When we hear about cannabis cookies, or any type of edibles, we usually don’t think about a mother making them for her son. But one mom did–as a way to intervene her son’s life and make it more bearable–and she did.
In a piece for The Washington Post, novelist and writer Marie Myung-Ok Lee describes how her son would be consumed by anger, which she described as “violent rages,” and went on to explain how he would “bang his head, scream for hours and literally eat his shirts. At dinnertime, he threw his plates so forcefully that there was food stuck on the ceiling. He would punch and scratch himself and others, such that people would look at the red streaks on our bodies and ask us, gingerly, if we had cats.”
Because of this, and after exhausting other efforts, she thought to make cannabis cookies–and his behavior changed dramatically–enough that “he even learned to ride a bike — despite every expert telling us it would never happen.”
You may be thinking, Why does her son behave this way? Isn’t there another way to deal with it? The answers are complicated. But for anyone who thinks the Lee family didn’t try other forms of treatment, that couldn’t be more wrong:
“We tried all kinds of treatments, including applied behavior analysis (the supposed gold standard in autism therapy), occupational therapy, horse therapy and auditory integration. We even got him a session with Soma Mukhopadhyay, a celebrity in the autism world, whose Rapid Prompting Method has helped some people learn how to communicate by pointing instead of vocalizing. By the time he was 5, our son was in a special school and on a hypoallergenic diet. His gastroenterologist prescribed powerful anti-inflammatories, which left him vulnerable to violent episodes triggered by, say, hearing a dog bark 100 feet away, but stopped the worst head-banging: on our cast-iron tub.
Then, a couple of years later, the medication stopped working. And his aggressions exploded.”
After reading Michael Pollan’s “The Botany of Desire,” Lee felt like she had to try, as she was running out of options. So at age 9, her son became the youngest person with a medical-marijuana license in Rhode Island.
But that doesn’t mean the struggle stops for the Lee family. Cannabis, for instance, can’t just be bought at a pharmacy, so getting it at all is difficult, because it is still federally illegal to grow, possess or ingest it–and even legally-licensed medical-marijuana patients and providers can get in trouble. Lee put it best when she wrote, speaking of taking her son to the E.R.
“Would I be arrested? Would they call social services?”
That is a scary thought for any parent to have, but especially one who is doing best for their kid–even if the government doesn’t necessarily believe that.