By: Rachel Anders & Scott Whytsell
Imagine being a mother and seeing your child suffer and waste away due to a combination of illness and pharmaceutical meds, and not knowing what to do next. That was the case for Mieko Perez, a single mother of three, with her middle child, Joey, who has suffered from autism since he was an infant. After a ton of research and deliberation, she found that medical cannabis could stimulate her childâ€™s appetite. Her decision saved his life! Joey has been thriving and has reduced his 13 prescriptions down to 2 Â½. Yet, Mieko has had some backlash from some in the medical field, criticizing her decision. We sat down for an interview with Mieko to get her story.
Thank you, Mieko, for sitting down with us and sharing your experience. We know you are a very busy lady!
You are very welcome. I did all of this to help my son, Joey. After seeing his success, I knew there was a need for a foundation like The Unconventional Foundation for Autism to educate and help families who have the same struggles caring for a special needs child, and helping them thrive. This is my passion and Iâ€™ll rest when Iâ€™m dead, there are parents who need my help. It was hard for me to go to bed at night knowing there were other parents and families out there not knowing what to do to sustain a better quality of life for their children.
â€“She vowed the day after doing the Good Morning America interview in 2009 that she would personally respond to emails. Mieko remembers the dark days and crying about her son with no help in sight and no handbook to guide her through this journey that has now made history with their fight in the medical marijuana movement.
Why did you decide to go the medical marijuana route with Joey?
I researched that medical marijuana stimulated oneâ€™s appetite; so initially, that was the only reason we decided to try medical marijuana â€“ to extinguish his wasting from the harsh pharmaceutical meds. The positive effects of medical marijuana were evident the very first afternoon he had his first dose.Â Medical marijuana gave him a personality! He was unresponsive, lethargic, and unable to eat. Now his sensory issues have reduced. Joey eats, laughs, and smiles. Heâ€™s learning to be social and talkative, he loves music (Snoop Dogg is his favorite artist), and he enjoys aqua therapy. He now has a relationship with his brother and sister and I that was previously void. His eyes have a glow that wasnâ€™t there before. Science is the key to unlocking this misunderstood diagnosis. Itâ€™s not a miracle, itâ€™s science. In the last two years, I strongly believe cannabis has opened and repaired receptors that were closed and damaged.
Wow, thatâ€™s great! This really shows the importance of medical marijuana and the importance of edibles, drinks, smoothies, and lotions for younger patients.
YES! Those are appropriate ways to use medical marijuana for sick children.
Well, itâ€™s clear you made the right decision for Joey. What do you want to emphasize to any voice of opposition?
Walk a day in the shoes of a parent with a special needs child! Every day is a struggle and some days are harder than others.
â€“Mieko has learned early on that as the diagnosis of autism has been on the rise, so has the medical educational curve.Â She strongly believes that if she hadnâ€™t intervened with her own research, traditional doctors would have placed Joey in an early grave.
I know Iâ€™m doing the right thing for Joey. What Iâ€™m frustrated about is the stigma of medical marijuana and how its benefits are being kept secret and criminalized. Sick patients should have their medicine and therapy covered by insurance, but unfortunately, nontraditional therapies are not covered, such as aqua or music therapy. We need medical marijuana rescheduled and regulated like regular prescribed medicine. The government needs to declassify medical marijuana from a Schedule I narcotic, and we need to regulate and structure collectives. There needs to be safe access for patients!
We both agree you are the Mae Nutt of our time to the medical marijuana movement. The strength you women had in taking care of your sons is commendable!
Iâ€™m just Joeyâ€™s mom trying to help my son and help parents across the country who are dealing with the autism factor to make an informed decision on this safe and effective treatment.
What can others do to help?
The mission of UF4A.ORG is to raise awareness and support for families afflicted with this mysterious and misunderstood condition of autism. By donating money, time or resources to UF4A.ORG, you are helping to raise funds for cannabis based medical research and clinical trials. Contributions directly support the advancement of our mission. We are not concerned with how autism got here; UF4A.ORG is more concerned with the quality of life of our children.
Mieko, it has been a pleasure chatting with you, and thank you so much for all you do in the medical marijuana community. We also LOVE our new Chronic Fatigue shirts (Every $25.00 you spend, you get a Chronic Fatigue â€“ UF4A.ORG shirt). Please share withÂ NUG readers the people and companies who have supported you.
Dr. Grinspoon, Michael Lerner, Dr. Hedrick, Jeremy Joseph Esq., Attorney Ted Cromwell, Jorge Cervantes, Kyle Kushman, Dr. Melamede with Cannabis Science Inc., Buds and Roses Collective, James Gierach L.E.A.P., Judge Jim Grey, Medicalmarijuana411.com, ajnag.com, Don Duncan & Steph Sherer with ASA, DNA Genetics Amsterdam, Steep Hill Labs, The Human Solution, Heaven Scent Organics.com, Chronic Fatigue.com, my Dad â€“ Bobby Hester, and Bhang Chocolate.com in Northern California.