Is Getting High For Autism the Answer?


Recently I read an article where parents in Oregon were giving their 11-year-old child with autism medicinal marijuana to “help” with his behaviors and symptoms.

I had to read the article a few times to really digest it and consider it from different angles.

My first inclination was outrage…really?  Parents are now doping up their kid to get him to calm down?  There’s nothing else to do?

After reading it again it just made me sad.  I’m sad for this 11-year-old boy who is afflicted with autism and seizures.  I’m sad for these parents who have had to put their precious child in a state institution…at age EIGHT?

My son is seven years old.  I can’t even imagine–on his worst day–how it would feel to deposit him in an institution because he was too hard to handle.

I don’t condone giving children medical marijuana…but that’s just the superficial element to this story.  It’s not really about doping up this kid, it’s that there doesn’t seem to be anything out there to help him in his situation.

For that, I am extremely sad.

We must do more.  Doping up kids is not the answer.  Maybe it will chill them out for a while, but it’s not going to solve anything or certainly cure or “treat” any of the symptoms.

We live in a society where we want immediate gratification.  If I want something, I’ll buy it.  If I don’t have the cash, put it on credit and pay it off later (or never).  We are in an Internet Generation of immediate results, answers, and solutions.

We can’t treat our children on the spectrum like a Website.  We can’t expect to get a quick fix when it comes to autism.

My heart breaks for these parents–I don’t even know them–but I can imagine how their hopes and dreams and hearts have been smashed to pieces time after time after time.

Autism SUCKS!

We have to demand more from local, state, federal resources.  We have to demand more from the private sector.  We have to demand more from churches and non-profit organizations.  We have to demand more from our public and private schools.

If the studies are true and 1 in 47 boys are now afflicted…how much medical marijuana and how many state institutions are going to be needed in 5, 10, 15 years?

This can’t be the solution.  Doping kids and casting them aside isn’t the final answer…I just can’t believe that is going to be the best solution.

We have to demand more from ourselves…no one outside the Autism Community gives a rats-ass about our plight.  No one is going to just start handing out money to help find realistic treatments and maybe even a “cure”…if it’s not going to be you then who will it be!

No…none of us asked for this.  Our children didn’t ask for this either.  But for some reason, we’ve been given the duty/chore/task/blessing of having a child on the spectrum and together we can only make changes.

What are you prepared to do?  Take the easy way out or do something about it?
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Seth/Melanie Fowler on Twitter
Seth/Melanie Fowler
Authored, Look at my Eyes, a parent's perspective re: navigating autism-early intervention, insurance, treatments, a paradigm of a family & child with autism
Seth/Melanie Fowler

Seth/Melanie Fowler

Authored, Look at my Eyes, a parent's perspective re: navigating autism-early intervention, insurance, treatments, a paradigm of a family & child with autism

9 thoughts on “Is Getting High For Autism the Answer?

  • @Kittyluve@xanga – i agree, Not everyone can be expected to just be able to take care of a mental ill/ handicapped person, and it really maight be better for a child to be in an institution that said, marijuanna is pretty harmless, and for someone who cant calm down, well i would say its the right thing for that kid, i would even go so far to say that that is the way marijuanna should be used. If you have never tried it how can you possibly know what it does to you. i know because i use it for my epilepsy. fixed me. why not the kid

  • Before making statements like “Doping up kids is not the answer. Maybe it will chill them out for a while, but it’s not going to solve anything or certainly cure or “treat” any of the symptoms.” You really need to do more research. You need to understand gene expression and a number of other factors that are involved in how autism is presented. Your personal feelings and prejudices are no substitute for real knowledge and understanding.

  • I think marijuana has a bad rap because of the stereotypes around the people using it… the whole munchies, hippie thing. At least it’s a natural occurring product as opposed to the chemicals in main made drugs, right? I’m not saying everyone should go smoke marijuana, but I don’t think it’s as horrible as people think. Everything you put into your body is going to have side effects, you just have to see how it goes. These people are just calming their kid down, they’re not doping him up into a zombie.

    Also, I agree with @Kittyluve@xanga -. How about we don’t EVER call group homes an “institution”? They’re very, very different things, the word institution sounds so cold… Like a big medical facility were you drop off someone, they get tied up and left to rot. That’s what creates this bad stereotype we have about places like these. These parents aren’t abandoning their child, they’re giving him the best chance he has. It’s awful our society makes it seem that way.
    I did my job placement for school at a group home and sometimes it’s the best solution for the child’s care. Some of the kids had abusive families and the group home was better alternative, but some of them their families just didn’t have a chance in taking care of them… they had multiple kids, jobs, etc. and loved their kids enough to get them the help they deserve instead of being selfish . The kids will also be in the system and are more likely to get all the help they need, as these organizations have those things set in place instead of a family that’s so overwhelmed and doesn’t know what to do.

  • @Erika_Steele@xanga – 100% agree. Part of the problem is that when people find a solution that doesn’t align with conventional medicine, people jump down their throats. 

    To the OP: As far as I’ve read (which isn’t much), medical marijuana shouldn’t be able to “dope up” a child. It would settle his nerves at the very most, but it wouldn’t disengage him from reality. 

  • I hate how people are so against marijuana. I get where you’re coming from, because it’s an 8 year old and an 8 year old on drugs isn’t really good, but remember that this is an herbal drug. Herbal. It’s all natural, and it’s not like he’s toking up when he needs a buzz.

    I’m a rapid-cycle bipolar. I was diagnosed at 13, and quickly medicated. One of my medications I had to detox off of when they went to change my meds and I experienced withdrawal symptoms.. at 13. I was over prescribed lithium and was hospitalized with a liver working three times harder than it should have been. I was 14. I was on anywhere from two to five different medications at a time, at 15. I was a zombie. Miserable.

    At 18, I refused anymore medication and turned to smoking. At first I went a little overboard, sure, but I wanted to be in charge of what happened to my body, so I didn’t care. But eventually I stopped smoking so damn much, although I did smoke a little every day. I noticed a remarkable change in my bipolar, without the zombie-like symptoms and weight gain that prescription meds caused. I lost a ton of weight, started exercising and embracing healthier habits and lifestyle choices, and to this day feel in control of my bipolar. Even my worst days are manageable, and I haven’t spent an entire day depressed and sleeping in YEARS.

    My point is, medical marijuana is here, and it’s looking like it’s here to stay.. we need to start embracing it. We need to accept that there is now a new medication that is WAY less dangerous than 100% of the drugs out there. You can’t even overdose on it, so if the kid got a little too excited and ate every baked good he could find that had weed in it, he’d just vomit them back up again. My mum used to be so afraid I would overdose and kill myself because I knew my meds were deadly.. no risk of that with weed. It’s a good thing.

  • Like all drugs, marijuana is wildly overrated by its proponents.  But the opposition is at least as hyped up about it, if not more so.  Marijuana is not nearly as dangerous to your body or mind as most legal drugs, and it is not addictive.  @antimony_demon@xanga – I took Ritalin for a long time, and I really think I came out the worse for it.  It took away my appetite to the point that I actually stopped eating.  That’s when they began reducing my dosage.  It’s possible I was already a bit skittish about food, but it kicked that up to eleven, along with everything else.  I’m sure they have benefits for some people, but they are massively over-prescribed.  That’s not to say they were the worst meds I was given–before that it was tranquilizers.  Yowch!  Awful things.  I developed the greatest amount of self-control once I was finally taken off all medications.  I was about twice as old as when I had stopped eating–seven and fourteen or so, respectively.  When I tried pot later, it helped with my apetite, but overall I don’t think my experience was ideal.  Not bad enough to put the kind of legal restrictions we have on it in place–nor even the ones we have on alcohol–but it wasn’t the answer to my problems.  I wouldn’t go so far as to say that the mere use of drugs period is appalling, but we are certainly in an appalling situation of over-use. 

  • Cannabis is just about as mind-altering as Adderall or Ritalin is, just in a different way. Is it appalling to give patients Adderall or Ritalin?

  • If they were using some other pharmaceutical to lessen their child’s symptoms would you be upset? Doubtful. Those prescription medications have side-effects that are worse than cannabis. What I am going to do is not judge people who are not harming their children. It’s not like these people are buying pot from what’s his name down the street and then teaching him how to take hits off a bong.

  • My comment isn’t about the marijuana issue, but about your self righteous attitude.  I don’t think it’s your place to judge parents who have decided to place their child in the hands of the government.  Not everyone is able to stay at home to provide 24/7 care nor do they all have the mental strength to do so.  It’s not as if they will never see their kid.  The kids can visit the parents on weekends, holidays and whenever you know.


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