Pubdate: Wed, 02 May 2018
Source: Houston Chronicle (TX)
Copyright: 2018 Houston Chronicle Publishing Company Division
Author: Ileana Najarro


"He was beautiful," said his mother, Bonnie. "He was perfect."

But when Micah turned 3, he began lining up his toy cars in a row and
just staring at them. His limited vocabulary became more limited. He
forgot how to go potty.

Jensen, 47, quit her job as an executive assistant to take care of and
homeschool him.

Early one morning, she felt something shudder in her bed. Beside her,
Micah trembled uncontrollably and she saw his skin turn a deep shade
of blue and purple. He gasped for air.

It's unclear how long Micah's first epileptic seizure lasted. It's
also unclear whether he had been having small, barely noticeable
seizures before then, when he'd stare off to the side and his eyes or
hands twitched.

After the epilepsy diagnosis, he used fewer words. He slapped the back
of one hand against the palm of the other more often, a go-to sensory
stimulation related to his autism. He became more easily agitated,
then more violent, especially at hearing certain words.

"It's not a response he can control," Jensen said.

Before 2016, she counted herself among the skeptics of medical
cannabis. Was it really a potent treatment for severe conditions? Or a
means for potheads to get a legal high?

Late-night internet searches led her to stories of patients in other
states, where medical cannabis was approved for epilepsy, autism,
multiple sclerosis, cancer, post-traumatic stress disorder and

Some online posts claimed cannabis stopped epileptic seizures
altogether. She found research documents from abroad, explaining how
the drug could even improve language abilities among autism patients.
It all pointed to one conclusion:

Micah had to try medical cannabis.

There was just one problem. He lived in Texas.

A legalized form of medical cannabis went on sale in Texas this
spring, but it remains out of reach for perhaps tens of thousands of
patients who want to give it a try.
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