Colorado approves cannabis for treating autism

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A bill introduced two months ago acknowledging cannabis for autism has found approval

This past February, lawmakers in Colorado began exploring the possibility of recognizing autism as a disease that qualifies for medical cannabis use. That bill has now been signed into law, officially and legally allowing thousands of parents to administer cannabis to their autistic children.

Autism is often triggered by sensory overload. It can lead to bouts of extreme aggression and self-harm and, while there have been medications available, cannabis is proving to be the most consistent in targeting autism symptoms.

A similar bill had made it through the House and Senate last year, only needing the signature of then-Governor John Hickenlooper to be made law. However, despite meeting with a group of parents with autistic children and the approval by the majority of the 100 members of the Congress, Hickenlooper thought he knew more than all of them combined and vetoed the bill.

Governor Jared Polis understood the situation better and, after Colorado’s Congress signed off on a new bill in the current session, he put his name to it, as well, to make it law. Now, pediatricians can prescribe marijuana to treat autism provided patients visit two doctors in order to receive approval from both.

According to Michelle Walker, the director of Mothers Advocating Medical Marijuana for Autism, her autistic son has seen “huge cognitive gains” thanks to cannabis and has been able to spend more time outdoors and in the community. She helped facilitate the campaign behind the bill, stating, “I’m just a mom who wanted to see some change because others deserve the same opportunity that my son had and my family had, because it changed our lives so significantly.”