Since Kolt has been using cannabis to manage his autism we’ve all seen vast improvements in many areas; behavior, social, motor skills, and cognitive performance just to name a few. When I met Kolt in the Spring of 2015 he didn’t talk (maybe a word here and there his mom, Jamie, could understand, but nothing that is considered speech), he ate with his hands, and would get agitated and upset easily. Once Kolt started using cannabis regularly we noticed big changes quickly.

Sometime in June of 2015 I was visiting Kolt and Jamie and I heard Kolt running through the house saying things like “A is for apple". It was hard to understand at first but the more I listened, the clearer his words became to me. Only three weeks after that he was reading simple words in the subtitles on the music channel on TV. He showed us that he’s known all along what letters were and the sounds they make, he was just never able to express them to us.

Kolt would use food as a pacifier.  As long as he was eating what he liked he was happy and not having a meltdown. The problem was his favorite things were chicken nuggets, potato chips, Kool-Aid, and other things that really aren’t good for anyone. This lead to Kolt being severely overweight when I met him at age 7. Over time of using cannabis we’ve been able to introduce healthy options to Kolt and have him accept them. Chicken nuggets, potato chips, and Kool-Aid are a thing of the past and have been replaced with veggies, fruits, clean meats, and water. Not only did Kolt lose weight, but his behavior settled down as well.

Meltdowns are challenging for every autistic parent. Most often Kolt has a meltdown when we don’t understand what he wants or needs, he’s in some sort of pain or discomfort he can’t explain, or his mind has formed such a fixed pattern that it has a hard time processing anything beside that pattern. Cannabis can quickly and effectively change this mode of thinking. Kolt is able to cope with trying to help us understand him. He’s also receptive to a new pattern and is more willing to explore options outside of that pattern. His meltdowns can be diverted almost instantly.

I’ve mentioned three topics but all of them have a very similar fundamental that is being managed; patience and accepting new things. Patience to take the time to try to communicate with us, learn and practice how to communicate effectively, and accept that we may not always understand. Patience to take the time to try new foods and the acceptance of new foods that are liked. Patience when being told their pattern is going to happen differently today and accepting the new options.

Autism has a powerful tool built within itself, patterns. When cannabis is introduced the picture show slows down enough for them to concentrate on one picture at a time. We can then introduce new, healthy pictures into the slide show. With some luck and cannabis, these new slides will eventually be accepted into the permanent picture show, thus becoming part of a new pattern. Cannabis doesn’t “cure” autism. It’s a tool that assists traditional therapies and can improve their performance.

Dan Brandt
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