Jun. 3, 2015

How important is it to have a supportive medical team

How important is it to have a supportive medical team, once you have chosen medical cannabis to treat your special needs child.

As more states are signing more CBD Oil legislative bills into law, I’m finding 3 out 5 families are treating autism symptoms which is not a listed condition. Since the late 1990’s Autism has risen throughout America and the symptom chart continues to be an unpredictable identification chart for most medical professionals.

Although, there is a diagnosis criteria no child is alike.  But, as I receive emails from families from California to Australia the psychotropic medication list to treat autism symptoms has yet to be updated. I know this because every email and phone consultation with families and medical professionals, they recite the same twenty something medications. I find myself finishing a parent’s sentence when we exchange our child’s experience on medications and sometimes I close my eyes when reading emails to see how many medications I get right in order. Because that’s how we think, as a parent we just count back the side effects in medication order.

With that being said, the cannabis option becomes the “Hail Mary” of treatment choices.

Now, here is when it gets really challenging for all parties involved. As states embark on progressive views on cannabis use, we are still federally bound and until then most families are having a hard time finding medical professionals who are in line with the cannabis option. I don’t believe medical professionals oppose this treatment, as I speak with more doctors who treat autism patients it seems they are one symposium short in the traditional medical arena.

For example, I had a husband and wife contact me, both doctors in Boston seeking specific information as one of them stated they worked with an autism organization. Since 2009, I have been consulting with families that have children that range in age groups of 6 years old to 54 years, cannabis knowledge with children on the autism spectrum is the new supply and demand, that clearly plays a key role in the red tape most families are encountering on a daily basis until further federal laws are passed.

Twice a month I designate 2 days to returning emails and phone consultations and the other 20 something days assisting attorneys in child protective services cases. Being a board member on the NORML Woman’s Alliance as a liaison for cases with special circumstances has proven to be one of the most effective educational instruments for legal counsel for parents who have chosen to use cannabis with THC instead of the CBD Oil.  When I speak with autism professionals, I’m asked very often how do you know if a child will respond to cannabis or the CBD oil, my response is very simple, well in my experience most children who respond to the Gluten Free Casein Free diet are successful with the CBD Oil, that should answer the other half of your question.

As much as I would like to disclose how many medical professionals are embracing this new treatment option in states that have compassionate bills in place, I can’t.

I recently received a call from a Southern California family who had choose to treat their child with cannabis and was forced to admit their child to the emergency department from a side effect related to yet another pyshthropic medication to treat undesirable behaviors that resulted in uncontrollable facial tics.

During that visit, blood test were required on the child, when the result retuned the parents encountered a physician who asked them to step out of the room.   Social Services was contacted, the physician in his late 60’s described by the parents was unaware that medical cannabis was a safe and effect medication, and began to ridicule and humiliate these parents while their son clearly had an adverse side effect from a popular medication used to treat autism symptoms dosage increase.

The parents could not see their son until social services completed an investigation within 24hrs of their son’s hospital admission.  No good byes but, now judged from this physician as unfit parents of a special needs child. This is the new American family, the father holds a MBA in engineering and the mother, part time bank teller for a major lending institution, who recently decided being a stay at home mom is in the best interest of their special needs son.   When I spoke with the family earlier this year, they talked about the devastation of receiving their son’s diagnosis and the toll it had taken on their marriage and daily life once his behaviors became too much to bare.

As both parents left the hospital, they again had felt the despair that many parents of special needs families are encountering across this nation, lacking trust in physicians who have never walked in our shoes, while on the other side of the coin, the new medical journal is now the cannabis industry and it picks up where the traditional medical journals have fallen short of in this new treatment option with THC.

To date, my most frequently asked questions stated below identify the missing enlightening component and I assume the role of a “safety net”.

  1. From families: Do you know a reputable doctor we can see and is he in your network?
  2. From medical professionals: Will your doctor see my patients?  
  3. From medical marijuana doctors: Has the family made a consultation appointment with you?
  4. From Collective owners: Can you brief our staff on speaking with parents of special needs children?

This week I received a phone call from Dr. Christian Bogner who is heading the Michigan Cannabis Program to add Autism to the qualifying conditions under the Michigan Cannabis Program. Dr. Bogner states it’s been a year of hard work along with his attorney Michael Komorn, the president of the MI Marijuana association both have spent countless hours of petitioning. 

Even with testimony in their capital in Lansing this week with an amazing turn out. They had 20 testimonies (19/20 in favor). They had physicians, care givers, parents and affected patients speak out in a heart wrenching and compelling public hearing. A vote on this is expected by the State on July 20th. At that time the panel will discuss their opinions openly amongst themselves under public attendance.

Currently Dr. Bogner has testimonies from Dr. Harry Chugani, Chief of pediatric Neurology at Children's hospital of Michigan as well as Dr. Lester Grinspoon. All in favor.  

I look forward to this outcome as our autism community would benefit greatly on such an accomplishment.