(ABC News) Last year, 12-year-old Ryan Mendoza’s obsessive compulsive disorder became so bad, his mother said, that his triggers — the wind and spotting the number “6″ — would drive him to have crippling and violent meltdowns.
When Ryan Mendoza first was diagnosed with pediatric autoimmune neuropsychiatric disorder associated with streptococcal infections, or PANDAS, a rare auto-immune disorder that causes severe OCD, Judy Mendoza never imagined she would rely on medicinal marijuana for her son’s well-being.
Shortly after Ryan’s first dose of medical marijuana, the boy already was showing improvement, his mother wrote on her Web site, M-Squared, which stands for Mama to Mama. He had been refusing to go to the beach for more than a year, terrified a tsunami would hit, Mendoza wrote. But the day after he took the medicinal marijuana for the first time, the family went to the beach and, like any ordinary 12-year-old, Ryan allowed his family to bury him up to his face in sand, his mother wrote.
This story will be featured on tonight’s ABC news program, “20/20” Friday at 10 p.m. ET.
Mieko Hester-Perez is featured on the report. She is the mother we interviewed regarding her use of medical marijuana to treat her son’s severe autism. Dr. Lester Grinspoon also contributes; he’s the acknowledged pioneer of medical marijuana from Harvard who found success treating his son’s leukemia chemotherapy symptoms with cannabis, also a frequent guest on our show.
I have to chuckle when I read stories like these describing the use of this “controversial” medicine that hasn’t been subject to the “gold standard” double-blind placebo-controlled studies by the FDA. (You know, those studies that brought us such safe and effective drugs as thalidomide, fen phen, and Vioxx.) Cannabis has been used medicinally for over 5,000 years and never caused a single overdose death, yet it is a controversial scary treatment for kids compared to the Ritalin and other heavy pharmaceuticals with nasty side effects that we regularly push on these kids. Because, you know, the FDA has tested them.
Well, most of them. I mean, drugs get tested on adults regularly, but a large portion of them are never tested on children, even though doctors are regularly prescribing them to children. But don’t take my word for it; ask the FDA:
[M]ost marketed products that are mostly used in adults have not been studied in children—even though they may be used by doctors to treat children.
There has been improvement in this area in regard to prescription drugs. As of 2008, an estimated 50 to 60 percent of prescription drugs used to treat children have been studied in some part of the pediatric population.
Or if you’re a glass-half-empty reader, you might interpret that as “we don’t really know what the hell these drugs will do to children 40 to 50 percent of the time.” But God forbid we give those kids a cannabis cookie!