Medical marijuana is used to treat dozens of ailments, and one mother swears by it to help her severely autistic son. Meiko Hester-Perez didn't make the decision lightly, but two-and-a-half years ago, her son weighed just 42 pounds. Today, he weighs 112 pounds. "My son was absolutely withering away. You could see the bones in his chest," Hester-Perez says.
After doing a lot of research, Hester-Perez decided to get a medical marijuana card for her son Joey. The first time she gave him a pot brownie, she says she saw immediate results. "He was calm, sociable, happy, more productive."
We had a hard time finding any doctor to criticize Hester-Perez's decision to treat Joey's autism with medical marijuana, but Dr. Seth Ammeran, a Stanford Professor who's also on the American Academy of Pediatrics Substance Abuse Committee is concerned. He says, "Parents have the best interest of their kids at heart, and they want to do what's best for their kids, but as a medical professional who really needs to look at the science behind recommendations, I can't in good conscious recommend it." The main reason Dr. Ammeran won't recommend it is because there's no research.
Hester-Perez is very particular when it comes to the type of pot she gives Joey. It's not only organic, but also veganic, which means there it contains no animal products. She also has it tested at a Bay Area lab that tests cannabis, nothing else.
Hester-Perez says she believes she's taking care to make sure Joey's medical marijuana is safe, and knows in her heart she made the right decision. "He's 12 years old and thanks to cannabis, I'm having my first with my son, my first of everything."
Hester-Perez is also experiencing a first, by establishing a non-profit. The Unconventional Foundation for Autism is working to raise money for medical marijuana research, as well as help families caring for autistic children.