Category Archive autism

ByMieko Perez

Global Healthcare Conversations with Mieko Perez ft. Cannafora Founder

 By Mieko Hester-Perez

Cannafora is a medical cannabis treatment center for people with autism and other neurodevelopmental disorders. The center offers a complete solution holistic approach (biological, emotional, environmental) that addresses all aspects of the patient’s life.

What is your personal story with choosing cannabis for your child on the spectrum?

Yuval, my severely autistic son is 27 now. Yuval is very restless and has a lot of anxiety, so when he was 12 years old, we started giving him antipsychotic medication on the recommendation of his doctors. But he just became worse and worse.

By the age of 17 he got epileptic seizures so we had to add anti-epileptic drugs. When he was around 17, he became very self-injurious, biting himself until bleeding. And sometimes very aggressive towards his cares or towards me.

There were years I refer to as “living in the shadow of hell”. Loving and caring for your child but frightened he will attack you…can’t be alone with him and can’t drive and take him to places.

So, even before cannabis, we weaned him off all those medications and found him to do better without them than with. But still, he had his outbursts, his restlessness and self-injurious behaviors.

Then, in 2014, I read that Israeli neurologists started prescribing high CBD whole plant oil for kids with intractable epilepsy. I reached out to them, but they said they couldn’t prescribe it to Yuval since his epilepsy is intractable and because autism was not a qualifying condition in Israel.

I decided we had nothing to lose and would find a way to give it a try. I read as much as I could on the internet about the cannabis plant, turned to an Israeli psychiatrist who treated hundreds of Israeli veterans with PTSD and finally, got access to medical marijuana for Yuval.

It was on October 2015. I remember thinking if Yuval responded amazingly to the treatment his mother would become the Israeli advocate for so many families choosing to treat their children with medical marijuana instead of pharmaceutical drugs.

In Yuval’s case, he responded best to a CBD-rich whole plant cannabis oil and vaporizing high-THC cannabis flower when he is agitated. CBD-dominant cannabis products without THC tended to increase his hyperactivity and anxiety. However, some children can experience significant improvements with CBD oil alone.

Do you think cannabis education for medical professionals and healthcare providers is lacking?

Definitely. Since cannabis is a very complicated plant, much more scientific research is needed to better understand: the different strains, cannabinoids and terpenes effects, different delivery methods, extraction methods, and vaporizing options.

Even today here in Israel, where autism is a qualifying condition for medical marijuana we have more and more doctors supporting this treatment option and willing to prescribe it. And since autism is so complex by itself most of the knowledge today comes from the patients themselves, and just small part of it from science.

And this is what I do here in Israel at Cannafora (Cannabis for Autism treatment center I’ve founded) – the “hands on” part with the families to get the right cannabis product and the right dosing and balance for their autistic child…

Read full blog on Hopegrown.org

ByMieko Perez

Global Healthcare Conversations with Mieko Perez ft. Janie & Gavin

By Mieko Hester-Perez

What is your personal story with choosing cannabis for you child on the autism spectrum?

My oldest son, Gavin, was diagnosed with autism in 2010 at the age of 5 and accepted into the Sussex Consortium for their year-round Autism program. It was a hard diagnosis for us to face even though my husband is a Special Education teacher and works with autistic children on a regular basis.

Gavin was born a twin with his sister, Rylie, at 29 weeks gestation. I remember the first time I was allowed to hold him he cuddled up under my neck. My first thought was “Oh, wow! I’ve got a little cuddle bug!” I called him my Bugaboo. He met all of his milestones albeit a bit delayed due to his early birth.

There was still something “off” though. He seemed to have been born with OCD. His pediatrician and I would discuss his “quirkiness” when he was very little but as time went on, we both knew we needed to get him evaluated for ASD. He would fixate on broken or uneven floor tiles and physically fight me if I tried to move him.

Instead of clothes, his dresser drawers were full of rocks, sticks, pieces of electronics he took apart, old erasers, and pieces of folded papers that he would stare at. He never once played with toys. He was combative, aggressive, and controlling with others, especially with Rylie.

He could not handle changes and had to have strict routine. He was developing certain behaviors such as smelling and tasting nonfood items, for instance ants, plants, feet if he could get to them under a table, soap, etc. The communication coming out was perseveration and how he was receiving communication was extremely pragmatic.

Communication, mutism, and lack of being able to console or touch him was our biggest concern. He was disappearing into a different world each day. We saw him mirror others around him so we decided to integrate him into regular classrooms with a therapist by his side and private therapy during the summers.

He was ahead for his age on an intellectual scale but emotionally, socially, and behaviorally things were difficult for him. We saw slivers of empathy come through and this made us hopeful. The hardest for us was the social impact we saw playing out for him. We could see that he was figuring out that his brain worked differently than his peers.

He wanted to be accepted by his peers but was not. Sports did not work out in his favor with his IBS, awkward gait, and severe social anxiety. We began making plans to remodel our downstairs into a suite for him as he got older, thinking long-term.

He also wanted and needed his own space to retreat and calm down. His social anxiety, even with family, was apparent. What would his future look like? Were we doing the right things? Diets, medicines, therapy…I know every parent question themselves if they have done enough. It’s a hard thing to wonder. You literally tear yourself up over this…

Read full blog on Hopegrown.org

ByMieko Perez

Mieko Hester-Perez is a Champion for Special Needs Families

Mieko Hester-Perez is a modern day warrior mom, a champion of special needs families. Every single day, her mission is to help families improve the quality of life for their loved ones through unconventional treatments and she has pledged to “leave no family behind.”

Courtesy of Mieko Perez

Just this past Sunday night, Mieko was presented with the Chalice Festival’s Industry Dedication Award for her tireless work helping families with special needs children to better understand medical cannabis. Drawing on 20 years of legal experience, 15 years of special education knowledge, ongoing research, and her personal experiences navigating through treatment options for her own son, Mieko continues to help families throughout the world achieve positive results with cannabis.

Not your typical cannabis activist

Now, it should be mentioned, Mieko Hester-Perez is not your typical cannabis activist. She doesn’t wear tie-dye, wasn’t raised by hippie parents, and doesn’t use cannabis herself. Quite the contrary: she comes from a very conservative family that includes a long line of law enforcement. “I know I’m an unlikely cannabis advocate,” Mieko says, “being raised in South Orange County among other conservative constituents.”

Because of her professionalism and reliability, physicians who don’t normally recommend cannabis call Mieko to consult with patients’ families who are considering cannabis when all other treatments have failed. She understands and sympathizes with these families because she’s been in their shoes: before trying cannabis as a treatment, her son Joey had been on over 14 different experimental medications that did not work. Secondary to his autism, Joey was diagnosed with anorexia and malnutrition and it was Mieko’s extensive research into how to get him to eat that led her to bake a few batches of gluten-free cannabis edibles for her son. 

Not only did the cannabis edibles successfully improve Joey’s appetite, which led to improved nutrition and healthy growth, Mieko also noticed he began making eye contact on a more consistent basis, he had less aggression and became more productive in educational and home settings.

Not your typical cannabis activist

Now, it should be mentioned, Mieko Hester-Perez is not your typical cannabis activist. She doesn’t wear tie-dye, wasn’t raised by hippie parents, and doesn’t use cannabis herself. Quite the contrary: she comes from a very conservative family that includes a long line of law enforcement. “I know I’m an unlikely cannabis advocate,” Mieko says, “being raised in South Orange County among other conservative constituents.”

Because of her professionalism and reliability, physicians who don’t normally recommend cannabis call Mieko to consult with patients’ families who are considering cannabis when all other treatments have failed. She understands and sympathizes with these families because she’s been in their shoes: before trying cannabis as a treatment, her son Joey had been on over 14 different experimental medications that did not work. Secondary to his autism, Joey was diagnosed with anorexia and malnutrition and it was Mieko’s extensive research into how to get him to eat that led her to bake a few batches of gluten-free cannabis edibles for her son. 

Not only did the cannabis edibles successfully improve Joey’s appetite, which led to improved nutrition and healthy growth, Mieko also noticed he began making eye contact on a more consistent basis, he had less aggression and became more productive in educational and home settings.

Read full blog on Hopegrown.org

ByMieko Perez

Global Healthcare Conversations with Mieko Perez ft. Luv n Cann Founders

By Mieko Hester-Perez

What is your personal story and mission that inspired you to go public with your son Aiden?

My wife and I sat down one day and realized that we rarely, if at all found other parents who looked like us. At times, we were managing our son’s condition on a daily basis sometimes twenty four hours a day and seven days a week (on alert.)

We’ve spoken to so many people in the industry from CBD manufacturers, doctors, pharmacists, and parents whose child had similar conditions but mostly with autism. As we continued to learn about our son’s condition and how to treat him the one thing that alluded us was parents who looked like us.

So, we decided to go public because in hopes that other parents like us would not be afraid to share their story and in turn we created the Luv N Cann podcast.

Do you think cannabis education for medical professionals and healthcare providers is lacking?

Yes, we do believe cannabis education for medical professionals and health care providers are lacking and that’s because of federal laws and the pharmaceutical industry that supports the medical and health care system.

When my wife and I go into doctors’ offices and share with them the alternative paths and the endocannabinoid system they often have no idea what we are talking about or why we’ve considered taking a holistic approach to healing our child.

We are huge proponents for education as it relates to cannabis, cannabinoids, and the endocannabinoid system…

Read full blog on Hopegrown.org

ByMieko Perez

Business Ventures on the Horizon with Mieko Perez ft. Tammy Pettigrew

Republished July 3, 2021 | By Mieko Hester-Perez

Tammy Pettigrew is a California-based cannabis advocate, educator and speaker focusing on cannabis science, history, business, and debunking countless myths surrounding cannabis. Her goal is to create change by helping others improve their lives by arming them with the proper information and challenging outdated perspectives when it comes to health and wellness.

In 2019, Tammy was market chair for Women Grow Orange County, and hosted monthly networking events, connecting professionals in the industry with those aspiring to be in cannabis.

In 2018, Tammy graduated from the University of Miami with a Master of Business Administration and subsequently launched her cannabis education company, The Cannabis Cutie. This educational platform hosts a cannabis-based book club, cannabis courses, a vlog, and social channels with daily informative lessons. Currently, she hosts educational and informational segments on Herb Magazine’s social channels, as well as KandyPens.

Tammy is used to creating movements and was able to be part of history at Oklahoma State by being one of seven women who chartered the first multicultural Greek-lettered organization on campus. The women met in the fall of 2007 for their first meeting, and on June 13, 2012, they were granted chapter status by Sigma Lambda Gamma National Sorority, Inc., as the Epsilon Epsilon Chapter, with Tammy elected as their first president.

During her tenure at Oklahoma State, she also joined ranks with the Oklahoma City Thunder, the newest NBA team in the league. Her job was to manage all entertainment elements during pre-game, time-outs, halftime, and post-game. She helped coordinate game-day scripts and contracts, supervision and leading of the spirit team, held office hours, sat in department meetings, and aided with bookings for half-time and pre-game performers.

What inspired you to start The Higher Learning book club?

I really love to read! It’s how I gather a lot of the information about cannabis, but one of the hardest things about reading books is holding myself accountable to the book. This seems to be a problem for many people, so the book club seemed like a no-brainer! The purpose of The Higher Learning Book Club is to bring like-minded cannabis users and enthusiasts and elevate our knowledge on all-things cannabis, while holding each other accountable.

420 CENTRAL

We are so much more than just “potheads,” and in order to change the public perception and dogma around cannabis, we as users have a responsibility to be that change first. This book club is cultivating advocates to push the mission of freeing the plant, forward.

Read full blog on hopegrown.org

ByMieko Perez

Conversations with Mieko, Generational Cannabis Connections

February 13, 2021   |   By Mieko Hester-Perez

Join The Hungry Medium for her popular Friday evening community event; Exclusively on Clubhouse!

Connecting with Kat Niambi was no accident, you can hear her spirit in her laughter and her soul on a mission as we discussed how important it was for her perspective to be heard from the local neighborhood bodega to the steps of the White House with this blog. It had become apparent we shared the same “soulful journey” in “Changing the narrative” which has become my go-to hashtag these days, and Ms. Niambi does not skip a beat in owning the same calling, Let us be the ancestors our descendants will thank”.

An open blog by The Hungry Medium, Kat Niambi.

Your teenager knows that you smoke weed. You know how I know? Because I am a mom. A mom who smokes cannabis. Moms do weird things. Weird things like pretending to clean your kids’ room while they are out of the house just to be nosy. We do it! Do not act like you do not. On one of these weird days, as I was “tidying up”, I felt the need to snoop in my youngest daughter’s nightstand. The contents were basic teenage items…lip gloss, a small mirror, markers, spare change, postcards and oh hello…rolling paper, a weed roach, and a teeny tiny dime bag of cannabis!

Lots of thoughts. All of the thoughts.

  • Really? She is smoking weed.
  • Oh no!!! My baby (16) is a pothead!
  • Is she smoking in her room? I have never smelled it.
  • I feel bad. The dime or nickel bag is still a thing? Poor baby!
  • Is this weed any good?
  • Should I tell them that I am a toker too?

It is the last one that I struggled with often since having kids. I had been smoking cannabis since I was 16 but because of the stigma surrounding it, I was afraid that my perfect “image” would be diminished. Even my first reaction to seeing the joint in my kid’s room was more about my perception of what kind of person she must be. It was a fleeting thought but real, nonetheless. There was/is some shame to unpack when it comes to the use of this plant. Even still, as I start to speak more about it publicly, I am met with nervous giggles and even a “shhhhh” once in a while.

420 CENTRAL

There is definitely some judgment, but there was one life event that somehow offered me somewhat of a reprieve from the guilt, to finally open up and reveal my love for cannabis. The life event. Cancer…

Read full blog on Hopegrown.org