Groups seek expansion of medical marijuana use for autism

DES MOINES — A group of family members and supporters of people with autism plans on filing a proposal with the state’s cannabis board this week calling for access to medical marijuana for severe autism patients of all ages. The state is currently considering allowing medical marijuana treatments for some children with autism, if they have self-injuring or aggressive behaviors.

Mary Roberts is the mother of two adult children with severe autism and says they should have the option of cannabis treatment, regardless of their age. “Autism is a lifelong condition and we need to have access for patients who qualify from childhood through adulthood,” Roberts says.

She says they deserve more treatment options. “My kids for over 20 years have been on cocktails of benzodiazepines and anti-psychotics and often prescribed meds simply to counteract the side effects of other medications,” Roberts explains. “And it really becomes pretty complex and potentially compromising to their well-being.”

The state Board of Medicine is reviewing public comments on the proposal for children. They’re expected to take up that plan next month. Roberts and a group of families and advocates, plans to file their proposal for adults later this week. Sales of medical marijuana grown and produced in the state began in December.