Parents' emotional pleas grant CBD use for autism treatment

Published: Dec. 15, 2018 at 4:35 PM CST
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The Iowa Board of Medicine voted on Friday to add autism to the list of medical conditions that can be treated with cannabidiol thanks in part to a dedicated Iowa mother.

Lindsay Gaunt said she filed a petition to get autism added to the list of debilitating diseases eligible to be treated with medical marijuana in Iowa to give her 6-year-old daughter, Obreigh, a better life.

Gaunt said Obreigh is nonverbal and cannot tell her parents how she's feeling. Instead, she shows them.

"It's heartbreaking," said Gaunt. "Especially when they're nonverbal and they can't tell you what's wrong."

Gaunt said that when Obreigh is upset, she bangs her head, cries or worse when she takes her medication.

"She stuck all four fingers down her throat," Gaunt said. "She made herself throw up. I just lost it as a parent and I thought, 'I cannot do this to my kid and I can't be the only one who's going through this.'"

The Autism Research Institute says that CBD oil alleviates the symptoms such as anxiety and aggression in children with autism.

Mary Roberts, an Iowa mother of two children with autism, said making CBD oil available could change her family's lives.

"To have the opportunity to have this medication as an option is something that would be absolutely fantastic for families like mine," Roberts said.

In the end, the board approved an amendment that will make patients with a certain form of severe autism, as well as ulcerative colitis, eligible for CBD oil usage.

When the board announced its decision, Gaunt said she couldn't help but cry tears of joy.

"I would do anything for my kids, and I'm hoping to bring this to Iowa not only for Obreigh but for many families," Gaunt said.

A 60- to 90-day rule-making process will now start to get the conditions onto the list of debilitating conditions.

At the meeting, the Cannabidiol Board also brought forward a draft rule to add inhaled forms, like vaporizing, to approved methods of taking medical cannabis in Iowa.

A vote of 5-3 means it will move forward to the next step toward becoming legal.