An Ally for Those Affected by Autism


Everything possible should be done for those with autism.

For 13 of my son Julian’s nearly 15 years, I knew that he was, as they put it in Forrest Gump, “different.” Although his peg was far from square, it had elliptical qualities to its roundness.

Speech difficulties, mechanical rigidity, and social awkwardness were obstacles that could have been tremendous barriers to my son’s education, but with the assistance of the North Pocono School District, he’s succeeding on an academic track. He has the ability to excel, but we’ll take what we can get.

While my son still may have difficulties in the years to come, I firmly believe that he can be a productive, self-sufficient member of society. Compared with some children, he has a toe in the autism spectrum.

I couldn’t begin to imagine the struggles of parents with children deeper in the spectrum. I’ve had enough sleepless nights about Julian as it is. If I had children further in, I would try everything to help bring them out.

For as much of a medication minimalist as I am, I fully realize that there is a need for a pharmaceutical intervention in a lot of cases. I’ve seen traditional pharmaceutical regimens do wonderful things for some pediatric patients, but I’ve also seen others work to no avail.

If only there were something else that modern medicine could offer. Fortunately, there may be.

In states that have legalized medical cannabis, there have been numerous testimonials of how seemingly intractable children were brought out of their shells after attempting a cannabis oil regimen. I can’t wait for the day when I can recommend cannabis as a legitimate therapy without the fear of losing my license.

I may not have to wait much longer.

Pennsylvania’s current medical cannabis legislation recently passed the General Assembly by nearly 100 votes. All that’s needed now is State Senate approval of the version with amendments proposed by the Assembly. Governor Tom Wolf has promised to sign the legislation when it hits his desk.

It has yet to be determined who will be doing the dispensing, but I feel that it would be nothing short of a crime if medical cannabis isn’t dispensed by pharmacists. Pharmaceutical compounding and dispensing are what we’re trained to do.

Everything possible should be done for those with autism. I believe that cannabis oil would be a powerful ally in the treatment of the affected.

Currently, autism is not an approved diagnosis in Pennsylvania’s proposed legislation, and I think that issue should be addressed and amended immediately. There’s a lot to be gained if it is.

Jay Sochoka, RPh, knows of which he speaks.

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