In what has been perceived as the increasing advent of medical marijuana in the treatment of autism, the Rhode Island Department of Health has now sanctioned its use. Thus, medical marijuana will now be used for the treatment of autistic children and adults. The sanction came in the wake of a petition that was filed on the behest of parents of autistic kids.
Rallying cry for change
In April, a petition was filed that allowed doctors to prescribe medical marijuana to patients suffering from autism. In August there was another hearing where one parent made a case for the use of medical marijuana on the basis of the argument that autism was a debilitating medical condition. The health department has shot off a letter to parents that says that the prescription of medical marijuana will be considered legal starting Tuesday. The decision has thus propelled Rhode Island on the list of states that do sanction the practice.
Pre-requisites and conditions
The decision to implement medical marijuana will be subject to judicial approval later on. The petition had demanded the use of Cannabidiol (CBD) in the treatment of autism. This is because CBD essentially lacks the ingredient Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) that makes the user get a sense of being stoned or high. However, the department of health has set several guidelines for doctors. This includes considering the use of pure CBD before prescribing medical marijuana. The decision also states that only the doctor will be eligible to establish the reason why medical marijuana should be used.
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A smooth transition
Other specifications include an assessment that should be carried out every three months after the start of the therapy. There should also be consultations with pediatric neurologists, child psychiatrists and developmental pediatricians to gauge if there were any improvements, in the absence of which the treatment should be discontinued. The Public Information Officer of the RIDOH, Joseph Wendelken, said that the decision was made to ensure that the doctor is in regular consultation with specialists, thus evaluating the associated risks and advantages.
Nicole Cervantes is the mother of an autistic child. After he was diagnosed with ASD, Nicole noticed that her boy banged his head very often. The banging was so consistent that soon the boy developed a sphere shaped head. Nicole says that they son showed visible signs of improvement after she administered doses of CBD. Dr Randal Rockney, pediatrician at Hasbro Children’s Hospital, also says that the drug can help in managing the behavioral manifestations of autism.
The website of the Mothers Advocating Medical Marijuana (MAMMA) says that autism is certainly a qualifying condition that justifies the use of medical marijuana.