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"Why I Give My 9-year-old Pot"
October 13, 2009 7:12 AM   Subscribe

The titles grabbed me - Why I am going to give my 9-year-old Pot. and the four month follow up, Why am I giving my 9-year-old Pot. But, my mind was changed, and heart softened, by the articles. via
posted by PissOnYourParade (75 comments total) 21 users marked this as a favorite

 
Okay, really, I'm going to go read the article, and I'm going to approach it with the appropriate seriousness. Nevertheless, I am forced to admit that this song is going to be stuck in my head all day.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 7:21 AM on October 13, 2009


Why I am giving my autistic child with severe intestinal pain cannabis cookies is less catchy
posted by leotrotsky at 7:24 AM on October 13, 2009 [10 favorites]


That's pretty interesting. You cannot argue with the fact that our lack of understanding of cannabinoid receptors is shameful. As the article points out, it is accepted practice to fuck around with dopaminergic neurons to the nth degree (knowing full well that tardive dyskinesia is an expected side effect in the long run) and developing serotonergic synapses because we have possession of pharmaceutical grade drugs. Much as I might try, I can't see anything here that is assailable in any other context other than the righteous posturing of someone who will never (luckily) walk in their shoes.
posted by docpops at 7:24 AM on October 13, 2009 [12 favorites]


Also less catchy: Why am I giving my 9-year old Prozac, Luvox, Zoloft, Anafranil, Risperdone, Zyprexa, Geodon, Clonidine, Tegretol, Lamictal, Topamax, Depakote, Ritalin, Concerta, or Adderall?
posted by anthill at 7:25 AM on October 13, 2009 [23 favorites]


This all does raise the interesting question of at what age, if any, it is appropriate to give a child controlled substances such as pot or alcohol. Does a glass of wine at dinner at 14 help curb binge drinking later in life? Does letting your kids smoke pot at home at 16 lessen the risk of them getting arrested for it out on the street?
posted by TypographicalError at 7:27 AM on October 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


Good grief, what an amazing story.
"his teacher excitedly presented his June-July “aggression” chart. An aggression is defined as any attempt or instance of hitting, kicking, biting, or pinching another person. For the past year, he’d consistently had 30 to 50 aggressions in a school day, with a one-time high of 300. The charts for June through July, by contrast, showed he was actually having days—sometimes one after another—with zero aggressions."
It's not just that the marijuana is calming him, but she also reports that he's more focused and learning better.
posted by boo_radley at 7:29 AM on October 13, 2009 [11 favorites]


Question: why are we giving our nine-year-old a marijuana cookie?
Answer: because he can't figure out how to use a bong.


See, this forced irreverence, to me, trivializes what is her completely reasonable cause, and hurts her argument. ...but "edginess" is probably a requirement for publication in Double X.
posted by applemeat at 7:32 AM on October 13, 2009 [4 favorites]


OK, so I don't have time to read it now, but I can't resist commenting.

Is this parent giving his/her 9-year-old pot because the child is insanely hyper, or because the child doesn't have much of an appetite?

On preview: applemeat has a much better answer than mine, because goddamn, that is funny.
posted by mitzyjalapeno at 7:33 AM on October 13, 2009


Does a glass of wine at dinner at 14 help curb binge drinking later in life?

Studies say: No.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 7:35 AM on October 13, 2009 [2 favorites]


Right, I kept looking for the 'evidence' that they had just 'stoned' him out. But, it's not there, and then I realized, even if that is what's going on, who am I to say he's not happier and better off for it.
posted by PissOnYourParade at 7:35 AM on October 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


Alright, I need to focus on reading more slowly and intently. What I should have said was, "the answer referenced by applemeat..."
posted by mitzyjalapeno at 7:35 AM on October 13, 2009


I'm in agreement with docpops and anthill. Far be it from me to pass any sort of judgment on someone in a situation so foreign to me but obviously extremely trying to the parents and family. They're lucky to live in a state where they have the option without excessive legal risk. I imagine this could get your kids taken away in a lot of states.

I assume Double X is related to Slate somehow though, it smacks of their annoying style.
posted by ghharr at 7:37 AM on October 13, 2009


Is this parent giving his/her 9-year-old pot because the child is insanely hyper, or because the child doesn't have much of an appetite?

Because the child apparently suffers from chronic pain, irritability, and pica (wikipedia).
posted by KirkJobSluder at 7:38 AM on October 13, 2009


... or that bong comment is yet another example of the black humour used by parents raising children with exceptional needs.

Poor J. seems to have had intestinal pain not just because of his autism (there seems to be a link between that and gut problems), but because he was eating fabric at an incredible rate. So instead of the cookies giving him the munchies, they have apparently cured his pica. That he seems to be less aggressive and more focused and, possibly, just plain happier is a great bonus.
posted by maudlin at 7:39 AM on October 13, 2009 [3 favorites]


Is this parent giving his/her 9-year-old pot because the child is insanely hyper, or because the child doesn't have much of an appetite?

On preview: applemeat has a much better answer than mine, because goddamn, that is funny.


It's actually not that funny - this is a story about a child who suffers from chronic pain of several types and difficulty communicating with fellow humans.
posted by Salvor Hardin at 7:41 AM on October 13, 2009 [4 favorites]


[few comments removed - early non-contextualized thread-shitting seeming comments early in the US morning not a great way to start a thread on a difficult topic. also, maybe read the artlicle or wait to comment until you do next time?]
posted by jessamyn at 7:44 AM on October 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


I read this article a few days ago. I'm really happy that everyone worked out so well for the author and her son.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 7:45 AM on October 13, 2009


I meant will not read because I knew it was going to be horribly sad, and today is not the day for reading it for me.

Actually, the story's not particularly sad, it has a hopeful tone, and ends on a high note. Go ahead and read it (them), it's worth your time, as it's a quick read.
posted by explosion at 7:45 AM on October 13, 2009 [2 favorites]


The first paragraph:

My son J has autism. He’s also had two serious surgeries for a spinal cord tumor and has an inflammatory bowel condition, all of which may be causing him pain, if he could tell us. He can say words, but many of them—"duck in the water, duck in the water"—don't convey what he means. For a time, anti-inflammatory medication seemed to control his pain. But in the last year, it stopped working. He began to bite and to smack the glasses off my face. If you were in that much pain, you’d probably want to hit someone, too.
posted by P.o.B. at 7:45 AM on October 13, 2009


Great Read - THANKS!!!!!
posted by Senator at 7:50 AM on October 13, 2009 [7 favorites]


I took the time to read the article. I didn't expect to see this kind of therapy used with autism, mainly because most autistic children can go into their own little worlds to an extreme. I would have thought, thirty minutes ago, that marijuana would only exacerbate that. Also, the idea of a lack of appetite is not atypical for autistic children. My son sometimes goes two to three days without eating more than a couple of bites. (Before that is completely misunderstood, his pediatrician has full knowledge of this, and explains that as long as he's getting his vitamins, all is well. He has been deemed "healthy" by his doctors, so we're just letting him choose what to eat and when. He has some days when he wants more than a usual serving as well, so I think it balances out.) Pain management is understandable, though.

I do know some kids, however, that are on medications to increase their appetites, so that was one of my first thoughts. Please forgive me for blurting out a quick comment.
posted by mitzyjalapeno at 8:05 AM on October 13, 2009 [2 favorites]


Wow. Once again I am reminded that I don't understand why cannabis is demonized.
posted by bfranklin at 8:09 AM on October 13, 2009 [3 favorites]


That's an incredible, enlightening story.

I have to say, though, that she is one brave woman for, apparently, using her real name in those stories. How she has avoided being trotted-out by Nancy Grace (or other such "moral crusader") as an abusive mother forcing demon marijuana on her young child, I have no idea. Yes, her use of cannabis is legal where she lives, but that doesn't shield her from the sort of witch-hunt crusading busy-bodies undertake against things they don't approve of.

Here's hoping the story of J. is just too taboo for even our shrill media watchdogs to go after.
posted by Thorzdad at 8:14 AM on October 13, 2009


I would have a hard time taking medical advice from Autism Research Institute. It seems to be a sciencey sounding name for just another anti-vaccine group.

That said, I certainly don't blame this woman for giving it a shot. Marijuana is unlikely to do damage to her child the way other drugs (she mentions Risperdal specifically) could. There are plenty of Autism "treatments" out there (drugs, special diets, vitamin supplements, Chelation), which don't seem to really do any good, and can actually be harmful. It's great for her and her son that she's found something that works. I hope he continues to do well with it.
posted by lexicakes at 8:15 AM on October 13, 2009


Question: why are we giving our nine-year-old a marijuana cookie?
Answer: because he can't figure out how to use a bong.

See, this forced irreverence, to me, trivializes what is her completely reasonable cause, and hurts her argument.


Well, it could be "true" as well as "forcedly irreverent" couldn't it?
posted by freebird at 8:16 AM on October 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


Good read, quick read and an interesting read. I hate the whole "Pot saved my XYZ!" line of thought and this really was not so. Her son had a bunch of problems and this helped - no miracle cure, but helped.
posted by From Bklyn at 8:17 AM on October 13, 2009


How she has avoided being trotted-out by Nancy Grace (or other such "moral crusader") as an abusive mother forcing demon marijuana on her young child, I have no idea.

Likewise, I'm amazed, and pleased that so far there has been no outcry about this. But at the same time, I can't help but feel (or like to think) that if a Grace or O'Reilly jumped on this story there'd be such a backlash... I mean, from everything that is said it's clear that this has made a huge improvement to quality of life for everyone involved.

I guess if anything, they are unlikely to use it as a story to demonise pot, and the parents, because by it's very nature this story does the absolute opposite! There's no winning thw anti-pot argument with this story included.
posted by opsin at 8:20 AM on October 13, 2009 [4 favorites]


Well, it could be "true" as well as "forcedly irreverent" couldn't it?

Um, YES. Certainly. Now think about where this story was published. And where it wasn't.
posted by applemeat at 8:21 AM on October 13, 2009


She mentions that the initial suggestion from child psychologists was risperderal -- "thorazine for kids". It turns out that risperdal is a hell of a drug. If medical marijuana (MM) was available to me or my child in that situation, I'd strongly consider it.
The term used in the article for risperderal treatment is "autistic irritation". That made me think of the old "senile agitation" ads, and it turns out that ad was for thorazine.
posted by boo_radley at 8:22 AM on October 13, 2009


Very interesting reads. Thanks.
posted by voltairemodern at 8:22 AM on October 13, 2009


Nine year olds on pot! next thing hanging out with surfers.
posted by hortense at 8:28 AM on October 13, 2009 [2 favorites]


Question: why are we giving our nine-year-old a marijuana cookie?
Answer: because he can't figure out how to use a bong.

See, this forced irreverence, to me, trivializes what is her completely reasonable cause, and hurts her argument. ...but "edginess" is probably a requirement for publication in Double X.
posted by applemeat


Why does it hurt her argument ?

In fact what argument ? All I read was reportage of something that happened. I read no agenda into her actions except parental love and concern for the sufferring her child endures.

She makes some interesting comments on the acknowledged side effects of some approved drugs in comparison to marijuana - but again this is just reportage.

I can understand if you don't like irreverance as a style, which is a purely subjective thing, but don't see how it makes a material difference to the treatment her son is receiving (which I presume is her argument) ?
posted by Boslowski at 8:29 AM on October 13, 2009 [3 favorites]


Great articles, especially the second one, and good for her for taking care of her kid in the best, most logical way possible.

[And just to get in a quick political point that she alludes to in the first article: under Obama, licensed medical marijuana dispensers, growers and distributors are no longer being targeted by federal agents. Under Bush, this woman could have been arrested on federal charges, or her dispenser arrested on some pretty serious counts. I don't want to derail, but the many small but significant things like this are the reason that I'm pretty goddamn delighted with Obama so far despite still working on the "big" things like economy/healthcare/war]
posted by Damn That Television at 8:31 AM on October 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


jessamyn:[few comments removed - early non-contextualized thread-shitting seeming comments early in the US morning not a great way to start a thread on a difficult topic




With the child in the article eating fabric, this is the first time in MeFi history that there is threadshitting in the comments AND in the story.


All kidding aside, I would love to see if this makes a difference for other kids on the spectrum. My wife is a speech therapist for an autistic school and tells me about all kinds of silly diets and "treatments" pushed by hucksters on desperate parents.
posted by dr_dank at 8:39 AM on October 13, 2009 [6 favorites]


J sounds like he's in good hands with parents like that. What a heartwarmer!
posted by orme at 8:40 AM on October 13, 2009


I didn't expect to see this kind of therapy used with autism, mainly because most autistic children can go into their own little worlds to an extreme.

Autism is a spectrum disorder. Not every autistic child presents the same, not every therapy works all autistic persons. So little is known that new and alternative therapies are tried every day because, as dr_dank just commented, parents are desperate for answers and help.
posted by FunkyHelix at 8:50 AM on October 13, 2009


Why does it hurt her argument ?

Because it relegates this story to low-circulation, preachin'-to-the-choir publications like Double X.
posted by applemeat at 8:51 AM on October 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


More evidence that the marijuna laws here in the USA are ridiculously stupid. And I don't even like pot; give me a glass of bourbon any day.
posted by infinitywaltz at 8:59 AM on October 13, 2009


I eat a pot brownie every night before bedtime and I sleep the most restful sleeps you can imagine, whereas without it I'm a veritable insomniac. Pot brownies have hugely improved my quality of life, simply because I wake up every morning fully rested, with zero hangover or other icky side effects. My significant other has the same experience. She has some powerful prescription sleeping pills too, but A) they are highly addictive; and B) they're *too* potent, making it almost impossible to wake her until they wear off. We had a house fire a few years ago and she was like a slow-motion zombie from one of those pills and surely would have died if I hadn't been functional and able to react quickly.

I've also found that when you eat it, the effect is more potent and longer-lasting (than smoking), but doesn't have nearly as much of the 'up' that recreational users seek. It's much more of a calming sedative, at least in my experience, when eaten and processed by the liver. And that is just fabulous when all you want to do is get a good night's restful sleep.
posted by jamstigator at 9:09 AM on October 13, 2009 [11 favorites]


Good find... thanks for the post.

Parents that try this hard are sometimes hard to find... good for them...
posted by HuronBob at 9:09 AM on October 13, 2009


The article title is misleading in that his autism really is NOT the reason for the medical marijuana (as it seems some people here are confused about). The child had a tumor in his spinal chord removed and that is causing him chronic pain. This pain is exacerbating his autism and caused him to react in bad ways (the pica). I feel a great deal of sympathy for the kid.

Imagine being in chronic pain with no direct way to express your discomfort outside of literally trying to rip your face off (the kid scratched and clawed at his own face).

I'm glad the parents have been able to work something out.
posted by d1rge at 9:11 AM on October 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


Because it relegates this story to low-circulation, preachin'-to-the-choir publications like Double X

Managed to make it to the wonder that is metafilter from there. Must be a truly wonderful 'argument' to have overcome the handicap of having been posted in a low-circulation, preaching to the choir publication like Double X.

Seriously I have no idea where Double X sits in the pantheon of anything (never heard of it before) but I can still make an informed opinion on the story. I know that sometimes where a story is posted casts a slant on it, this is unfortunate but true, but the duty is on the likes of me and you to see past such inconsequential information and make balanced judgements on relevant information instead.
posted by Boslowski at 9:11 AM on October 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


If nothing else, these excellent articles remind me that whatever day-to-day challenges I may face as a parent, there is someone else facing much greater challenges.
posted by mosk at 9:14 AM on October 13, 2009 [2 favorites]


I've tried using pot cookies and brownies but I always give up. I can never keep them lit.
posted by Bonzai at 9:14 AM on October 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


I have no idea where Double X sits in the pantheon of anything (never heard of it before)

I rest my case.
posted by applemeat at 9:14 AM on October 13, 2009


This was a fascinating read; I have duly forwarded it on to my daughter, who works with autistic clients. Unfortunately, here in North Carolina, trying it out on any kid who might benefit is going to be just about impossible. I've been waiting my entire adult life for this country's insane prohibition on marijuana to go away or at least be eased; maybe as more stories like this come to the fore it will finally happen. Probably not - I'm cynical, not hopeful - but even if it doesn't cause any wider ripples, I am very impressed with her courage and her commitment to her child.
posted by mygothlaundry at 9:16 AM on October 13, 2009


I rest my case.

Rested your case but didn't bother to read mine eh. You have a go at a publication for being low circulation and then snark at me for not knowing about it - this is a contradiction in your terms of reference.

Its either such an important site that my credibility is hurt for not knowing of it ... or its a rag with no credibility and damages an argument just by hosting the article. It can't be both.

Seriously maybe you would like to offer some substance to your thoughts beyond the asinine 'I don't like that site' position that you seem to be holding onto somewhat too strongly.

If the article had been printed in the New York Times word for word would you have a different opinion of it ? (and before you make the obvious comment that the reaction would be different, I'm asking YOU if you think the argument has now been hurt by the trivial question the author started with)
posted by Boslowski at 9:30 AM on October 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


I've gotta say, I'm not especially won over by the argument that we should be prescribing pills to kids or anybody else (which, in today's industrial climate, are not necessarily as thoroughly tested and vetted before market release as we'd like to believe) instead of marijuana, which grows naturally and whose side effects and benefits are not only fully understood but time tested and proved.

that being said, I'll share this Bill Hicks bit from memory as best as I'm able:

"...as though God, in his perfection, had completed the world and on the 8th day said "Shit! I left all this pot everywhere on Earth! now what am I going to do? I certainly don't want them SMOKING that! I guess I'll have to create republicans..."
posted by shmegegge at 9:35 AM on October 13, 2009 [5 favorites]


It is odd to me that where all these other drugs are tightly regulated and dispensed in refined forms like pills and such, requiring a prescription and a pharmacist to fill the order, people prescribed marijuana can basically take it in any way they want, e.g. smoking it!

One would hope that with the legalization of medical marijuana, the mother could buy the drug from the pharmacist in some form that would allow her to bake it into the cookies. In my experience, the people who support medical marijuana don't care about sick people so much as they hope that it will somehow make it easier for them to get their hands on the stuff. Sadly, people are much more likely to share their prescribed mary jane than their Anafranil.

This could be mitigated a little bit if marijuana use was restricted to cases like the one described in the article. However in my experience, marijuana can be prescribed for people who don't need it in such a clear way. Someone very close to me had a girlfriend who smoked medical marijuana for her bipolar disorder. She was high very high functioning, and it seemed absurd that a doctor would perscribe it to her. Later, my fears were met when I found out that she had shared her drugs with my friend because he had diagnosed himself with celiac disease (he disagreed with the doctor who could not find any indication of it). This self-medicating continued for all sorts of things now, including stress and emotional pain. Now his use is fully "recreational" and his life has changed for the worse. He went from one of the most responsible people I knew with a 4.0 GPA to dropping out of college and starting a quest to "find himself" mainly by living at his girlfriend's parent's house and smoking pot.

Clearly it's a powerful drug, which is why it can be so useful in some situations. But because it's also so widely abused, the medical dispensation of it needs to be much more carefully controlled. You can't just give someone some leaves and encourage them to light up. Ultimately, I suppose this is an argument for the national legalization of marijuana so that it can be dispensed in more reasonable ways. But at the same time, I do think that it ought to be reserved as a drug for extremely desperate situations like the one described in this article, as a last resort, because sharing will happen, and that's not a good thing. If marijuana is legalized, my hope is that it will actually make it harder to get high recreationally.
posted by brenton at 9:57 AM on October 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


"She was high very high functioning"
Ha... Freudian typo, much? I meant to say "She was very high functioning."
posted by brenton at 10:07 AM on October 13, 2009


Brenton, I graduated magna from Harvard, with my grades getting better and better each year as I smoked more and more pot. A statistical analysis of our two anecdotes shows that pot use does not correlate with a decrease in academic achievement.
posted by snofoam at 10:15 AM on October 13, 2009 [10 favorites]


bfranklin: Wow. Once again I am reminded that I don't understand why cannabis is demonized.

"Despite the fact that drug use is more or less consistent across racial lines, many punitive drug laws are based on beliefs that certain communities of color commonly abuse certain substances." Cannabis was illegalized in the US because it was introduced to the country by Mexican and African immigrants. Ditto for opiates and Chinese immigrants. The Prohibition movement was split largely on religious lines and may well have been fueled by anti-Catholicism. Pharmaceuticals have the "advantage" of being developed by WASPs, sold originally in the West and available only to the relative minority who can pay for them. Imagine how different the distribution of power would be if even 30% of users of behavioral modification and painkilling prescription drugs switched to pot.
posted by l33tpolicywonk at 10:22 AM on October 13, 2009 [6 favorites]


I wouldn't judge the joke too much. Caring for a disabled child (or adult) is very trying and places you in situations far outside your comfort zone on a regular basis no matter how far your comfort zone moves. People cope in lots of ways, and humor is one of them.
posted by a robot made out of meat at 10:25 AM on October 13, 2009 [6 favorites]


brenton: "You can't just give someone some leaves and encourage them to light up."

Then it's a good thing no doctors are doing that, huh? In Los Angelesterdam (and as far as I know, all the other islands of sanity in the US), the doctors advise a vaporizer.
posted by mullingitover at 10:44 AM on October 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


In my experience, the people who support medical marijuana don't care about sick people so much as they hope that it will somehow make it easier for them to get their hands on the stuff.

You, sir, are full of shit. I know people who work for ridiculously low wages to help people get their medicine, while jerkoffs like you say, "Oh, it's all a front for NORML."

BAH! Double BAH!!

Any high school (hell, junior high) kid can get marijuana if he or she wants. Getting marijuana is not the problem. It's much easier to get it from a dealer than a dispensary.

Growing and using it without threat of federal arrest is the problem. If you live in California, Illinois, Oregon, Michigan, Montana, or Rhode Island, write your Senator and Congresspeople to support the Truth in Trials act.

Sadly, people are much more likely to share their prescribed mary jane than their Anafranil.

Well, no shit. Which one has worse side effects: increased appetite and drowsiness vs. suicidal tendencies? FWIW, if I were a cannabis patient, I would share marijuana the same way I share Vicodin and Percocet. Justmy2c.
posted by mrgrimm at 10:46 AM on October 13, 2009


You should no more have to have a prescription for pot than you do for alcohol. Pot is *way* safer than alcohol. Excellent no-side-effect sleep-aid too. You know how people like to have a 'nightcap' before bed, to help them sleep? Well, what's wrong with pot being used the same way? Why should that require a prescription? If one of the two should require a prescription, it'd be alcohol, which rots your liver and is rather physically addictive. I've had MANY members of my family die because of alcohol, yet none from pot. The laws are completely backwards: pot should be free for anyone to grow or smoke or eat as they wish, and alcohol should require a prescription (assuming it's good for anything that pot isn't better for).
posted by jamstigator at 10:54 AM on October 13, 2009 [5 favorites]


In my experience, the people who support medical marijuana don't care about sick people so much as they hope that it will somehow make it easier for them to get their hands on the stuff

mrgrimm already made the point but it is worth reiterating that if you think access is the curse of your average recreational smoker then you don't actually have much relevant experience to debate this issue.

I don't want to derail into a pot is good / pot is bad discussion but seriously denying medication to ill people just because some others might smoke it for fun, instead of the stuff they bought illegally, is a morally bankrupt position.

Which is not to say all anti marijuana positions are morally bankrupt - just this one.

Look if your evil weed fiend doesn't have either the guts to buy illegally or the wherewithall to find an illegal source then they really aren't likely to bring down civilisation as we know it.
posted by Boslowski at 11:00 AM on October 13, 2009 [3 favorites]


Well it all seems perfectly reasonable. If it was any other herbal remedy and they tried it out in this way there wouldn't be any argument.

Obviously weed isn't some kind of panacea it may have bad side effects, but can't really argue with the decision they've made in their son's case.
posted by Not Supplied at 11:06 AM on October 13, 2009


@l33tpolicywonk: Thank you! Fantastic reading. The wikipedia article you linked on cannabis pointed me at an article covering the debunking of the hemp conspiracy. I was struck by how the media was writing about sinister legends of murder, suicide and disaster triggered by the drug, individuals allegedly crazed by habitual marijuana use, and how The fatal marihuana cigarette must be recognized as a DEADLY DRUG, and American children must be PROTECTED AGAINST IT. Headlines like Marihuana: Assassin of Youth, and thoughts that Colored students at the Univ. of Minn. partying with female students (white) smoking and getting their sympathy with stories of racial persecution... Result, pregnancy are equally charming.

All of this sounds like it could have been pulled right out of my 1980s anti-drug education, in spite of having been written half a century earlier.
posted by bfranklin at 11:29 AM on October 13, 2009


I clicked on the story expecting to be all fighty, but then was all "awwwwwwwww" and teary-eyed.
posted by 23skidoo at 11:35 AM on October 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


Wow. Once again I am reminded that I don't understand why cannabis is demonized.

Racism & politics, of course.
posted by mike3k at 11:41 AM on October 13, 2009 [3 favorites]


It's not just that the marijuana is calming him, but she also reports that he's more focused and learning better.

The improvement described in the referenced comment mirrors the success I've had with my 4-year-olds' aggression recently -- only we did it with a system of earning/losing marbles based on concrete behavior boundaries (sticker charts, which only reward positive without concrete repercussions for negative, were unsuccessful.)

Of course, my children aren't autistic; I'm not suggesting she should use marbles instead. I'm also not suggesting her chosen method is a good one, long term. However, I completely understand why she would want to continue using a method that has been so successful in the short term. Anything that keeps him calm and focused -- and this goes for any child -- is a godsend. The results will benefit her child without question, and I can only hope she will continue to search for non-drug-based alternatives, if only because drug-based methods are ultimately unsustainable.
posted by davejay at 12:14 PM on October 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


I read this thread without logging in, and the context sensitive banner ad was a PSA that said something to the effect of "They said marijuana wouldn't lead to harder drugs... THEY LIED!" It also had a picture of a sad man smoking a bong, and an offer to get a free anti-marijuana booklet in the mail.

It's really a shame the government feels the need to actively spread propaganda against marijuana when it's clear there are a lot of medical opportunities, like with this poor kid. I can understand that a rational person can be against legalization, but at least say those reasons instead of making the questionable "gateway drug" claim.

It's odd that we live in a society where Ritalin and Prozac are household names, but a drug that can have similar psychoactive effects, along with other medical potential, is actively demonized by the government. I'm not blaming a corporate conspiracy, but there is a ton of political inertia.

My younger sister is high-functioning autistic, and while I don't know if this good experience has more to do with the pot treating the pain or the autism, I am livid that the government doesn't make it easier for studies to be done that test if marijuana could help her. I understand the government outlawing a substance for recreational use on one level (I disagree with it for pot), but it makes no sense to me to outlaw a substance for medical use. Even if it were as dangerous as its made out to be, it could be a black box prescription like Accutaine.
posted by mccarty.tim at 12:29 PM on October 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


Accutane is pretty bad, even aside from the birth defects.
posted by mrgrimm at 12:54 PM on October 13, 2009


denying medication to ill people just because some others might smoke it for fun, instead of the stuff they bought illegally, is a morally bankrupt position.
Not necessarily. However, that's not what I was proposing. In fact, I advocate the legalization of medical marijuana.
posted by brenton at 1:50 PM on October 13, 2009


The results will benefit her child without question, and I can only hope she will continue to search for non-drug-based alternatives,

From the second story:

Next, we started seeing changes in J.’s school reports. His curriculum is based on a therapy called Applied Behavioral Analysis, which involves, as the name implies, meticulous analysis of data.

ABA is a form of Operant Conditioning based on Ivar Lovaas research.
posted by P.o.B. at 2:18 PM on October 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


I'm extremely happy to hear that a child has been able to find some relief from autism and it hasn't been through some of the awful pseudoscience pushed by some self-appointed members of the autism lobby (e.g., this definitely isn't clinical trial material, but marijuana does something(s) to the human body, and here it appears to be a net positive). I'd like to see this explored more fully from a scientific perspective, specifically to figure out how much of the "But J tends to build tolerance to synthetics" stuff is real and how much is the writer's own biases.
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 2:45 PM on October 13, 2009


Not necessarily. However, that's not what I was proposing. In fact, I advocate the legalization of medical marijuana

Yes, I know, you said so, I read it.

You also said you hoped that legalisation of medical marijuana would actually make it harder to get high recreationally.

Ultimately, I suppose this is an argument for the national legalization of marijuana so that it can be dispensed in more reasonable ways. But at the same time, I do think that it ought to be reserved as a drug for extremely desperate situations like the one described in this article, as a last resort, because sharing will happen, and that's not a good thing

And even if it is legalised for medical purposes you want to reserve it only for truly tragic cases because ..... sharing will happen

So you still want to deny ill people medication becasue of the risk of sharing a drug that is already widely available.

Sorry it is, quite clearly, what you were proposing.
posted by Boslowski at 3:22 PM on October 13, 2009


Wow. Once again I am reminded that I don't understand why cannabis is demonized.
weaponized marijuana.
posted by hortense at 4:52 PM on October 13, 2009


The results will benefit her child without question, and I can only hope she will continue to search for non-drug-based alternatives, if only because drug-based methods are ultimately unsustainable.

I don't quite follow. Why are drug-based methods unsustainable? Are you talking about autism only?

Drugs for all sorts of other life-long conditions are plenty sustainable. I can see that jumping and leaping to the next unproven drug with possibly terrible side effects willy-nilly is not the best way to go, but drugs, used judiciously, keep people alive and functioning every day. There are many different types of drugs, and some of them in some situations are a wise choice, and others are reckless. That doesn't make all of them bad, just because they are drugs.

I have bipolar disorder and I live pill to pill. It works for me. I got on the right combination, and I got my life back. So I am kind of sensitive to "[all] drugs are [always] bad" kinds of arguments. But that's probably not what you meant. Right?

And pot is a drug.
posted by marble at 5:32 PM on October 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


Just about everything is 'drugs', if by that you mean an assortment of chemicals that affect the human body or mind. Aspirin, pheromones given off during sex, pot, alcohol, lithium, Viagra, the stuff in turkey that makes you sleepy, it's all drugs in one form or another. Even water, I guess. I've actually heard of more people dying from water overdose than I have cannabis overdose -- should we make water available by prescription only too? The pheromones given off during sex are very potent and can elevate a person's pulse rate and blood pressure and if they have a bad or weakened heart, that could kill them. Prescriptions for sex too?

C'mon, people need to be able to decide for themselves what they put in their own bodies, especially in the privacy of their own homes. How much of a nanny state do we really want? Obviously it'd be safer if we were all raised in padded boxes, isolated from the world forever, but part of being an adult is being able to make these decisions for yourself, and reap what you sow in terms of consequences. If I choose to smoke a doobie in the evening before I go to bed, so I can sleep well and not be a cranky tired douchebag the next day, exactly how is society harmed? I'd actually call that a net PLUS for society -- one less tired cranky douchebag walking around, replaced by a refreshed, happier and more pleasant guy. Win-win!
posted by jamstigator at 5:51 PM on October 13, 2009 [2 favorites]


This is a good story, both the writing and the result which is still being played out everyday. There's no way any of us can judge these parents without having lived through what they have lived through. They could have taken the easy way out, they could have medicated the fight right out of their son, they could have institutionalized him, they could have done so many other things. I'm glad they didn't, I'm glad their son is happier, I'm glad he feels better.

It may not be traditional medicine but traditional medicine isn't always the answer. Sometimes there are other paths to go down and this one seems to have led them to a happier place for all involved.
posted by fenriq at 5:57 PM on October 13, 2009


Yeah, I think it's perfectly reasonable to try marijuana therapy on this kid, and it seems to be working.

But Jesus Christ, to be so troubled that you actually function better if you're high all the time? Poor kid. Yikes.
posted by grobstein at 6:58 PM on October 13, 2009


I have a little one at home, who's perfectly healthy--knock wood--but the thought of my kid or any kid going through such trials just to get through the day....whoa. Feels like someone's squeezing my heart. Kudos to the parents for the bravery to try this therapy and a big fuck you to anyone who would prevent this family from this kind of therapy.
posted by zardoz at 6:59 PM on October 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


I heard part of an interview with this guy the other night:

York University philosopher Stuart Shanker is one of the world’s leading thinkers on “kids with disorders.” The author of twenty books on philosophy and human development, he incorporates the latest knowledge we have about the brain to improve the lives of struggling children.

In the part I heard, he talked about how therapists needed to be sensitive to what was actually happening to the kids, and deal with that, rather than worrying about a full diagnosis and treatment regime. (I may be paraphrasing with brutality. It's late.) Anyway, it sounded like a very sensible and compassionate approach.
posted by sneebler at 8:42 PM on October 14, 2009


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