Can Marijuana treat Autism?
The family tried every kind of pharmaceutical medication to treat the child's condition but nothing worked.
The meds made him gain over 20 lbs and his violent episodes began escalating even more. A year ago the family started giving him a small amount of hash each morning and now the child is calm and non-violent yet more functional.
California's proposition 215 - the "compassionate use act" - was passed in California a decade ago, allowing seriously ill patients with a doctor's recommendation to use marijuana legally.
But what about for children? We found one family with a truly remarkable tale to tell.
From age two until eight, Sam's disorder made him violent and aggressive. His parents, Steve and Angela, were truly living a nightmare.
"He got to the point where he was hurting other children, when he was in school, or in public places -- we'd be in line at the store, and he'd just bolt and hit another child in the face without any warning at all," says his mother. "One time he pulled down a TV, he knocked over furniture, I had to put him in a hold for a whole hour, his body was just spasming, I lay there crying, holding him."
"He'd be looking for something to break. He had to let out this aggressiveness, so he'd just walk around looking to break/smash something, it was horrible."
Sam's parents worked with expert doctors, who recommended a succession of conventional prescription medications - like Risperdal and a host of others. But Sam gained 20 pounds and became even harder to handle.
"His behavior was getting worse -- and we were scared -- he was getting bigger, stronger, now that he was 20 pounds heavier from Risperdal."
"It was the saddest thing - the child we'd grown to love was gone. When you talked to him, looked at him, he'd just disappeared.
Finally, at their wit's end - and faced with the very real prospect of needing to institutionalize their son --sam's parents decided to try something unconventional and controversial. last year they began treating Sam with medical marijuana.
"If you think about it, it's the perfect drug for that kind of behavior, very calming."
Steve and Angela got a recommendation from a medical cannabis doctor. They told Sam's pediatrician about their plan and Steve grew Sam's new medicine in their backyard.
Steve took out his tomato plants, to grow and then harvest the cannabis.
From the marijuana flowers he could make a concentrated form - what people refer to as 'hash.'
Steve softens the cannabis with heat, then takes what appears to be just a speck of pot - Sam's 'dose' for the day. And from the very start, the cannabis was a godsend for Sam's family.
"The first time we did it, we wanted to see if it would work at all - it was an amazing experience, I'll never forget it, as we watched what happened, it was like He's back!" says Sam's dad. "It was like all this anguish, pent-up rage and aggressiveness went away -- it just calmed him down."
Within roughly 20 minutes, the effects were clear. where earlier sam had been animated and antsy, after eating his speck of hash sam became calm, relaxed, and social.
"As a mother, what do you say to those who'd say, you're getting your son stoned every day? ... At first I was very concerned - but the more I share the story with friends, co-workers, the more comfortable I am. It saved our lives, and I think about what it's done for our son."
Could Sam's story help others? Respected LA-area pediatrician Christopher Tolcher says we don't know enough about cannabis for kids.
"I think for all the parents out there whose children may have autism, I think the message here is that this is intriguing information that needs more research before we can confidently say that marijuana is a safe and effective treatment for autism complications,
But for this Calfornia family, medical marijuana has literally been an answer to their prayers and a homecoming for their son.
"It was a medication with the result we'd been hoping for for so long. (PAN) And he was happy again, smiling, laughing -- the boy we'd lost for so long, who we wondered if we'd ever see again."
"It just feels like I have more control to help my son -- we don't depend on doctors, who may have the best intentions, but they don't know what Sam needs... I wanna do what's best for my son. And I'll do whatever I can for him."
One important note: Sam's parents tell us they've followed the letter of the law regarding his medication. They've grown only the amount of marijuana that prop 215 allows. The medication is for Sam and no one else.
Apr 4, 2010
Julie Hayden, reporterKDVR Denver 12:27 PM MST, December 10, 2009
Ganja Gourmet becomes first marijuana restaurant to open
Restaurant operators claim it's first of its kind anywhere
When voters legalized medical marijuana in Colorado in 2000, it's not certain if this is exactly what they had in mind.
Ganja Gourmet claims to be the first of it's kind, serving up more than just brownies. Dishes include lasagna, gourmet pizza, jambalaya, paella, even chocolate mousse and cheesecakes.
And it's legal.
"Do you have your medical marijuana card, that's the first thing we would ask," said Steve Horowitz of Ganja Gourmet.
That card gets you into Ganja Gourmet. You have to have it to belly up to the "bud" bar, as in marijuana bud. "We'd like them to come sit at the bar and give us their order, bring the food to them," Horowitz said.
Evan is the pastry chef. "When I had my back surgery in 2001 when it (medical marijuana) was offered up to me as an option smoking it wasn't an option so I figured I'd cook with it."
The menu is extensive. "Lasagnas, hummus, and pizzas. But we also serve deserts like cheesecakes and a New York treat we call Almond Horns which are fantastic."
The food laced with marijuana isn't cheap. A brownie is $10. A dozen lemon meringue tartlets cost $120.
Horowitz says he's owned the building at 18th and Broadway that houses Ganja Gourmet for more than 12 years, He used to make those little magnets that real estate agents give out in the building. But that business tanked with the real estate market.
He decided to look into opening a medical marijuana dispensary. "What I discovered they all ran good businesses but they were about getting the patients in, selling the medicine, and getting them out."
With live music, couches, and the bud bar, Horowitz hopes Ganja Gourmet fills a niche. "There were very few places that had a place to chill and meet people and none of them had an emphasis on food."
Medical marijuana patient Don Armstrong thinks the business is a good idea. "I only get out to go to the grocery store or the VA (veterans administration hospital) and this is an opportunity for me to get out and socialize more."
Julie Hayden, reporterKDVR Denver
12:27 PM MST, December 10, 2009
Call anytime: 917-974-6367
Knockin' on heaven's door: Fifty years into Dylan's career, Seth Rogovoy's new book explores his Jewish influences.
With God On His Side
by Jonathan Mark
hweek.com/ viewArticle/ c37_a17540/ News/National. html
Bob Dylan showed up in Greenwich Village in 1960 dissembling tall tales of who he was, riding in as a mystic, mythic, out of the American West, one of Woody's children, raised by Bessie Smith or Mother Goose, now you see him, now you don't, born in a dustbowl or on the Burlington Northern, a never-ending kaleidoscope of biographical masquerade.
And yet, no great American singer-songwriter was such a child of the Jewish 20th century. He may have been Woody's child, but he was Anne Frank's ornery brother who didn't think people were good at heart: "You've got a lot of nerve, to say you are my friend." He came out of the chute singing "Talkin' Hava Negilah Blues" (introduced by Dylan as
"a foreign song I learned in Utah"), making a half-dozen song and poem references to Hitler or the Holocaust, singing, "We forgave the Germans ... though they murdered six million in the ovens," somehow becoming a star in the process.
This was not the stuff of Tin Pan Alley, let alone Top 40; Holocaust talk was hardly heard in public, let alone sold on the Columbia Records label.
Dylan later studied art with Sholom Aleichem's son, Norman Raeben, whom Dylan credits with influencing his poetry. Dylan named his music publishing company, "Ram's Horn Music," and said, "I am a Jew. It touches my poetry, my life, in ways I can't describe." And yet Dylan's Jewishness has rarely, if ever, been written about at length.
Even in his memoir "Chronicles Volume 1" (the name of a book in the Hebrew Bible), Dylan devotes several pages to how he was influenced by Woody Guthrie and Robert Johnson, but almost nothing about how his poetry and images were influenced by Judaism and Jewish texts. Over time, however, he admits that the political, countercultural interpretations of his lyrics bothered him: "Whatever the counterculture was, I'd seen enough of it. I was sick of the way my lyrics had been extrapolated, their meanings subverted into polemics and that I had been anointed as the Big Bubba of Rebellion, High Priest of Protest. ... I'd have to send out deviating signals ... create some different impressions. ... I went to Jerusalem, got myself photographed at the Western Wall wearing a skullcap. The image was transmitted worldwide instantly and quickly all the great rags changed me overnight into a Zionist. This helped a little."
And that's just about all he'd say. Feeling protective, wounded, Dylan then retreats, to write least about what he loves most, almost nothing about his children, his parents, his religion and religious inspirations.
Now, almost 50 years into Dylan's career, someone finally explores the last of these.
Now, almost 50 years into Dylan's career, it finally has, in Seth Rogovoy's fascinating new book, "Bob Dylan: Prophet, Mystic, Poet" (Scribner). Rogovoy, author of "The Essential Klezmer," documents Dylan's Jewish inspirations, lyrics directly echoing Isaiah ("All Along the Watchtower")
; Leviticus ("I Pity the Poor Immigrant"); the Shabbat table ("Forever Young" is based on the Friday night blessing given to children); to "New Morning," based on the daily service; "Time Out of Mind" (the Yom Kippur service); to the Talmud ("Idiot Wind" is based on an extended riff by Resh Lakish on sin and "ruach shtuss," ruach meaning both wind and breathing, "Idiot wind, it's a wonder that you still know how to breathe").
Other writers have picked up on Dylan's Jewish influences before, in smaller pieces. Allen Ginsberg described Dylan's vocal technique on "One More Cup of Coffee," as a "voice lifts in Hebraic cantillation never before heard in U.S. song," and, indeed, it does sound like Dylan is layning Torah.
When Ronnie Gilbert of The Weavers once introduced him at a folk festival, "And here he is ... take him, you know him, he's yours," Dylan recoiled, he wrote in his memoir, "What a crazy thing to say. As far as I knew, I didn't belong to anybody, then or now. ... I had very little in common with and knew even less about a generation that I was supposed to be the voice of. I'd left my hometown only ten years earlier..."
In that hometown, Hibbing, Minn., his parents kept a kosher home; his mother was president of the local Hadassah; his father was president of the local B'nai Brith; his great-grandfather (who didn't die until Dylan was 20) regularly put on tefillin; Dylan lived in the Jewish fraternity house at the University of Minnesota, and spent summers in Camp Herzl, a religious Zionist camp, just two years before he was singing in New York.
When Dylan lived in upstate Woodstock, his mother said he always kept a Bible on a shtender, the Yiddish word for a personal bookstand, commonplace in old shuls, used for holding a siddur and Bible.
Those "hometown" years left Dylan with several lifelong Orthodox friends, who sometimes went on tour with him, and a Jewish mother who helped bring him back to his roots after a two-album detour into Christianity 30 years ago. Dylan's Christian interest was seemingly driven by a romantic relationship with one of his African-American Christian back-up singers, after Dylan divorced the Jewish wife with whom he raised five children, several of whom were given Israeli bar mitzvahs, with one daughter known to be Orthodox as an adult.
As Rogovoy tells it, Dylan's mother persuaded him "to visit his boyhood friend, Howard Rutman," a dentist, "under the guise of his needing to get his teeth cleaned. As an old friend from Camp Herzl days ... Rutman was one of the few people in the world able to confront Dylan directly. ... While examining Dylan's mouth he supposedly pointed to a cross Dylan was wearing around his neck, and asked him, `Bob, what's up with this? .... Bob, you're Jewish."
Rutman, writes Rogovoy, who is Orthodox, "invited Dylan to his house for dinner. Dylan brought his girlfriend at the time and wound up incredibly embarrassed by the manner in which she carried on about Jesus to Rutman and his wife, who were having no truck with such talk."
Dylan's Christian period clearly ended with "Infidels," without question the most right-wing Jewish album ever made by a popular singer. It was an album, writes Rogovoy, that had The Village Voice calling Dylan "the William F. Buckley of rock and roll."
Dylan, himself, wrote in "Chronicles,
" "My favorite politician was Arizona Senator Barry Goldwater, who reminded me of Tom Mix, and there wasn't any way to explain that to anybody."
Rogovoy calls the centerpiece of "Infidels," a tune called "Neighborhood Bully," a "drippingly sarcastic overview of Jewish history and persecution through the lens of contemporary Zionism, a strongly nationalistic identification with the Jewish peoplehood. The song is saying that Judaism and Jewish nationalism are one and the same, which is a very sophisticated point of view."
As Dylan sings of Israel: "Well, he knocked out a lynch mob, he was criticized/ Old women condemned him, said he should apologize/ Then he destroyed a bomb factory, nobody was glad/ The bombs were meant for him, he was supposed to feel bad/ Neighborhood bully."
Elsewhere on that album, he took a further swipe at Israel's critics: "You know that sometimes Satan comes as a man of peace."
For quite some time, writes Rogovoy, the lead guitarists in his road band would introduce "All Along The Watchtower" with "a snippet" of the theme from the movie "Exodus," thereby further associating a Dylan song "with contemporary Jewish nationalism.
Dylan has appeared on Chabad telethons, calling Chabad "my favorite organization in the whole world." He may have changed his name from Zimmerman to Dylan, but he never changed his Jewish name — Shabtai Zisel Ben-Avraham — with which he gets called to the Torah in Chabad shuls.
Not all of Rogovoy's claims are completely convincing. He has Dylan's "Tombstone Blues," referring to Samson and the jawbone, as a "freewheeling riff on Judges 15," without mentioning that "Samson and Delilah," was already a classic song by Reverend Gary Davis, and went all the way back to "If I Had My Way (I Would Tear This Old Building Down)" by Blind Willie Johnson in the 1920s. One doesn't have to be Jewish to influenced by the Hebrew Bible.
Nevertheless, Rogovoy includes this gem: Dylan gives a shout-out in "Tombstone Blues" to the 1949 movie "Samson and Delilah" that was based on the 1930 novel, "Judge And Fool," also known as "Samson The Nazarite"; it was written by Zionist leader Vladimir Jabotinsky, founder of the Irgun, and the political mentor to Menachem Begin, and what is now Likud, led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
" notes Rogovoy, "also co-wrote the treatment that was eventually turned into the film script."
Only a story about Dylan can get Jabotinsky together with Blind Willie Johnson, and that says it all.