (that is, the crucifix). Amen.

  21. Ugly Canuck says:

    I meant to refer to that recently added (20 years) wonder drug, Oxycontin.

  22. Sparrow says:

    In approximately half an hour, I’ll be wearing a really silly hat, and marching down main street with lots of other people wearing really silly hats. And at one time, they thought I was so autistic that all I was good for was imitating a pet rock.

    If it works, maybe it might spur some research that might be published in a peer-reviewed journal, but for now, the most important goal seems to be making the current subject’s life better, not making some doctor’s reputation or making something a drug company can patent.

  23. donabean says:

    my hat is AWESOME!

  24. Cydonia says:

    Just in time for 420.

  25. Ugly Canuck says:

    As to its use in autism: why not give it a try?
    Observe and note, to be sure.
    But there’s always a first time, somebody who says:”Let’s try this”.

    And what’s wrong with that?
    Is not that the way useful discoveries in medicine have sometimes been made?

    Or must such come from big pharma’s labs, in every case, in order for such to be “worth anything”?

  26. bklynchris says:

    I got your double blind placebo study right here:

    I have a child with ASD. We started him on sertreline (Zoloft) at the suggestion of a high paid educational consultant when he was applying to jr. hi schools. We went to the most respected academic pediatric psychopharmacologist in the city and had to pull strings to get them to take our son on as a patient as the Dr. had a booked docket.

    As most of you probably now Zoloft is one of the few FDA approved drugs for treating OCD in children, one condition that our son did NOT have at the time. It was given to him to deal with generalized anxiety and “transition issues’. Guess what?! Tricho-fucking-tellomania, that’s what! Kid now looks like a drag queen as he has NO eyebrows. So, um, yeah sometimes what we don’t know will help indeed helps, AND what we know will WON”T. Put that in your pipe and smoke it all you judgmental non-parents, or parents of non-ASD children.

    • civver says:

      I guess your child is your science, right?

    • Lobster says:

      Trichotellomania is an obsessive-compulsive disorder. I hear Zoloft is good for that.

      Or it might make it worse, because everyone knows that if B happened after A, A caused B.

    • surreality says:

      Agh, I feel for you. Also, it makes me wonder: my sister has OCD and was medicated for it as a child. She also had Trichotellomania, although I don’t know when she was diagnosed with it. I don’t think she was given Zoloft, but the fact that that was a side effect is very interesting to me.

  27. Sciamachy says:

    I just wish that the governments of the world required proper scientific double-blind studies to prove that a substance was harmful (and more so than currently allowed drugs) before banning its use. Proving that something is genuinely harmful is easier than proving it to be harmless after all, but knee-jerk banning of recreational substances is easier still, and IMHO is a lazy way to run things.

  28. Aloisius says:

    I say we also get 9 year old ADHD kids to drink a shot of liquor before going to school to calm them down, but for some reason people reject that idea even though it was done for hundreds of years in countries around the world.

  29. Snig says:

    Our pediatric neurologist is upfront, he knows as well as I do that there’s very little promising research on dosing pediatric autism. He doesn’t exactly say “Hey Rocky, watch me pull a rabbit out of my hat!”, but he says something on the lines of “this is something that seems to help some kids, and this is what I’d try if she were my kid”, and we’ve both read studies to know that the subjects studied are usually not girls (I’ve a daughter, rarer in the autism world) and usually not young kids (harder to recruit and study kids, due to liability scares and consent issues). And very little is universally helpful, so it’s not like there’s a roadmap. More research will likely help, and of course the mom who dosed her kids and got no benefit won’t likely write about that for Slate. “Anecdotal” evidence has been helpful in autism studies, and the proof of regressive type autism as well as the inflammation model of autism came about through parental reporting, so don’t dismiss the parent’s perspective.

    Most of the current pharmacological treatment is unblinded, not randomly controlled, “supervised” medical experiments. The LD50 of marijuana is likely order of magnitudes higher than what my daughter is on, so I’m certainly not going to judge. Anyone who feels it’s better to take just the one “essential compound” out of marijuana, explain how that logic doesn’t support the premise that it’s better to eat a handful of vitamins vs. all those unscientifically constructed, nonstandardized fruits and veggies.

    I used some of your words, posthocergopropterhoc, but I’m not doing it to pick on you, I know you were concerned about the kid, which is valid and nice.

  30. Anonymous says:

    I think this is really awesome! allot of people need to wake up to the benefits of marijuana. its funny because our pharmaceutical company’s and the fda approve vaccinations and medications proven to be damaging to our mental and physical health. The government cannot control the distribution of marijuana and thats why its not legal you believe every thing the government tells you? where were you when CIA was discovered drug trafficking? heck just go to youtube and type in army “accidentally” grows pot its ok when military and CIA are caught using the drugs they make illegal to the people. Why? because they don’t want you to use a free natural herb, they want you to use their prescribed drugs after all they have to make those billions. Untested? ha! most of the drugs approved by the fda are untested then people start dieing or getting sick and then the drug is sort of taken of the shelves GARDASIL!! TMAFLU!!! they were giving these to young girls and pregnant women!! look um up…there was a news broadcast i was watching the other day tell us mercury is no that bad never mind it never leaves your body ever…wake up

  31. Anonymous says:

    and then their son ate 3 cheesebugers, 2 bags of doritos and 4 boxes of oreos.

  32. fataltourist says:

    Short version: because she’s awesome.

  33. Anonymous says:

    Looks like those kids are ready for UCLA. *ba-dum-tish*

  34. Duffong says:

    I was always one who thought medicating my parents could do wonders.

  35. dragonfrog says:

    So Marie is doing unblinded, not randomly controlled, unsupervised medical experiments on her daughter?

    Sure, so if she was aiming to get published in The Lancet, this wouldn’t be the way to do it. But that’s not the goal. The goal is to find out what will help her son, about whom she cares deeply – not a group of statistically normalized sons (and a control group of sons whose identical conditions she is content to leave untreated)

    And “unblinded, not randomly controlled, unsupervised medical experiments” are the only way any of us ever finds out which medication works for ourselves or our children. You get a medication (OTC by way of prescription, it’s all the same), you try it, you note the overall effects, and if it doesn’t work or the negative effects are too much, you try something else and take that for a while.

  36. Clifton says:

    I was about to start blasting her with both barrels when I saw the headline. Then I read the article, and it sounds to me like she’s doing the right thing.

    I hope she doesn’t end up being arrested or facing huge legal consequences over it.

  37. Church says:

    Best. Mom. EVAH!

  38. Anonymous says:

    I’m not against cannabis as medication, but does anyone find it hard to trust positive reviews of the use of an unstudied drug for multiple disorders resulting in universal claims of success and no negative side-effects, with no mention of a possible mechanism of action?

    I worked in a pharmacy when St John’s Wort was touted as a “safe and universally effective” way to ward off depression, and the claims in this article seem a little too familiar to me. Now we know that St John’s Wort can have severe drug interactions and is not an effective solution in many cases.

    While I certainly think this use of cannabis deserves study,and am glad that this woman seems to have found an effective medication for her son’s affliction, I am still wary of the message that this article presents.

    -RTM

    • Anonymous says:

      geez…ten thousand years the stuff has been around. Harry J. Anslinger goes in his office and comes out with “medical/psychological proof of its harm, fifteen years later La Guardia puts thirty plus scientists and doctors and psychaitrists on it they say it’s harmless, twenty years later Palo Alto says it’s harmless, ten years later Nixon puts three groups to study it (two say harmless, the last group kisses his hairy butt), the worse Clinton’s people can come up with is it’s more dangerous than cigarettes but never mention that most cigarette smokers smoke two ounces of tobacco a day (thus anulling the study completely) and people STILL say STUDY IT!?
      ARE YOU KIDDING ME?
      LEGALIZE IT! It would give us tens of thousands of jobs! Paper, canvas, material, oil, soil rejuvenation, NOBODY HAS EVER OVERDOSED!….

    • kgb says:

      Of course there are those of us who are skeptical of all the nonsense coming from the medical marijuana advocates. This story, like a majority of the claims from the advocates, annoys me to no end. You put it perfectly by pointing out that the advocates claim that marijuana is a panacea for a shockingly diverse set of disorders/diseases. Some seem justified (glaucoma, to induce appetite, etc) based on the known physiological effects of cannabis. Others seem outlandish (a vast majority of the claims in Super High Me fits this bill).

      The mere fact that cannabis is natural gives it instant credibility to the advocates, since I would bet a large sum of money that if the drug being used by this mother in an ‘off-label, without the oversight of a doctor’ was one made by a Big Pharma company then the response wouldn’t be nearly as positive.

      Sampling of the responses to legitimate criticism:
      “Doctors don’t magically know everything. Sometimes patients and/or parents have a closer understanding than any doctor ever will.” <– could be copied and pasted from a vaccines cause autism reply.

      “Marijuana has been researched for decades. It’s safer than the majority of OTC drugs, much less prescription drugs (especially when eaten rather than smoked). Ill-informed voters like you are the reason marijuana is still schedule 1.” <– as if objecting to shitty science implies anything about your views on the scheduling of marijuana.

      Medical marijuana advocates are entirely too over-run by zealots, who, in a hasty attempt to (correctly) react to the unjustified laws that restrict the use and study of marijuana, feel the need to make every pro-pot to be good and everything that is perceived as anti-pot, bad. This is no different than those who are anti-abortions (abortions cause women to go crazy and become infertile) or anti-vaccines (vaccines cause diseases and anyone who thinks vaccines have a use is funded by Big Pharma).

      Marijuana, as a medicine, needs more study, yes. Marijuana ought not be schedule 1, yes. Marijuana should be legalized, yes. But these injustices do not justify a wholesale dismissal of rigor. Uncontrolled study of autism has led us down numerous false paths, with facilitated communication and the vaccine nonsense being the most prominent. If you want to seriously engage the scientific community on the utility of marijuana so that you can further justify your political goals, you need to accept a scientific mindset.

      • Ugly Canuck says:

        Except that prohibition requires much state expenditure: legalization would not.

        Your default seems to be: ban it until and unless it is proven- to your staisfaction, eh? -to be “harmless”.

        Perhaps you need it to be demonstrated that its use is “harmless” to moral “rigor” as well?
        I mean, before you stop throwing people into jail for long periods because – who knows? – it might somehow be “harmful”?But we don’t need to prove anything at all, to restrict people’s freedoms and liberties, eh?

        • kgb says:

          My default is you aren’t going to get it unbanned by being unscientific. You should have to prove harm before banning something, but that isn’t the current situation. The current situation is that it is banned. Battling the prohibitionists with unreason isn’t likely to work. They’re too far gone. It’s unfortunate that to battle misinformation you have to put in more work than those who spread the misinformation (see the evolutionists battling the creationists), but that’s life. Otherwise you’re acting exactly like the prohibitionists. You are using scare tactics (weed cures all) to induce policy change with the hopes of science justifying the move down the road.

          My default in science is what it has to be: the null hypothesis. I’ll grant leeway to benefits where there is a clear mechanism of action (e.g. inducing appetite or increased blood flow to your eyes). Otherwise, I am assuming it won’t work. That default doesn’t need to make you close-minded. Weed may help alleviate the symptoms of autism. But we have no evidence either way and this story shouldn’t count as evidence.

          As to its use in autism: why not give it a try?

          Sure. I am not against experimentation. I am against experimentation not balanced by rigor. The structure of benzene was discovered from an idea inspired from a dream. The analogy is that you may have an intuition that weed helps with autism (increased empathy seems like an obvious reason to think that). Now you have to test it against the empirical realm.

          For example, when discussing psychopaths, you notice that they seem to share some of the impairments in moral functioning that autistic people have. Intuition: maybe theory of mind impairments (that are known to exist in those with autism, see Baron-Cohen’s work) are the cause of both. In fact, that it isn’t true. Psychopaths show no theory of mind impairments (or at least they didn’t according to the admittedly few studies I found when I was toying with this idea). It was a good intuition that made some sense, but it turned out to be false.

          Running an unrigorous trial (a sample size of 1) by a person with obvious confounding issues (being a mother with a child afflicted with a horrible disorder) on a disorder that has a history inspiring bad research (vaccines, facilitated communication) isn’t impressive. I don’t know if the mother intended it to be presented in this way, or whether this is just the spin the journalist added, so I am not criticizing her. I am criticizing the irrationality displayed by pot advocates. If the person was the wife of the drug czar and pot was claimed to have made the child go crazy, then the advocates would be pointing out the lack of rigor. They’d be right.

          • Snig says:

            The conventional medical approach is to try psychopharmacological agents with very poor to nonexistant research. This is not saying that’s a bad thing, doctors are doing the best they can.

            From the wiki on autism:
            More than half of U.S. children diagnosed with ASD are prescribed psychoactive drugs or anticonvulsants, with the most common drug classes being antidepressants, stimulants, and antipsychotics.[126] Aside from antipsychotics,[127] there is scant reliable research about the effectiveness or safety of drug treatments for adolescents and adults with ASD.[128]

            Why would they do something so unscientific? Cause some kids get somewhat better with some drugs, but it’s sadly trial and error. Do doctors do rigorous trials? Absolutlely not. Don’t have the time or resources, they have to rely on parental reports. Our trial, beyond our own observations with a new med is to often not tell the teacher we’re trying a new med, and see what kind of report we get back from school.

            Yes, some people advocate marijuana out of love of recreational pot. This is obviously unscientific and highly biased. However, marijuana is just a set of chemicals. If it seemed like it was the only thing that took away a kids intractable gut pain and made him more interactive, it bears looking into. All of these drugs have minimal safety testing on kids, especially for long term usage. Not really seeing how using marijuana is worse than what’s conventionally used, or how it’s less scientific.

        • Anonymous says:

          Why are you addressing someone (KGB) who clearly stated that marijuana should be legalized, as if they had said the opposite?

  39. Anonymous says:

    They lost me at homeopath

  40. kaffeen says:

    Medical Mary Jane is Mother Earth’s present to us all. I applaud this woman and others like her.

    It is refreshing to see people using natural alternatives in spite of the puritanical propaganda (read: bullshit) that flows through this society.

    This is not to say that manufactured medicine does not have a place, but sometimes you really don’t need to look any further than your backyard for the best medicine on the planet.

    And for anyone who may think this does harm, have you checked the warnings/side-effects section of your little pills lately?

    • jeligula says:

      The best side effect of all these medications is the one that states “may cause instant death.” It’s on a surprising number of them, as the very last line item. They figure you won’t get to it since you were already tired of reading the six point type after the fifteenth paragraph of page one.

      Now give me a cookie, dammit!

  41. Mitch says:

    I used to smoke and I wore a tasteful black knit hat in the winter only.

    The article said that the growers in Rhode Island can only be paid for expenses. That’s ridiculous. People who work to produce other needed products aren’t expected to do it on a volunteer basis, and someone growing marijuana for the black market instead of for patients can make a huge profit on it.

  42. Ugly Canuck says:

    Marijuana is proof that god loves us, and wants us to be happy.

    Oh damn! Sorry – I meant to say “beer”,not “marijuana”.

  43. Anonymous says:

    It’s worth noting that J (the kid in the article), seemed to have massive problems with pain (especially gut pain), and the mother is specifically using a strain that is used for it’s pain relieving properties, so it’s not obvious if the weed is having any affect on the autism per se.

    Personally (as someone who smokes quite a bit of weed), my fiorst thought was that giving weed to a 9 year old isn’t a good idea, but from reading the three articles it does seem like it’s produced positive behavioural changes, so, good thing I think.

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