Christy and Mark Zartler consider cannabis to be their daughter’s “rescue medicine.” Kara, 19, has severe autism and cerebral palsy, and has hurt herself — smacking and punching her face and head repeatedly — for more than a decade. Nothing, including pharmaceutical drugs, worked to calm her, until the Zartlers began illegally using medical marijuana, which reduced her hits from more than 1,000 each day to as few as zero.
As the Zartlers lobbied lawmakers last session to legalize Kara’s treatment, they regularly provided her with cannabis vapor to stabilize her behavior. But something changed last year, Christy said, and the regimen they were using no longer worked to ease Kara’s biting and pinching. They stopped using the cannabis they had access to in January, but because the treatment is illegal in Texas, their options are limited. If they could access medical-grade CBD oil on a consistent basis, Christy said, “we might be able to stabilize her in a better way.”