Recently, a viral video viewed by over 1 million people, shows an autistic seventeen year old girl from Texas during one of her bouts of intense autism induced self-harm. The substance that calms her in the middle of the video is vaporized cannabis, which is administered by her father through a medical facial mask.
The video was created and posted by her father Mark Zartler, who would like people to know that high THC marijuana is what has saved his daughter so that Texas laws will change in his family's favor. In his own words, "They stop Kara's acute behaviors 100% of the time. It stabilizes her mood within minutes. Her good mood usually lasts all day."
Seventeen year old Kara was born, along with her twin sister, at just twenty-six weeks old. Only ten hours after she was born, Kara suffered her first seizure and brain hemorrhage. Kara was diagnosed with autism and cerebral palsy early in her childhood.
Kara currently takes eight prescription medications to control her autism symptoms and her related medical problems. Some of the prescriptions that Kara has had to take to control her symptoms have changed her behavior radically. Her father noticed that on high doses of one medication, Risperidone, his daughter was no longer able to use the restroom on her own or make eye contact with him or any other people. Her father felt like the medications had completely taken over his daughter.
Mark holding his daughter as the vaporized marijuana takes effect.
Three years ago, after almost no relief from her symptoms and in an act of semi-desperateness, Mark gave his daughter a cannabis brownie made by a neighbor. He decided to try medicating his daughter with marijuana based on the suggestion of a friend. After much trepidation, he found that the cannabis was extremely successful and provided almost immediate relief. Mark had never seen such a quick decrease of his daughter’s symptoms as when he first gave her marijuana. Kara, who is now administered marijuana through a vaporizer, is calmed within three minutes of receiving a dose, something that no prescription had ever been able to achieve.
Mark Zartler posted the video of his daughter to spread awareness of the benefits that marijuana has had on his daughter’s condition. Consuming cannabis, Kara has been able to decrease the doses of all of her pharmaceutical medications, though she still maintains small doses of eight of her prescriptions. Her father said the decreased doses have brought life back to Kara and has drastically reduced her suffering from self-abusive behaviors.
Mark is now advocating for the legalization of medical marijuana in their home state of Texas. Though Zartler is mainly advocating for the use of marijuana for people with autism, like his daughter, he also believes that it could be greatly beneficial for people with PTSD and other conditions. Mark believes it is worth it to risk jail time to obtain marijuana for his daughter’s treatment and hopes that the traction the video has gotten will provide people with insight into all the good that medical marijuana can do.