Mother of child with autism started using cannabis to help improve her autistic son’s appetite and noticed more improved eye contact and less anxiety

Excerpt from article: The Story of Joey and Mieko Hester-Perez

Mieko Hester-Perez founded the Unconventional Foundation for Autism after her own struggles as a parent. Her son, Joey, was diagnosed with a severe form of Autism at 16 months old.

During an interview, Mieko explained that it has been a tough road since Joey’s diagnosis. “It was a lot of trial and error, but you get through it the best way you can,” she said.

Joey was prescribed as many as 13 pharmaceutical drugs at one point – all but two of them were experimental. After years of exposure to these medications, Joey – 10 at the time – weighed as little as 46 lbs in 2009. He was diagnosed with malnutrition and anorexia. “They were killing him,” she exclaimed.

Further, Mieko explained that Joey expressed self-injurious behaviors, in addition to being a danger to those around him in the past.  After doing some research and consulting with experts, Mieko decided to see if Joey would benefit from medical marijuana. She baked a few batches of gluten-free cannabis infused edibles for him and witnessed a notable improvement in a matter of weeks.

Joey gained 15 lbs over the course of a few months and soon began to make eye contact on a much more consistent basis. Also, Mieko noted that medical cannabis helped stimulate Joey’s appetite, replenishing nutrients that he hadn’t received for 8 years. Because of this, he started to grow. Mieko believes that medical marijuana saved her son’s life.

Mieko’s experience with cannabis led her to speak with Diane Sawyer on Good Morning America in 2009. She launched the Unconventional Foundation for Autism website on the same day that her interview aired…

Mieko explained that Joey’s strain helps with his eye coordination and anxiety, among other symptoms. More importantly, it seems to have brought out his personality. Of course, nothing is concrete in Autism Spectrum and the results are likely to vary from case to case.

Nonetheless, Mieko says she will only suggest veganic-grown cannabis for children, regardless of the strain. She feels that it is easier on their digestive and inflammatory systems…

Joey, now 14, has continued on his personal journey as well. He is currently recovering from surgery, but Mieko says that he is making progress. Overall, she calls Joey a happy, healthy kid.  “He is probably the only advocate who has never said a word,” Mieko said. She explained that small victories seem sweeter when raising a child with special needs.

“We don’t expect as much, but when he is able to give you a high five… that’s special,” she said.