Family Connection

by Tab Moura

This month is the one year anniversary of when my daughters got their medical cannabis cards. I want to share a snapshot with you, but the snapshot is really just a byproduct of what I want to share today. I came to cannabis therapy by way of an Epilepsy diagnosis. Finding relief, it wasn’t long before I decided to begin using cannabis therapy for my daughters.

With Covid shaking things up for everyone this year, the area that impacted our family the most was our therapies we utilize to support their developmental needs. Before I elaborate on that, I want to set the stage.

New Growth by Tab Moura

Cannabis is a powerful tool for people like me, who have seizures, because while it helps me protect my brain from the onset of seizures, it also helps me create new connections in the areas of my brain that are impacted by my seizures. While there is less published research on the benefits of cannabis in autism (it’s sufficient, but Epilepsy is far more researched), the research we have shows that it helps improve their quality of life.

Beyond what the studies show, there are thousands of families like mine who can give you firsthand accounts of what we’re seeing. Cannabis is helping them focus, reducing anxiety and aggression, improving quality and length of sleep, and helping with underlying stressors like sensory overwhelm and digestion pain.

Back to the Covid toss up. When I learned we would be switching 90% of our appointments to telehealth, I was terrified and cautiously relieved. Less wrestling kids into masks, more wrestling kids in front of webcams. Before quarantine, they weren’t having lengthy conversations on FaceTime with friends and family yet, so for the first few weeks or so I just chased them around with a tablet as the therapists shouted suggestions and anecdotes that may or may not be helpful.

I wanted to quit, but I have to say, our therapists are saints and I owe them a lifetime of thanks. I definitely don’t believe all therapies and special need supports can be managed virtually, we are fortunate that this has been more successful than not… but I believe we adjusted with a little help from our medicine.

Visual Meditation by Tab Moura

Cannabis is known to help support making new neural connections, evidence suggests that this applies to children as well. Watching my daughter, who wasn’t even acknowledging her therapist yet when we met in-person, now sit and have a conversation with her therapist on a screen? Not running around like a tornado?

I’ve been seeing miracles happen. Encouraging her to sit still like this wasn’t something I expected to work on until she was a bit older, but it has been something of a necessity given the circumstances. The two of them, each holding a babydoll, using simple language and carrying on together; I didn’t think we could get here outside of a therapy clinic… but here we are.

Oh, people will decide for themselves what to think about stories like ours. I know I was skeptical for a long time… but I like to think that having the (legal) right to choose something so life changing, will be something I will be grateful for until the day I die.