Minnesota Considering Adding Autism To List Of Medical Marijuana Conditions
The Minnesota Department of Health is considering adding medical marijuana for autism to the growing list of conditions.
What is Autism?
Autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are characterized by social-interaction difficulties, communication challenges and a tendency to engage in repetitive behaviors. However, symptoms and their severity vary widely across these three core areas. Taken together, they may result in relatively mild challenges for someone on the high functioning end of the autism spectrum. For others, symptoms may be more severe, as when repetitive behaviors and lack of spoken language interfere with everyday life.
The basic symptoms of autism are often accompanied by other medical conditions and challenges. These, too, can vary widely in severity.
While autism is usually a life-long condition, all children and adults benefit from interventions, or therapies, that can reduce symptoms and increase skills and abilities. Although it is best to begin intervention as soon as possible, the benefits of therapy can continue throughout life.
Patient Story, 15 yr old Elliot
Kammy Krammer is the mother of 15 yr old Elliot, who has Autism. She believes that cannabis helps his autism but thats not why he’s allowed under state law to take it.
“Elliott suffered from debilitating anxiety and that affected every aspect of his life,” Kammy told Fox 9. “He had hundreds of tics every single day and was suffering with peer relationships because of that. He was embarrassed and he couldn’t control them.”
Elliot started using medical cannabis July 1, 2015 for Tourette syndrome. When he was medicating with cannabis his tic count dropped by 90% , his mother noticed that it was extremely helpful for many of the behaviors related to autism
On the “anecdotal evidence” side, Elliott shines. A year on medical cannabis for his Tourette’s and the subsequent effect on his autism have allowed him to be mainstreamed at school and he is now running on the Eagan High School cross country team.
While he is a young man of few words, Elliot told Fox 9 being a part of the simplest of teenage things makes him feel whole.
A year ago, Kammy could not have imagined her son attending a high school football game or running with his teammates on the track. Now, she wants that for other kids like Elliot.
“I believe it is worth fighting for because I know Elliott is not alone. I know that there are other kiddos with autism and their families and believe it should be their option to explore,” Kammy said.
Minnesota Dept. Of Health
The Minnesota Dept. of Health is considering adding autism to their list of conditions. Only anecdotal evidence is available for the effects of marijuana on autism. Medical cannabis studies can be difficult because of its Schedule 1 status. Autism is also not completely understood and has no cure.
The Minnesota Dept. of Health issued a statement saying
“The process needs to take its course before we comment on specific proposals. The state’s medical cannabis review panel will report on the public health benefits and risks of any proposed medical conditions by Nov. 1.”
In addition to autism, the department of health is considering arthritis, depression, diabetes, insomnia and PTSD as conditions that should be allowed to be treated with medical cannabis. A decision on whether to add autism or conditions will likely come next month.
Currently Autism is a qualifying condition in the State of Pennsylvania