Mieko Perez: Why Medical Marijuana Should Be Considered For Austism

Medical marijuana and autism symptom relief explored by the Founder and Executive Director of the Unconventional Foundation for Autism, Mieko Hester Perez.

Mieko’s son, Joey, has experienced tremendous benefits from the medicinal uses of cannabis, alongside a myriad of alternative therapies that are becoming the solution, rather than the alternative. With autism affecting nearly 1 in every 8 children, here are 88 reasons why.

  1. According to the Journal of the American Association of Pediatrics, mothers of autistic children maintain remarkable strengths in creating parent-child relationships and social support
  2. No matter how you look at it, autism research is big business.
  3. Autism is more common than childhood cancer, diabetes, and AIDS combined
  4. Autism was added as a special education in 1991 and now is the sixth most common classified disability in the U.S.
  5. The United States is experiencing a national epidemic. https://www.child-autism-parent-cafe.com/autism-prevalence-rate.html
  6. Autism is now considered the fastest growing developmental disorder in the United States.
  7. Autism is a global public health crisis. People from all nationalities and cultural, religious and social backgrounds are dealing with the autism factor.  
  8. The WHO estimates that there are 1,100,000 cases of autism in China; 650,000 in the UK; 500,000 in the Philippines; and 180,000 in Thailand.
  9. Based on statistics from the U.S. Department of Education and other governmental agencies, autism is growing at a rate of 10-17% per year. At these rates, it is estimated that the prevalence of autism could reach four million Americans in the next decade.
  10. Autism is more common than multiple sclerosis & cystic fibrosis.
  11. Divorce rates are high in families with an autistic child. Researchers suggest reducing stress by ensuring an autistic child receives appropriate health care, setting aside time for a spouse, and creating a support system with other families of children with autism.
  12. Family income, lifestyle and educational levels do not affect the chance of autism’s occurrence.
  13. The rate of autism is growing at 14% per year around the world. In China it is growing at a rate of 20% a year.
  14. There are many FDA approved drugs out there to help with autism, but many of them come with very severe side effects.
  15. Autism is a serious, lifelong and disabling condition. Without the right support, it can have a profound – sometimes devastating – effect on individuals and families.
  16. Approximately 67 million people worldwide are affected by autism.
  17. The number of kids in California being treated for autism doubled between 1998 and 2002, and there is still no end in sight to the growing trend… The report, released by the state Department of Developmental Services, found that 10,360 autistic children sought services in 1998. By the end of last year the number had jumped to 20,377, a 97 percent increase, far outstripping the growth rate in population or births. Read more: https://www.sfgate.com/health/article/Autism-rate-doubles-among-state-s-kids-2648182.php
  18. Many families of children with autism experience extreme financial hardship as a result of their child receiving an autism diagnosis. While a diagnosis puts a child on the road to treatment, there is no money tree being planted in any family’s backyard. A Harvard University study put societal costs for caring and treating individuals with autism in the U.S. at $35+ billion per year. Direct costs per ASD individual are estimated to be between $29,000 – $43,000 per year with annual indirect costs to the individual and/or family estimated to range from $39,000 to nearly $130,000. By Theresa Wrangham, President of Safe minds, and USAAA Director of Educational Development.
  19. Obviously, this is going to take a lot of time. Researchers figured that was the reason why many mothers of autistic children ended up finding employment that was flexible, but also was lower-paying, or to not be employed at all. They needed to be able to allocate hours towards helping their child. Read more: https://special-needs.families.com/blog/study-reveals-financial-impact-of-autism-on-families#
  20. The Cannabis treatment is finally being discussed at Autism Conferences.  #Autism One Chicago 2012
  21. About 1 in 88 children has been identified with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) according to estimates from CDC’s Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring (ADDM) Network. Read more: https://www.cdc.gov/NCBDDD/autism/data.html
  22. Individuals with an autism spectrum disorder had average medical expenditures that exceeded those without an ASD by $4,110–$6,200 per year. On average, medical expenditures for individuals with an ASD were 4.1–6.2 times greater than for those without an ASD. Differences in median expenditures ranged from $2,240 to $3,360 per year with median expenditures 8.4–9.5 times greater. Read more: https://www.cdc.gov/NCBDDD/autism/data.html
  23. In addition to medical costs, intensive behavioral interventions for children with ASDs cost $40,000 to $60,000 per child per year. https://www.cdc.gov/NCBDDD/autism/data.html
  24. Ari Ne’eman, the first White House appointee with autism. Obviously, funding autism research is very important. There’s a lot that could be done to significantly improve autistic people’s quality of life. Read more: https://www.mediaite.com/online/autism-speaks-whispers-response-to-joe-scarboroughs-aurora-slur/
  25. Bernard Rimland, PhD, Founder of the Autism Society of America, “It is important to keep in mind the distinction between legalizing marijuana for medical uses, which has been done in some states, and ‘recreational’ drug use which is illegal throughout the U.S. Judging from the evidence in hand, I believe legalization of medical use is justified. Legalizing marijuana for non-medical use (as has been done for alcohol) is quite another issue. Early evidence suggests that in such cases, medical marijuana may be a beneficial treatment, as well as being less harmful than the drugs that doctors routinely prescribe.” “Medical Marijuana: a Valuable Treatment for Autism?,” Autism Research Review International, 2003  https://medicalmarijuana.procon.org
  26. Autism is a disorder diagnosed in childhood. Children with autism often demonstrate difficulties with social interaction, communication and repetitive behavior. The treatment of autism varies for each individual child, but behavioral therapy is often the foundation of comprehensive treatment. Though no specific class of medications is prescribed to treat autism, a variety of medications may be used to treat the symptoms of the disorder. These may include antipsychotics, antidepressants, anticonvulsants and stimulants. Read more: https://www.livestrong.com/article/204678-autism-medication-side-effects/#ixzz21gy2Gsgs
  27. Being a neural disorder, autism cannot be treated through medicines. Medical practitioners use drugs in cases of autism solely to treat and manage symptoms. Five major drug categories are regularly used for symptomatic treatment. Read more on Newsmax.com: 5 Top Drugs for Autism
  28. Your child has autism and your physician has recommended medication to control various symptoms. However, he did not have time to talk to you about the medication. And he was too rushed to explain the side effects of the medication… https://www.autism-in-the-christian-home.com/autism-medication.html
  29. On February 22, 2011, in a 6-2 decision, the Supreme Court granted pharmaceutical companies complete liability protection from vaccine injuries and deaths caused from government mandated vaccines. The anti-vaccine camp wonders why this betrayal of the public is not front page news. The Supreme Court ruling has taken away parents’ rights to hold drug companies accountable for the vaccines they manufacture, even when those vaccines cause harm to their children. The frightening thing about this decision is that big pharma, in an effort to make more profit, could put even more harmful vaccines on the market – vaccines that are unsafe, not effective, and improperly tested. Meanwhile, the health of millions of innocent children is at risk. Many children suffer severe negative reactions to these mandated vaccines. Most doctors insist that there is no link between vaccines and autism or other illness, but some doctors claim the opposite. There are doctors asking that the vaccine schedule be modified, and requesting that some vaccines be taken off the routine immunization schedule. A few doctors assert that there is a link between vaccines and autism, brain damage, learning disabilities, asthma, seizures, and other health problems in children. Unfortunately, not many doctors speak out against the danger of vaccines because they cannot afford to risk losing their medical licenses. https://voices.yahoo.com/no-pharma-liability-8124134.html
  30. In 1998, a theory emerged that the MMR vaccine caused autism. Specifically, the theory argued that the vaccine lingered in the gut, causing gastrointestinal problems which led to autism. This very small study was discredited and debunked. In fact, while the rate of MMR vaccinates has remained constant, the rate of autism diagnoses has continued to soar.
  31. When some think about autism treatments they see thousands of dollars that is needed for high priced prescription treatments. These medications are known to be potentially harmful and have little effect on the symptoms, and worst, they are for the most part experimental. One couple from Oklahoma City wants to put an end to their child being used as a “test subject” and switch to something that is socially controversial but has had medical success in reversing the symptoms of autism, medical marijuana. https://www.examiner.com/article/parents-want-to-treat-autism-with-medical-marijuana
  32. Medical Marijauna A Valable Treatment for Autism? Autism Research Review.  International, 2003, Vol. 17, No. 1, page 3 https://legacy.autism.com/ari/editorials/ed_marijuana.htm
  33. Autism Advice: Many other interventions are available, but few, if any, scientific studies support their use. https://childdevelopmentinfo.com/child-psychology/autism_fact_sheet.shtml
  34. Marijuana and Autism Survey – NORML and UF4A Collaboration https://www.enewspf.com/latest-news/health-and-fitness/33773-marijuana-and-autism-survey-norml-and-uf4a-collaboration.html
  35. In 2007, the World Health Organization (WHO) argued that the world faces a critical problem with the growing number of people with mental and neurological problems, including autism, which accounts for 11% of global disease. The number is projected to reach 14.7% by 2020.
  36. More autism research and better services for people living with autism will be expensive. But the cost of autism already is astronomical, according to preliminary findings from an Autism Speaks-funded study by Martin Knapp, PhD, of the London School of Economics, and David Mandell, ScD, of the University of Pennsylvania.
  37. At the new 2008 prevalence rate of one in 88 American children, autism costs the U.S. $137 billion a year. It has been estimated that 45% of Americans with autism have an intellectual disability. The lifetime cost for each person who has an intellectual disability related to autism is $2.3 million, Knapp and Mandell estimate. https://www.webmd.com/brain/autism/news/20120329/autism-rates-cdc-2012
  38. Autism Medication Chart  https://www.child-autism-parent-cafe.com/autism-medication.html
  39. Medications are often used to treat behavioral problems, such as aggression, self-injurious behavior, and severe tantrums, that keep the person with ASD from functioning more effectively at home or school. The medications used are those that have been developed to treat similar symptoms in other disorders. Many of these medications are prescribed “off-label.” This means they have not been officially approved by the FDA for use in children, but the doctor prescribes the medications if he or she feels they are appropriate for your child. Further research needs to be done to ensure not only the efficacy but the safety of psychotropic agents used in the treatment of children and adolescents. https://pediatrics.about.com/od/autism/a/05_autism_rx_4.htm
  40. It’s distressing to learn that 30% of children are on SSRI’s – and that the treatment may be no more effective than a sugar pill. SSRI’s. It’s particularly concerning because Celexa (and other anti-depressants) also place children at risk of a number of serious side effects. https://autism.about.com/b/2009/06/02/celexa-may-be-ineffective-in-treating-autism-symptoms.htm
  41. Being a parent to a child with autism can be challenging in many ways. Not only does autism lead to delays and problems with communication and social interaction, but it can also cause many behavioral problems as well. In fact, many autistic children exhibit aggression as a symptom of their condition. This aggression often manifests as unexpected outbursts of biting, scratching, kicking, hitting, or throwing objects at people. https://www.everydayhealth.com/autism/managing-aggression-in-kids.aspx
  42. In the last year the teachers at her child’s school began inquiring about his behavior, even having to wear protective pads because his biting had become so severe, Lee writes. She didn’t like the idea of putting her child on Risperdal, as its long term effects have never been studied in children, and became intrigued when a homeopath suggested medicinal marijuana. Read more: https://www.autismsupportnetwork.com/news/autism-treatment-marijuana-madness-8763721#ixzz21kaL12ah
  43. It’s important to point out that it is not a cure for autism, it alleviates symptoms of autism. But considering that autism is defined by its symptoms, some may argue that significantly alleviating those symptoms is by definition a cure, even if one that requires on-going consumption of the substance. What symptoms then, does it assist with? The most common ones I’ve read about are anxiety, self-harm, aggression and restrictive diets. Sometimes these symptoms are so severe that the effective treatment of them with marijuana, is a life-saver in a very real sense. https://autismandoughtisms.wordpress.com/2011/07/19/marijuana-for-autism-are-you-out-of-your-mind-would-you-like-to-be/
  44. Despite the unknown risks, more kids are using prescription drugs than ever before. The number of children on psychiatric meds has skyrocketed in recent years, according to reports in medical journals such as Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine. Prescription drug use is growing faster among children than the elderly and baby boomers. But when it comes to medicating kids with marijuana, the issue becomes taboo Read more: https://www.momlogic.com/2009/11/can_marijuana_help_kids_with_autism.php#ixzz21kbJ7cdn
  45. has reported on a family in southern California who, after a series of worsening autism symptoms exhibited by their son, resorted to medical marijuana. The results have been wonderful, according to the boy’s parents. https://www.examiner.com/article/10-year-old-uses-marijuana-for-autism-with-positive-results
  46. Another mother maintains on the autism research website “I know it’s not the end all answer but it’s been the best answer for the longest time for us in regards to ALL the other medications. I cannot tell you how many months we would go on a medication wondering if it was doing anything, anything at all. Here we can see the difference in 30-60 minutes guaranteed.”
  47. I am reminded that when Ritalin, a brain stimulant, was reported GOOD for the excitable form of Autism several doctors and Autism parents fainted in shock. Ritalin and amphetamines are still used for these conditions but together they have caused about 300 deaths. “Devil Weed” marijuana has never killed anybody and it DOESN’T cause cancer.
  48. Parents in Los Angeles, California also tried it for their son with autism.  They reached a point where nothing was working and were discussing institutionalization for their son.  After speaking to their doctor and researching about others who have tried it, they decided to try this technique on their son. Again, the change occurred instantly with his aggressive behavior decreasing. https://nyteachers.wordpress.com/2010/11/04/medical-marijuana-and-autism/
  49. …Dickson, who teaches French at Steamboat Springs High School, said she first learned about medical marijuana as a possible autism treatment method after seeing it used that way on a cable television news program. She started doing research, finding newspaper articles about other parents who successfully used the controversial treatment with their children in states where it was legal to do so…Dickson decided to give medical marijuana a try with James before last school year ended. Concerned about the chemicals in prescription medications and wary of their effects, Dickson said she’s never given James pills. https://www.steamboattoday.com/news/2010/oct/31/steamboat-mom-sees-results-giving-autistic-son-med/
  50. It’s that simple. Our donated supply had run out. We couldn’t get in contact with a grower, and Oregon law doesn’t allow dispensaries (and if it did we couldn’t likely afford it anyway, based on costs I’ve seen in CA). We got a later donation of hash, but it was a very small amount and didn’t last long enough to matter. We even tried Marinol, but it was available only in capsules. I’d love to see somebody convince a nonverbal child to swallow a capsule. https://www.alexneedshelp.com/marijuana-autism-and-failure-a-true-story#.UBGBzpH4KXk
  51. Many of the FDA-approved drugs on the market used to treat symptoms of autism have no proven safety track record for use in children.
  52. If I were able to take medicinal marijuana the same way I would take rispredal or prozac, I might be completely cured. I’m not the only person saying this – google Autism & Marijuana, and you’ll be surprised. Who knows? Maybe if some of these politicians were able to sit down and hear what I just said, they might stop all this “war on drugs” nonsense… https://www.wrongplanet.net/postt179042.html
  53. New research published today in the journal Molecular Autism has found that depending on which variations of the cannabinoid receptor… https://www.autismresearchcentre.com/whats_new
  54. Medical marijuana and the mind; Autism spectrum disorders and the gut; Options for mild or moderate depression… www.health.harvard.edu/…/2010/April/medical-marijuana-and-the-mind
  55. It is not a cure, but just a tool to make things go smoother and prevent disruptions in his learning. He still has days when he gets angry and moody, but we can adjust the dose to help him through those days. It is such a mild medication and there are no long term side effects that can damage the body’s organs. I feel much more comfortable administering cannabis) than something like risperdal.
  56. Some parents are claiming that the use of small amounts of medical marijuana baked into brownies, cookies, and other foods have produced behavioral results in their autistic kids that are nothing short of miraculous.
  57. According to the Autism Research Institute’s website, “some of the symptoms medical marijuana has ameliorated [in autistic children] include anxiety–even severe anxiety–aggression, panic disorder, generalized rage, tantrums, property destruction and self-injurious behavior.” They also give this advice… https://planetthrive.com/2010/04/medical-marijuana-for-autism/
  58. “Recovering Autistic Children” to all active duty and retired military families…Treating Autistic Children, which was published in 2003. Almost all of the 31 parent reports have been updated and 83 pages of new information have been added. You’ll find up-to-the-minute information from ARI’s acclaimed Defeat Autism Now! (DAN!) Project and new sections including Hyperbaric Oxygen Treatment (HBOT); clinical use of
  59. Methyl B12; Specific Carbohydrate Diet; Low-Dose Naltrexone; Chelation;
  60. Medical Marijuana to control aggression; and much more! Thousands of autistic children have recovered and are recovering, based on the sound information in this 468 page paperback book, which normally costs $24.00.  More info on this book and other ARI publications is at https://www.autismwebsite.com/ari/pub/pubs.htm
  61. “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.” https://centerforautism.blogspot.com/2009_11_01_archive.html
  62. Science, however, tells us that autism is a disorder with a neurological basis and a strong genetic contribution. And, sadly, there is no cure let alone a “talking cure.” https://www2.macleans.ca/2012/01/26/the-battle-over-the-cure-for-autism/
  63. No cure exists for autism, and there is no “one-size-fits-all” treatment. The range of home-based and school-based treatments and interventions for autism can be overwhelming. https://www.mayoclinic.com/health/autism/DS00348/DSECTION=treatments-and-drugs
  64. While there is no scientifically recognized cure for autism, therapies and comprehensive treatment plans allow those with autism to overcome some common challenges. The goal of most autism treatment plans is to teach autistic children and adults to lead as functional a life as possible, given the severity of each patient’s disability. Scientists and researchers continue to search for a cure, with autism research projects spanning genetics, approaches to treatment, and biomedical factors such as diet and environmental components. https://www.wisegeek.com/is-there-a-cure-for-autism.htm
  65. “Autism is not limited to a single region or a country,” said Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, “it is a worldwide challenge that requires global action.” https://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/02/world-autism-awareness-day_n_1395407.html
  66. Right now, there are only two drugs approved by the Food and Drug Administration for autistic children that help with irritability, tantrums and aggression.
  67. “There’s no medication for core autism symptoms,” said Dr. L. Eugene Arnold, Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry, The Ohio State University.  https://abclocal.go.com/kabc/story?section=news/health/your_health&id=7603981
  68. Experts are still unable to point out the real causes of autism. There is also still no proven cure available for children with autism. Therapies are too expensive and are not always available. Parents and caregivers should be able to provide help for autism. Children all over the world are affected by the disorder and most of them still have no idea on what to do.  https://integrationdisorder.blogspot.com/2012/01/how-to-get-more-help-for-autism.html
  69. Just to be clear: There is no clear data on why autism occurs. Most scientists agree that there are many factors….Read more: https://healthychild.org/blog/comments/healthy_childs_experts_on_autism/#ixzz21l7wMeoS
  70. No matter how you look at it, autism research is big business. https://www.24medica.com/content/view/2693/2/
  71. Autism cannot be cured at the present time,…It should be noted that many alternative treatments and even “cures” have been proposed for autism spectrum disorder. None of these alternative treatments—chelation, diets, supplements, facilitated communication—have any reliable scientific evidence behind them. Some, particularly chelation—an attempt to remove heavy metals from the body via chemical injections—can be very dangerous. It’s important that parents who choose to pursue these therapies should do so in close consultation with a qualified physician. https://www.childmind.org/en/health/disorder-guide/autism-spectrum-disorder
  72. …There is no cure for autism; however there are many different medications to treat the symptoms… https://www.articlesbase.com/mental-health-articles/hope-autism-therapy-treatment-canada-4162213.html
  73. …Early diagnosis is considered key for autism, but minority children tend to be diagnosed later than white children….And troubling studies show that white kids may be diagnosed with autism as much as a year and a half earlier than black and other minority children, said University of Pennsylvania autism expert David Mandell, who led much of that work. Socioeconomics can play a role, if minority families have less access to health care or less education. https://www.theledger.com
  74. Members of the mainstream medical establishment maintain that they cannot ascertain the cure for autism, and even more astounding; they pretend to not even know the cause. The only thing they claim to have discovered with certainty is that vaccinations cannot be the culprit. https://www.sott.net/articles/show/228141-How-To-Cure-Autism-and-The-Time-Bomb-Of-Mercury-Poisoning
  75. The larger rates of autism children face nowadays is puzzling to medical experts and researchers. The rate of this condition has gone up substantially within the last few decades, and the cause in this increase hasn’t been identified yet. https://danielrizzardisalon.com/tag/autism
  76. Research indicates that parents of children with autism experience greater stress than parents of children with learning disabilities… https://www.brighttots.com/Autism/Parenting_autistic_child.html
  77. Most parents do the best they can but it is a stressful job to take care for an autistic child.
  78. Stress – something parents in general are all too familiar with. There is the physical stress from carpools, preparing meals, bathing, homework, shopping, and so on. This is compounded by such psychological stressors as parent-child conflicts, not having enough time to complete responsibilities and concern regarding a child’s well-being. When a family has a child diagnosed with autism, unique stressors are added. https://www.poac-nova.org/stress/Autism%20Society%20of%20America_%20Stress%20on%20Families.pdf
  79. “His is a world I am shut out from, mine is a world he has been unable to enter. He still spends most of his days in a happy withdrawl, often smiling as if at some inner joke, as he makes the rounds of our house, almost symbolically closing each door behind him. But then there are those days and nights where he has sudden fits of sadness that are uncontrollable and unbearable, as he writhes upon the floor or in his bed in utter and abject unhappiness… https://voices.yahoo.com/parents-children-autism-5356925.html
  80. First Prozac failed and now Celexa. Read the full article at WebMD. June 1, 2009 –The antidepressant Celexa, often prescribed for children with autism and autism
  81. Jan 31, 2004 · In the most extensive test so far of its capability to treat autism, the controversial drug secretin has failed to help children with the neurological
  82. May 11, 2011 · A geneticist who has used the hormone-suppressing drug Lupron to treat children with autism failed Wednesday to persuade the Maryland Board of Pharmacy. Epligen autism drug fails in trial Tuesday, January 06, 2004 (21:47:45) Posted by Sylvia Yahoo News.com 05/01/2004 Phase 3 Study of Secretin for Autism Fails…
  83. Apr 25, 2012 · Prospect of ‘autism drug‘ raised after early tests By James Gallagher Health.However, treatments which work in mice frequently fail in humans and in autism. The drugs seem to be most effective when given to higher-functioning children. They Often Failed So Miserably To Handle Their Aggressive Child’s Behavior? In Brief: Drug fails to subdue repetitive behavior in children with autism spectrum disorders; In Brief: Supplement may ease compulsive hair pulling.
  84. Jun 01, 2009 · Celexa failed autism study; kids got effects. Jun. 1, 2009 01:09 PM. The overall global market for drug treatment in autism is at least $2 billion.
  85. About a quarter of children with autism may be taking antidepressants that won’t help them, a new study suggests. Autistic children are sometimes prescribed antidepressants to reduce repetitive behaviors, but the new findings suggest the drugs may not.
  86. Benefits of Antidepressants in Autism Overstated? (WebMD)
  87. “After starting to use the medical marijuana, he interacts with us,” Dr. Hedrick adds. “We don’t have any medications right now that treat autism. We have two FDA-approved medications that treat the irritability side effect of autism, but nothing that treats this disinterest in personal relationships.” https://www.thedoctorstv.com/main/content/Alternative_Treatments
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The Unconventional Foundation for Autism, is the only foundation of its kind. Formed in 2009 from a mother who had exhausted all other treatments while watching her son die, found an unconventional treatment and receives calls and emails from parents with the same story, frustrated that want a better quality of life for their children according to Mieko Hester-Perez, every 88 minutes a family is contacting www.UF4A.ORG


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