The House Health and Welfare committee is expected to hear legislation today that would allow medical marijuana to be used as a legal treatment for persons with autism. Louisiana Mothers Advocating for Medical Marijuana spokesperson Katelyn Castleberry says her two sons suffer from autism and they need better options made available for treatment.
"The FDA only approves two drugs for autism and that is Abilify and Risperdal. They carry side effects ranging from tremors to seizures to suicide."
Castleberry says even though marijuana has been used as a recreational drug for years, the medical benefits outweigh the stigma attached to it. Studies have shown that medical cannabis is quite effective for autism.
"Behaviors like aggression or self-injury greatly decrease. Some children who are non-verbal have learned to speak."
A major difference between medical and recreational marijuana is the medicinal type don’t give patients a euphoric high. Castleberry says studies have found that medical cannabis could also help other medical conditions.
"Medical marijuana has compounds in it that react with receptors all over the entire nervous system. That has a subduing effect on the nervous system."