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Texas Mom Fights For Access To Medical Marijuana To Treat Autism

FORT WORTH (CBS 11) — A Texas mom is fighting to give parents of autistic children the right to utilize medical marijuana as a treatment for their kids. It's just one of the issues we're hearing from marijuana advocates in town for the Southwest Cannabis Conference.

Thalia Michelle isn't just trying to change Texas law; she's helping mothers across the country try to change laws in their states with the hope of giving parents more options to treat their children.

Advocates at the Southwest Cannabis Conference are quick to point out the difference between THC, which causes the high from marijuana, and the compound CBD. When Michelle heard about cases of autistic children benefiting from CBD oil, she was able to order the medicine online and give it to her son, Lance, where they live, in Austin.

"He did really well with it, but I know with his history of aggression and self-injurious behavior that my son as well as many other children with autism need access to the whole plant, including various strains of THC," Michelle said.

Texas law prevents the use of medical marijuana with high levels of THC. For now there are few studies into the effects of cannabis on autism. Michelle is at the conference to give a presentation that shows families with autistic children who say medical marijuana has shown dramatic improvements.

"And to think, well if we've come this far, how much further could we go if we had a doctor that knew what they were doing and had access to multiple strains, and we could vary his medicines and try something else when there are spikes in aggression or there are sleepless nights," Michelle said.

While some parents of epileptic children have moved their families to states with less restrictive marijuana laws to seek treatment for their children, Michelle says she's not ready to stop being a Texan.

"We don't really have any other options except to ask our legislators to change the laws here in Texas. Or move, and moving for us isn't an option right now," Michelle said.

While medical marijuana may not help all children with autism, Michelle wants parents to have it as an option along with other treatments. She gives her presentation at the Fort Worth Convention Center Sunday at noon.

(©2016 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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