FILE - In this Feb. 7, 2014 file photo, Matt Figi hugs and tickles his once severely-ill seven year old daughter Charlotte, as they walk together inside a greenhouse for a special strain of medical marijuana known as Charlotte's Web, which was named after the girl early in her treatment for crippling severe epilepsy, in the mountains west of Colorado Springs, Colo. Colorado is poised to award more than $8 million for medical marijuana research, a step toward addressing complaints that little is known about pot's medical potential. Among the research projects poised for approval on Wednesday,  Dec. 17, 2014, are one for pediatric epilepsy patients, and another for children with brain tumors. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley, File)

Autistic Children Could Soon Be Provided Medical Marijuana

 

The Minnesota Department of Health is considering adding autism to the growing list of conditions in which the patients can be prescribed medical cannabis.

The consideration carries with it a lot of emotion for families looking for something to help their loved ones with a condition where so little is known.

In a life full of uncertainty, Kammy Krammer is sure of one thing: medical cannabis helps her autistic son, Elliot, in profound way. But 15-year-old Elliott’s autism is not why he’s allowed under state law to take

“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.”

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Kammy said Elliot started using medical cannabis July 1, 2015 – the first day it was legal in Minnesota – to help manage his Tourette syndrome. He had an immediate 90 percent reduction in tics, but his mom also started to notice it was also helpful for many of the side effects related to autism.

Tourette’s, not autism, is one of a handful of conditions in Minnesota where medical cannabis can be administered.

Now, the DOH is considering adding autism to the list, but in that consideration, they really only have anecdotal evidence from parents like Kammy and kids like Elliott that it actually works, creating a degree of “uncertainty” around an already mysterious condition with no cure.

Autism is the result of alterations in how the brain processes information which then alters how the mind sees the world. For someone with autism, that often means communication problems, social challenges and repetitive behaviors.

As for how it’s leaning on the decision, the DOH 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.

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