BROKEN ARROW, Okla. - An Oklahoma mother says medical marijuana is working miracles for her son with autism.
Melody McAdams says that before it was legal in Oklahoma, she tried everything, and had almost given up hope that anything would work for her child.
"You kind of grieve the child you thought you'd have," McAdams said. "College and high school and girlfriends, kids, stuff like that. And now I ctually have hope, you know?" McAdams said
She tells us that just two months into her son Ean’s treatment, he’s making big improvements.
“I noticed a change overnight almost. He slept. Through the night. The meltdowns have completely stopped,” McAdams said.
Before using “friction oil” or “Tincture oil” with CBD and THC, McAdams had tried all of the expensive treatments.
"We did the ABA therapy for 3 years which cost us $900 a month, co-pay. We also did lots of speech therapy and lots of occupational therapy. It just got exhausting and he wasn't really changing." McAdams said.
She says she decided to try out medical marijuana after a trip to Ean’s doctor.
“He told me 'no (he needs) Seroquel and I was like, I’m not putting my child on an anti-psychotic he's not psychotic.” McAdams said. "When you look up the side effects of Seroquel which is what was recommended to Ean versus the side effects of this, you would choose it for your child, too."
McAdams says that the family's quality of life has now made leaps and bounds for the first time since Ean was diagnosed with autism.
Pointing around her home she shows us, "We wouldn't have the blinds up, we wouldn't have glass, we wouldn't have everything plugged in. We'd have everything child-proofed like a baby; he’s not like a baby anymore.”
She says the communication has been a huge breakthrough, something Ean struggled with before.
“He communicates with me every day. Yesterday he told me he had a bad day at school." McAdams said, smiling.
Sherilyn Walton is with TARC, a Tulsa-area advocacy group for Oklahomans with developmental and intellectual disabilities. She said since medical marijuana became legal here in Oklahoma, some parents have looked into the treatment.
However, she says there haven't been many studies on the effects of medical marijuana on children with autism.
“We are cautioning families about what they read and what they do, to make some really wise choices, and not do anything without the help of a physician,” said Walton, a family support coordinator.
She tells us she supports medical marijuana but doesn't feel comfortable recommending it to families right now.
“It may be that it works with some. Marijuana might work with some and not with others just like other medications. We will certainly continue to watch the research. We want to give out good information and we want information that we feel like we can trust,“ Walton said.
For McAdams, she says so far this is the best choice for her child and says as long as he's happy and healthy, she'll keep using it.
“He's been in public school now and he's excelling. He can write his first name, he can count," McAdams said.
“I believe he'll have a job and be able to live somewhat normally, which is beyond exciting," she said. “All you want as a parent is for your kid to be happy and to have a fulfilling life.”
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