A Texas dad says he’ll face prison if need be, but his daughter must have her cannabis for autism.
Mark Zartler, is a brave man, and the loving father of Kara Zartler, one of twins born at 26 weeks. She suffers from cerebral palsy and severe autism. Since the age of four Kara has had fits in which she inflicts severe self-harm. It is a terrible sight even for those who don’t know Kara, and it must be extremely difficult for a loving parent to watch.
The Washington Post spoke to the Zartler family about Kara, and how they cope with her frightening fits that have lasted for as long as 12 hours at a time. Her school would even put her in a straight jacket, but she would get out. Once, she broke her own nose.
To keep her safe, Mark and his wife would restrain her in a bearhug, taking half hour turns, being bitten and scratched. He says that after a while, you don’t feel it anymore.
Kara was put on an antipsychotic drug, Risperidone. But under its influence, she stopped making eye contact and lay in bed most of the time. It didn’t stop the fits, but she had “good days” when she wouldn’t harm herself.
Kara loves the beach, but to drive her there is a risk. She might have a fit in the car, and there is no way of restraining her. Mark decided to try cannabis on her for the first time so that his girl could enjoy a day by the seaside. He gave her a little bit of a cannabis cookie a friend had baked. It was a great success! She went all the way and enjoyed her outing without a fit.
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Making cannabis oil
Mark learned how to extract oil from cannabis and began to bake cookies. Slowly, over the next few years, he and his wife Christy, a pediatric nurse, introduced the “medicine” into Kara’s regime. Eventually, they started using a vaporizer, which allows for a faster effect.
Only cannabis can stop a fit once it started
Kara is 17 now, and once weaned off the antipsychotic drug she was on, she started making huge developmental strides. She can go to the bathroom alone; she makes eye contact again. Most importantly, there is no other medicine that has been able to stop a fit.
Teams of doctors have treated Kara. Mark and Christy give her cannabis as seldom as possible, but there are times when they use it as a last resort. For instance, after an hour of keeping her restrained in a bear hug, they would use the vaporizer.
Zartler at first thought he was the only parent on the planet who would medicate his autistic child with cannabis. However, he discovered that there are many parents who do the same thing. Marie Myung-Ok Lee wrote about her autistic son’s rage attacks and how cannabis cookies changed his life. These parents are not the only ones who have discovered that cannabis for autism makes a positive difference. But parents like Mark and Christy face incarceration in their home state of Texas if they’re caught.
Mark takes a risk: people have to KNOW about cannabis for autism
The Zartler family has no option. They can’t move to another state, as they have older family members to take care of. Mark decided to go public, even though it is a huge risk. Perhaps the police will knock on his door soon, but Mark wants the public and decision-makers to see what cannabis can do for Kara. He hopes that his disclosures will bring about change, paving the way for cannabis as autism medication.
Cannabis for autism has helped to calm self-harm fits, and one look at Mark’s video shows how effective it can be. Let’s hope Mark’s brave move has its intended effect.