By Rick Sallinger

DENVER (CBS4)– A bill has passed a Colorado House committee that would legalize the use of medical marijuana for those with autism. Families that are already able to use it for that purpose say they have seen amazing results.

The Walker family in Centennial is one example. With a quick spray,10-year-old Vincent takes his medical marijuana. The family obtains it from a foundation in Colorado Springs.

autism pot 6pkg frame 60 Families Coping With Autism Claim Medical Marijuana Is Lifesaver

(credit: CBS)

A video posted by the group Mothers Advocating Medical Marijuana for Autism shows a girl named Kara hitting her head repeatedly against a car seat. Once she is given the marijuana she appears much calmer.

autism pot 6pkg frame 679 Families Coping With Autism Claim Medical Marijuana Is Lifesaver

(credit: CBS)

Kreed wears a helmet for protection. And is much more relaxed after medication.

autism pot 6pkg frame 770 Families Coping With Autism Claim Medical Marijuana Is Lifesaver

(credit: CBS)

So too with Vincent, who legally qualifies for medical marijuana now in Colorado because of the seizures he suffers from epilepsy.

He was at the state Capitol with others on behalf of a bill that would make marijuana legal for all who have autism.

autism pot 6pkg frame 1130 Families Coping With Autism Claim Medical Marijuana Is Lifesaver

(credit: CBS)

Many now use it illegally. Vincent’s mother Michelle Walker told CBS4 investigator Rick Sallinger, “They’re in fear to even speak out because they are worried their children will be taken away from them.”

The Walkers moved to Colorado from Texas to take advantage of medical marijuana. Scott Walker is a big advocate of the push to legalize medical pot for autism.

autism pot 6pkg frame 950 Families Coping With Autism Claim Medical Marijuana Is Lifesaver

(credit: CBS)

“I would like to see other parents have access to bring this life saving medicine to their children,” he said.

autism pot 6pkg frame 2060 Families Coping With Autism Claim Medical Marijuana Is Lifesaver

(credit: CBS)

Vincent’s cannabis includes a small amount of the psychoactive compound THC. They say his seizures are gone.

Scott asked his son a question, “Vincent you want to go to school?”

The boy responded, “No, no more school on Saturday.”

Scott said Vincent was saying phrases he never said in Texas. Now they want others with autistic children to be able to give it a try.

autism pot 6pkg frame 1220 Families Coping With Autism Claim Medical Marijuana Is Lifesaver

(credit: CBS)

The executive director of the Colorado Department of Public Health, Dr. Larry Wolk, opposes the bill.

He issued a statement to CBS4, “There has been insufficient research on the use of medical marijuana as a treatment for autism, and as such there is no scientific evidence that it is a safe or effective treatment. Given what we know about the harmful effects of marijuana use on brain development, sanctioning the use of medical marijuana for autism and autism spectrum disorders could be particularly harmful to children. Finally, the constitution explicitly directs rule-making authority to the department and the Board of Health to determine what medical conditions are appropriate for medical marijuana treatment. Aren’t these decisions best made by physicians, health experts and scientists, rather than legislators who in this case may be doing more harm than good?

“As physicians, we vow to do no harm. We, therefore, could never give marijuana to children simply because they fall somewhere on the autism spectrum. It’s bad medicine. I am extremely disappointed by yesterday’s legislative committee vote.”

state capitol 3 Families Coping With Autism Claim Medical Marijuana Is Lifesaver

Copter4 flew over the state Capitol (credit: CBS)

The bill now moves on to the house floor for a vote. If it passes the next step will be the state Senate.

CBS4’s Rick Sallinger is a Peabody award winning reporter who has been with the station more than two decades doing hard news and investigative reporting. Follow him on Twitter @ricksallinger.

Comments (3)
  1. Scott Walker says:

    Dr. Larry Wolk said “As physicians, we vow to do no harm”, but he doesn’t address that the 2 FDA approved pharmaceutical drugs for autism (Risperdal and Abilify) have “Black Box Warnings” of side effects up to and including death. Is that how doctors, the pharmaceutical industry, and our government “do no harm”? Thank you, but no thank you…we’ll stick with medical cannabis.

  2. Paul Paul says:

    I’ve seen what cannabis medicines can do for a very active and aggressive 10yr old autistic boy. He used to scream like a demon till 2am every night. First night on cannabis oil, he quietly watched a movie and went to bed. He was not stoned or out of it like the Risperdal did to him. He takes THCA which is the raw form of THC. It does not get you stoned but its still medicinal and stops seizures and moderates behavior without negative effects. He also takes CBD. The 2 work best together for him. We know other families who medicate their kids with Risperdal by stop watch. It turns the child into a zombie for 2hrs and then they crash and burn if they don’t get the next pill in time and once they’re screaming its impossible to get them to take another pill.
    It’s not perfect, he’s still a big handful but its a huge improvement. Cannabis is a miracle for desperate families. Anyone who says otherwise needs to be kicked out of our way.

  3. Dr. Larry Wolk “Do no harm”, that’s a joke!!! The harm was done by a Pediatrician who gave our toddler the MMR vaccine. We had a near-typical toddler who was right on his developmental mile stones, then poof, he was gone, words, eye contact, everything. Only spent hours lining up his ho wheels cars. AUTISM and EPILEPSY. Along comes aggressive and violent behaviors, kindergarten they didn’t”t know what to do with him. Very sensitive to pharmaceuticals, life threatening. I could go on and on, but I’ll make it short!

    10 yrs. old self injury behavior, head banging, life threatening, after first dose, he never banged his head again. 12 yrs. old now. He has a quality of life, friends, sleep overs, parties, and he is learning, still behind in reading, but progressing.
    So, “Do no harm”, I would have to say that”s what we are doing.

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