https://www.npr.org/sections/health-sho ... ith-autism
- "In some ways I think about it like cancer care," says Dr. Todd Levine, a psychiatrist who specializes in working with children with autism at Women & Infants Hospital of Rhode Island in Providence. "If your kid has cancer and you're failing chemotherapy and someone at NIH says we have an experimental drug, you'll go."
Levine, who treats Dylan, is supporting his parents' decision to see if medical marijuana can help their son.
In their kitchen, Kristal shakes a medicine bottle filled with homemade marijuana oil.
"Do your medicine real quick?" she says to Dylan.
He screams, "No!" and swears.
His parents have learned to ignore these outbursts. Dylan paces and then settles down.
Kristal uses a plastic dosing syringe to draw out 25 milligrams of homemade cannabis-infused olive oil and squirts it into Dylan's open mouth.
And already Chris, says, they feel like it's working.
"I notice in the morning he's been a little easier to get along with," Chris says. "He's not as angry. He's not waking up angry, he's waking up and, and you know, just getting ready and doing his thing, and asking to get dressed and asking for breakfast."
These reports from parents – along with input from local doctors and a review of the medical literature — helped persuade Rhode Island health officials to add autism as a qualifying condition for medical marijuana.
"Severe autism in particular is not a curable disease, and there are very few treatment options," says Dr. Nicole Alexander-Scott, director of Rhode Island's health department. "So there's a compassionate-care element to this."
Rhode Island's new regulations require doctors to first try the medications approved by the Food and Drug Administration — and consult with a child psychiatrist or pediatric neurologist — before approving children for medical marijuana.
Besides Rhode Island, at least six other states have added autism to the list debilitating conditions that can qualify patients – including children – for medical marijuana.