I came across this Good Morning America segment and had some comments as an autistic person who’s high-functioning because I’m high, functioning.
The first thing that strikes me is how much emphasis they put on the word “controversial.” The word has a dictionary definition, but it means “scary and bad” the way it’s being used here. Why is it shocking that cannabis is good for someone that needs to chill and eat more? It’s only shocking if you already think that weed is bad, which means you’ll pretty much accept anything authority tells you. The show needs to normalize that attitude.
She describes her son as “hostile and dangerous.” What if he’s been driven crazy by some kind of incessant noise? What if he’s acting that we because he’s starving?
He supposedly “can’t communicate”, but people have no problem identifying his moods and how he seems to be doing.
Then comes the expert who laments the fact that “he’s intoxicated, he’s stoned.” He’s in a state of increased activation of CB1 and CB2 receptors. You can call that “stoned,” but the idea of all psychiatric drugs is that you eat chemicals to put you in an altered state. Your behavior flows from your state. If you’re in a better state, you act better.
“It means he’s under the influence of a drug and may have an addiction.” The mom explains that he eats 2-3 brownies each week.
I’d be real curious to know what all 13 of the drugs he was on were. Assuming the pill bottles in the picture are his, the one whose label you can make out is Abilify, or aripiprazole. Wikipedia excerpts:
Side effects include neuroleptic malignant syndrome, a movement disorder known as tardive dyskinesia, and high blood sugar in those with diabetes. In the elderly there is an increased risk of death. It is thus not recommended for use in those with psychosis due to dementia. It is pregnancy category C in the United States and category C in Australia, meaning there is possible evidence of harm to the fetus. It is not recommended for women who are breastfeeding. It is unclear whether it is safe or effective in people less than 18 years old.
It is a partial dopamine agonist. Aripiprazole was developed by Otsuka in Japan. In the United States, Otsuka America markets it jointly with Bristol-Myers Squibb. From April 2013 to March 2014, sales of Abilify amounted to almost $6.9 billion.
Specific to autism:
Short-term data (8 weeks) shows reduced irritability, hyperactivity, inappropriate speech, and stereotypy, but no change in lethargic behaviours. Adverse effects include weight gain, sleepiness, drooling and tremors. It is suggested that children and adolescents need to be monitored regularly while taking this medication, to evaluate if this treatment option is still effective after long-term use and note if side effects are worsening. Further studies are needed to understand if this drug is helpful for children after long term use.
Objectively speaking and inarguably, prescribing an antipsychotic drug to a 4th grader for “irritability” is more alarming than some pot brownies. It just is.
There’s a reason they’re not naming the medications the kid is taking. It would encourage people to make these kinds of comparisons. It would make the expert lady seem untrustworthy and dangerous to children, which she is.
“It can cause psychosis, may lead to schizophrenia.” I don’t really care if cannabis increases your psychosis risk from probably-not to probably-not.
You won’t see it without being an autism expert, but you can see that she’s definitely just repeating generic talking points independent of context and has no idea about cannabis and autism in particular.
There’s a theory that autism and schizophrenia are diametric opposites in certain features. So actually, if cannabis makes you more schizotypal, that’s a good thing if you’re autistic. We know this.
Empirical findings suggest an overlap between autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and schizophrenia spectrum disorders (SSD). Co-occurring autistic and positive schizotypal traits may have a moderating effect on behaviour and cognition. This study attempted to examine the co-occurrence rate of autistic and schizotypal traits in otherwise healthy college students and to test the moderating effect of co-occurring autistic and schizotypal traits on executive function, emotion processing and social function. Eight hundred and sixty-four participants took part in the present study. The results showed that the co-occurrence rate of autistic and schizotypal trait was 3.4% at baseline and 2.4% at one-year follow-up. The interaction between autistic traits and schizotypal traits was associated with better executive functioning and social functioning but poorer emotional expression.
This makes perfect sense, if you have the idea that autism is under-mentalization and psychosis is over-mentalization.
So the expert lady granted the scientific rationale for using cannabis for autism in the first place, while feeilng smug and not realizing she’s done so. Talking head fail, middle America is just going to hear “blah blah blah be afraid” and follow instructions.
Visually, they present a black “bad mother” sitting next to her defense attorney. It’s forbidden to think about why, with the evidence we’ve seen, the state has a problem with this that she’d need to defend herself about.
“The marijuana has balanced my son.” This is vague, but it’s the essence of the situation, apparent from observation. If your acts one way with weed, and another way without weed, and you control the weed and notice his reactions, you’re doing an experiment. A double-blind placebo controlled study is a sophisticated elaboration of that basic idea. Nonscientists aren’t completely unable to understand causality in the universe.
The public can be trusted not to understand where the money for medical research comes from and how it’s distributed. It’s a fact that, for many years, the only weed the government allowed people to use in studies was deliberately terrible compared to a random eighth from your friend. A lot of cannabis research is done outside the United States because the government has a conflict of interest.
Dianne Sawyer actually goes there and accuses the dispensary people of exploiting the sick and desperate. OK, seriously WTF?
This was their election coverage, speaking of someone who’s out to hurt the disabled:
“The political outsider billionaire businessman reality TV star…promising to heal and unite America.”
“Her supporters: emotional.”
As the world gets more and more fucked up under Trump, we should remember that Good Morning America did this on purpose. Historians will look back and say, “Wow, America’s fascism got so bad they even hated making life easier for disabled children.”