Michelle Walker moved her family to Colorado from Texas in 2017 looking for relief for her son, who suffers from severe autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and epileptic seizures — and she found it. Walker says that her ten-year-old boy, Vincent Zuniga, has made astonishing progress since they moved to Colorado in order to get access to medical marijuana. As a result, they’ve been able to visit Rocky Mountain National Park, Coors Field and other public places they wouldn’t have dreamed of going to before Vincent’s new medication.
“We could never do these things without medical cannabis,” Walker explains. “It allows us to live this quality of life the best we can.” Because of his seizures — one of the nine qualifying medical conditions for cannabis in Colorado — Vincent qualified for a medical marijuana card; as a result, Walker is able to give her son high-CBD cannabis medication. Many severely autistic children who aren’t epileptic still suffer from debilitating conditions, Walker notes, but MMJ isn’t an option for them because ASD doesn’t qualify as a medical marijuana condition in Colorado.
Vincent Zuniga couldn’t go on public trips before using medical marijuana because of his aggression, according to his mother.
Courtesy of Michelle Walker
As for Vincent’s ASD, she says, “he’s limited verbally. He’s very aggressive. He would attack us daily, and he would hit, kick and pull hair. It was beyond his control, so he was very limited in what he could do. We can say that cannabis definitely helped.”
And if a bill recently introduced in the Colorado General Assembly passes, Walker believes more people with ASD will have that option, too.
Introduced by Colorado State Representative Edie Hooton in March, HB 1263 would add ASD and acute pain to Colorado’s list of qualifying medical marijuana conditions. ASD is known