Medical marijuana is a controversial treatment option for adults – let alone children.
But Jeremy Echols, of Oregon, says that that the drug is helping his autistic – and severely self-destructive – 11-year-old son, Alex.
By the time Alex was 5, he demonstrated severe self-destructive rage – such as head-butting walls until his face was black and blue. But after enrolling Alex in the state’s medical marijuana program, the family saw a dramatic improvements in Alex’s behavior.
“He went from hitting himself, bloodying his face, to within an hour or hour-and-a-half, he would be playing with toys, which at that time was almost unheard of,” Echols said.
Alex’s parents give him a liquid form of the drug three times a week.
The American Academy of Pediatrics is against the use of medical marijuana in children, and a doctor told My Fox New York that the drug can be toxic to children’s developing brains. Also, there isn’t enough known about marijuana’s long-term side effects.
But for the Echols family, the benefits significantly outweigh the risks.
“For us the long term side effects that are unknown, for something that can’t kill him, are a lot better than the long term side effects of him beating himself bloody,” Echols said.