Podcast — 19 Minutes

Episode 2: Cannabis & Autism

Podcast — 19 Minutes

Episode 2: Cannabis & Autism

ANN editor Magnus joins the podcast to talk about cannabis & autism.

Magnus tells us about his introduction to cannabis and his experience of its effects. Dr. Gwynette offers perspective on the topic from the medical/research side. We also learn about Magnus discovering he is autistic as an adult.

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Dr. Gwynette: Hello. My name is Dr. Frampton Gwynette, and I am a psychiatrist at the Medical University of South Carolina Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, here today for the Autism News NetWORK podcast, episode two. We are fortunate enough to have the one and only Magnus joining us. Magnus, how are you doing?

Magnus: I’m doing great, guys.

Dr. Gwynette: I want to thank you, Magnus, because really this podcast I pretty much can say it was your idea, wasn’t it?

Magnus: Oh yeah, this is 100% my podcast.

Dr. Gwynette: We’ve been working, building up to this for a while. As you would like to say, this is a game changer.

Magnus: Yeah, definitely a game changer.

Dr. Gwynette: The topic that we’re going to hit today is cannabis and autism. I know you’ve got some thoughts on it. For those of you out in the audience who haven’t heard much about this, cannabis and autism has been in the research quite a bit recently as well as in the news. People are curious to know about the potential benefits of cannabis in the field of autism. Magnus, take us through your journey about how you got interested in this topic.

Magnus: 2013, this was years ago after I graduated high school, my aunt lived in Michigan. She wanted me to house it for a couple of months because she’s the big rig drivers and I had to feed her dog. I eventually got a job around there. Everywhere I walked, come get your medical mari license card today. I went in there. I showed my ID. They told me to go to one of their doctors. I told them I had them back and gout pain and for the ADHD as well. After that, it’s history. I got my card. I went in the store, the dispensary. There’s just different types of stuff for different types of problems. There would be different strains for sleeping because my sleeping is the worst, lots of insomnia there. Other days, I’ll be up for weeks. This stuff, when I was up there, would take me out, best sleep in my life.

Dr. Gwynette: Is that right?

Magnus: Yeah.

Dr. Gwynette: Even six years ago, back in Michigan, they were piloting medical marijuana. If you had a doctor’s prescription, you can go in and get it.

Magnus: Yeah.

Dr. Gwynette: Cool. You slept better. Did you have any other benefits?

Magnus: The other benefit, because I was in indica strain, which is the sleepy kind, indica, in da couch, and then you have your sativa like a headache, calm you down, your body. That’s what helped with my gout because I have chronic gout. It just runs in the family, and it helps from time to time for me with the arthritis.

Dr. Gwynette: Got you. I’m sure the laws here in South Carolina are different than Michigan.

Magnus: Oh yeah. We got to catch up. I’ll tell you that. We definitely got to catch up.

Dr. Gwynette: How long have you been living in South Carolina now?

Magnus: Since 2000 but I was up there for a little bit.

Dr. Gwynette: Michigan was like a blip [crosstalk 00:03:04].

Magnus: Yeah, I was a blip. I got a job there. I was working at the factories around there.

Dr. Gwynette: You experienced some of the benefits that got you thinking about-

Magnus: Yeah. What I noticed is when I would smoke, my creativity, I’ve always had my own problem with thinking of my own ideas or just being creative as a kid. Once I smoked, my brain slowed down. The ADHD slowed down, and I can actually think and just do stuff. Just simple thinking like simple lyrics, you hear the lyrics, you don’t understand them, but when I’m high, my brain slows down. I can actually understand the lyrics.

Dr. Gwynette: That’s interesting. This is always tricky territory because what may work for one person may not work for a group.

Magnus: Yeah, that’s very true.

Dr. Gwynette: You probably get a lot of pushback from family or whoever.

Magnus: Oh yeah, my family. My brother, he’s okay with it. He’s from Florida, and they’re starting to open dispensaries over there. He’s having his own gout problems as well so he’s looking into getting into that instead of taking heavy medication like the Percocet and all that.

Dr. Gwynette: Have you talked to your primary care doctor about-

Magnus: I don’t have a primary care doctor right now.

Dr. Gwynette: You haven’t been able to really get a prescription for the gout?

Magnus: No. I’m sorry. I see a specialist for the gout now. All that is good. It’s a bunch of antibiotics that I take three times a day.

Dr. Gwynette: Got you. What do you think about the political discussion going on in this country about marijuana and its uses and some people are getting concerned about risks and so forth?

Magnus: I’d say the same thing about drunk driving and stuff. I guess we’re going to have to definitely find blueprints from Canada and see how they’re doing it from up there first because worldwide legalization was last year. That’s what I put in my notes as well. Let’s see how Canada is doing, their crime rates, their DUIs, and then we can actually have facts to back them up.

Dr. Gwynette: This is an interesting time period because places like Colorado and Washington [crosstalk 00:05:22] are early adopters. I’m sure there are studies being conducted to give us data.

Magnus: Yeah. Are you starting to hear more about it when you go to your medical conferences?

Dr. Gwynette: We are. There are definitely some studies going in CBD oil, which is not marijuana like people smoke off the street. I’ve been involved in a committee with the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry to write a policy statement about marijuana and autism. It’s been very informative because it gets back to the idea of what a doctor can recommend and what a group of doctors can recommend versus what an individual can go out there and try for themselves. For instance, as a physician, we have to rely on evidence-based medicine, which means going to the medical literature, looking at peer reviewed articles, looking at double blinded placebo controlled trials that not only have been conducted in a standardized way but also have been repeated or replicated so we can have some true evidence.

Dr. Gwynette: The tricky part of that is the process of getting evidence-based medicine takes a long time. Sometimes 10, 12 years before we really have the answers. One of the critical aspects of the autism treatment crisis, because we don’t have a lot of treatments available, is that people want something that works now. Parents don’t have 10, 12 years to try to wait. Many parents are branching out and trying things that are unproven. I do have to say that AACAP recommends against the use of CBD oil or cannabis until we have evidence-based rigorous scientific trials. There are a couple of conditions including Dravet syndrome that are FDA approved. As a doctor recommending things for a group of my patients in my practice, I have to recommend against it pending further studies.

Magnus: Yeah, of course.

Dr. Gwynette: Another interesting piece is if there were an active ingredient that’s helpful, the question always comes up about how do you dose it? One of the things that’s definitely not consistent across the country is what’s the potency of this strain of marijuana? As you alluded to, what’s this one like? How much active ingredient is someone getting if they smoke it versus if they vape it or if they take it in a pill? All that needs to be worked out, and it’s going to take a long time.

Magnus: It’s going to take a long time. I just hope Canada can hurry up and I guess send their blueprints over here.

Dr. Gwynette: Have you ever had any side effects or problems based on cannabis?

Magnus: Maybe eating.

Dr. Gwynette: Eating? How so?

Magnus: I’ll just get the munchies.

Dr. Gwynette: Get the munchies. Have you had any other like weight gain or anything like that?

Magnus: No.

Dr. Gwynette: It is tricky. On paper from a psychiatrist’s standpoint, cannabis is risky because … I think back to a colleague of mine named Kevin Gray. He really taught me a lot. He’s a specialist in addiction and he works with kids. He does a lot of scientific research on cannabis as well as nicotine. One of the things he said is that you can look at cannabis as having two sides to it. For instance, in medical school, we’re taught that light has two aspects. It’s partly a wave, and it’s partly a particle. It’s always both. It’s never just a wave or just a particle. He helped me conceptualize that cannabis is like that where there’s always the potential for benefits and always the potential for side effects. It’s always a balance between those two in a very individual pattern in terms of how somebody responds. It sounds like you’ve had a positive experience.

Magnus: Yeah, definitely. Like I say, it’s a whole dispensary, a nice little store with security guards when you walk in. Hey, what are your thoughts on the mainstream and the billboards we’re starting to see around here with the CBD? In the last few years, there was none of that. Are we starting to move on? Are we starting to get people more interested in CBD and possibly more interested in THC? Is that their plan?

Dr. Gwynette: I don’t know if there’s a master plan, but certainly the culture is changing. People are much more open to THC and CBD oil products. I think the interest and the acceptance of that has probably run out way ahead of any data. For the audience, one of the things that the FDA does is it standardizes the doses and also make sure that there’s evidence for any medication. It also makes sure that if there’s a food on the shelf that it can guarantee what’s in it. When you look at supplements such as CBD or medical marijuana, especially the CBD oil which is over the counter, you’re not going to have any guarantees of what’s in it. That’s a huge factor.

Magnus: Yes. The natural is always the best unless from a quality company. What about the opioid crisis? What’s happening? They can’t work out something with medical cannabis with the patients with their pain? Don’t we have a huge problem with that?

Dr. Gwynette: That’s interesting. The idea of maybe migrating people from opioids over to cannabis?

Magnus: Yeah.

Dr. Gwynette: I think in that case, it would be a target of reducing harm. For instance, there’s another harm reduction concept where in some states, the government will provide clean needles to IV drug users because they’re trying to say we don’t endorse or sanction the use of, for instance, IV heroin, but we can reduce the hepatitis C in the HIV crisis by at least providing clean needles. This is just an idea, but would bringing people over to cannabis from opioids be safer with fewer overdoses? I think that’s a great question. What do you think?

Magnus: I think we need to start somewhere because in the last few years, nothing was happening. It seems to get worse and worse.

Dr. Gwynette: That you hear about people dying on opioids.

Magnus: Yeah, people dying in playgrounds and in the middle of the malls. Come on, man. You don’t want no little child walking by with their mom at the mall or something or going to the play park seeing a dead body.

Dr. Gwynette: It’s definitely worth investigating. Anything that can help improve the safety of people who are addicted to opiates would be welcome. It’s a big problem. Do you know anybody out there who’s been on opiates and has gotten over to cannabis and had been successful?

Magnus: 2010, I was in a bad car accident. The car totaled. I ended up waking up in a hospital. They put me on some heavy drug medication. The feeling from it, the euphoric feeling, and I can see why people get addicted to it so easily. It’s like you’re so happy. It doesn’t matter. I’m like, damn, I can’t wait until this prescription is out. You see it on TV, the Percocets leads to heroin, and it’s just crazy.

Dr. Gwynette: It’s really scary. Cool. Did you ever get a feeling besides the gout and the back pain, did you ever-

Magnus: Scoliosis.

Dr. Gwynette: Did you ever feel like cannabis had a positive impact on-

Magnus: The gout, yes. For the pain, yes, when I was on a flare up, the gout.

Dr. Gwynette: Did you ever feel like cannabis was helpful for your autism?

Magnus: For anxiety, when I’m about to … Usually when I get the meltdowns. Just because I’m almost 30, it doesn’t mean I get meltdowns every time and time again. I just hide myself in my room. Eventually, I’m going to invest in a little boxing port in my car port to let some steam out. I’ve learned this for myself that I’m always going to have anger issues, but I just need to know where to put my anger out and to calm me down right after.

Dr. Gwynette: Just to switch gears, you have a pretty interesting story as to how you arrived at the diagnosis of autism. Can you tell [crosstalk 00:13:54]?

Magnus: Oh man, this is a story. I’m basically the kid that fell through the cracks all through elementary, middle and high. They had no idea what autism is. They knew what ADHD was. That’s 40% of the kids there. I didn’t get out of school and thinking I only had ADHD. It wasn’t until I got my first job working at the SPAWAR, the Navy base doing custodial work. That’s where I met my first autistic friend that was literally as goofy as me, and we started hanging out, hanging out.

Dr. Gwynette: Got you.

Magnus: We would tell each other, I have ADHD. Do you have autism? Every day I see him, I’m starting to put the pieces together. My God, I’m just like him. I started going on Wikipedia and stuff. I’m like, Oh God. I started to panic. This is why I’ve been like this my entire life. Things are going better. Things are going better once you see the right treatment you need.

Dr. Gwynette: When you met that friend at your job, it’s almost like a light went on. Everything started clicking.

Magnus: Yeah.

Dr. Gwynette: What were some of the things that you noticed about yourself that were explained like, oh, this is autism?

Magnus: I tried working with my dad in construction, and it was very hard to hit a nail, like tape measure, cut it. I’m just so clumsy.

Dr. Gwynette: Fine motor.

Magnus: Yeah, my motor skills. Sometimes I’ll be not yelling at them but talking loudly. I won’t even understand … I won’t do it on purpose.

Dr. Gwynette: Loud noises are bothersome.

Magnus: No, I’ll start talking real loud and without me realizing a lot of the times.

Dr. Gwynette: Do people find that off-putting?

Magnus: I don’t really care anymore to tell you the truth. I’m almost 30. I take laps now. I don’t really care.

Dr. Gwynette: You said something really cool about the Autism News NetWORK. You said we’re not really building a news network as much as we’re building a community. Can you talk a little bit more about that?

Magnus: Well, yeah, sure. I came around, what, last year, right?

Dr. Gwynette: Yeah.

Magnus: Around last year. There was a little, tiny group. I want to say five people. When I went in there, I just felt like there wasn’t much conversation going on between different folks in there. Now when I go, everyone seems to be talking to each other. I’m like, “Hey, what’s up, Scott? Hey, Ainsley. How are you doing? It’s just a social group where I’m going there, learning digital media skills, especially with the Mac. A year ago, I was a complete newb. I was like pecking, how do I do this? How do I do this? How do I do that? Now I’m moving like a professional on it a little bit.

Dr. Gwynette: You’ve really been all in on the Mac and the software.

Magnus: Yeah. It’s a nice piece of hardware.

Dr. Gwynette: You’re using Final Cut Pro now.

Magnus: Yeah, that’s true.

Dr. Gwynette: That was a learning curve.

Magnus: Learning curve, that took quite some hours watching YouTube vids and messing around with it. I made something. It made me laugh and it made me go a little bit harder on it just the way I did some of the logos on it and all that.

Dr. Gwynette: Tell the audience what a render is and why you feel like that’s going to be a game changer for the news network.

Magnus: A render is a group that makes something, let’s say a camera studio and it looks all nice and shiny with the music and it just zooms in and out. There are other different ones.

Dr. Gwynette: I turn on ESPN. It’ll be like boom. There’ll be letters going by and stars. Is that a render?

Magnus: Yeah, that’s a render.

Dr. Gwynette: You’re going to build one of those for the news network.

Magnus: Yeah. You guys will see that new render on our network soon enough. Hopefully, it’ll go with the outro as well. I hope you guys like that. I’m still working on it. I’ve been working on it for hours now. It’s a lot of hard work honestly.

Dr. Gwynette: It sure is. You’re right. You get a 15-second piece of render or video and people don’t realize it was four hours of work, these 15 seconds.

Magnus: Yeah, definitely.

Dr. Gwynette: Well, cool. Just to sum up, we’re here with Magnus. He shared a little bit of his individual experience and viewpoints on cannabis for treatment of his chronic pain. We talked a little bit about how that may impact his autism and, of course, just to reiterate, we’re just having a discussion here. As a psychiatrist, I can’t recommend that anyone try cannabis or CBD oil because there’s no evidence behind it for a population. We don’t have standardized rigorous placebo controlled trials, but those are being conducted and we look forward to seeing the results of those. Ultimately when those results are published in peer reviewed journals, we’ll be able to have more definitive things to say about the potential for use of cannabis and CBD in patients with autism. Magnus, any closing words of wisdom?

Magnus: I guess we’ll see you guys soon with more people from our network.

Dr. Gwynette: Yeah. Thanks for being here. See you next time.

Dr. Gwynette: Hello. My name is Dr. Frampton Gwynette, and I am a psychiatrist at the Medical University of South Carolina Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, here today for the Autism News NetWORK podcast, episode two. We are fortunate enough to have the one and only Magnus joining us. Magnus, how are you doing?

Magnus: I’m doing great, guys.

Dr. Gwynette: I want to thank you, Magnus, because really this podcast I pretty much can say it was your idea, wasn’t it?

Magnus: Oh yeah, this is 100% my podcast.

Dr. Gwynette: We’ve been working, building up to this for a while. As you would like to say, this is a game changer.

Magnus: Yeah, definitely a game changer.

Dr. Gwynette: The topic that we’re going to hit today is cannabis and autism. I know you’ve got some thoughts on it. For those of you out in the audience who haven’t heard much about this, cannabis and autism has been in the research quite a bit recently as well as in the news. People are curious to know about the potential benefits of cannabis in the field of autism. Magnus, take us through your journey about how you got interested in this topic.

Magnus: 2013, this was years ago after I graduated high school, my aunt lived in Michigan. She wanted me to house it for a couple of months because she’s the big rig drivers and I had to feed her dog. I eventually got a job around there. Everywhere I walked, come get your medical mari license card today. I went in there. I showed my ID. They told me to go to one of their doctors. I told them I had them back and gout pain and for the ADHD as well. After that, it’s history. I got my card. I went in the store, the dispensary. There’s just different types of stuff for different types of problems. There would be different strains for sleeping because my sleeping is the worst, lots of insomnia there. Other days, I’ll be up for weeks. This stuff, when I was up there, would take me out, best sleep in my life.

Dr. Gwynette: Is that right?

Magnus: Yeah.

Dr. Gwynette: Even six years ago, back in Michigan, they were piloting medical marijuana. If you had a doctor’s prescription, you can go in and get it.

Magnus: Yeah.

Dr. Gwynette: Cool. You slept better. Did you have any other benefits?

Magnus: The other benefit, because I was in indica strain, which is the sleepy kind, indica, in da couch, and then you have your sativa like a headache, calm you down, your body. That’s what helped with my gout because I have chronic gout. It just runs in the family, and it helps from time to time for me with the arthritis.

Dr. Gwynette: Got you. I’m sure the laws here in South Carolina are different than Michigan.

Magnus: Oh yeah. We got to catch up. I’ll tell you that. We definitely got to catch up.

Dr. Gwynette: How long have you been living in South Carolina now?

Magnus: Since 2000 but I was up there for a little bit.

Dr. Gwynette: Michigan was like a blip [crosstalk 00:03:04].

Magnus: Yeah, I was a blip. I got a job there. I was working at the factories around there.

Dr. Gwynette: You experienced some of the benefits that got you thinking about-

Magnus: Yeah. What I noticed is when I would smoke, my creativity, I’ve always had my own problem with thinking of my own ideas or just being creative as a kid. Once I smoked, my brain slowed down. The ADHD slowed down, and I can actually think and just do stuff. Just simple thinking like simple lyrics, you hear the lyrics, you don’t understand them, but when I’m high, my brain slows down. I can actually understand the lyrics.

Dr. Gwynette: That’s interesting. This is always tricky territory because what may work for one person may not work for a group.

Magnus: Yeah, that’s very true.

Dr. Gwynette: You probably get a lot of pushback from family or whoever.

Magnus: Oh yeah, my family. My brother, he’s okay with it. He’s from Florida, and they’re starting to open dispensaries over there. He’s having his own gout problems as well so he’s looking into getting into that instead of taking heavy medication like the Percocet and all that.

Dr. Gwynette: Have you talked to your primary care doctor about-

Magnus: I don’t have a primary care doctor right now.

Dr. Gwynette: You haven’t been able to really get a prescription for the gout?

Magnus: No. I’m sorry. I see a specialist for the gout now. All that is good. It’s a bunch of antibiotics that I take three times a day.

Dr. Gwynette: Got you. What do you think about the political discussion going on in this country about marijuana and its uses and some people are getting concerned about risks and so forth?

Magnus: I’d say the same thing about drunk driving and stuff. I guess we’re going to have to definitely find blueprints from Canada and see how they’re doing it from up there first because worldwide legalization was last year. That’s what I put in my notes as well. Let’s see how Canada is doing, their crime rates, their DUIs, and then we can actually have facts to back them up.

Dr. Gwynette: This is an interesting time period because places like Colorado and Washington [crosstalk 00:05:22] are early adopters. I’m sure there are studies being conducted to give us data.

Magnus: Yeah. Are you starting to hear more about it when you go to your medical conferences?

Dr. Gwynette: We are. There are definitely some studies going in CBD oil, which is not marijuana like people smoke off the street. I’ve been involved in a committee with the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry to write a policy statement about marijuana and autism. It’s been very informative because it gets back to the idea of what a doctor can recommend and what a group of doctors can recommend versus what an individual can go out there and try for themselves. For instance, as a physician, we have to rely on evidence-based medicine, which means going to the medical literature, looking at peer reviewed articles, looking at double blinded placebo controlled trials that not only have been conducted in a standardized way but also have been repeated or replicated so we can have some true evidence.

Dr. Gwynette: The tricky part of that is the process of getting evidence-based medicine takes a long time. Sometimes 10, 12 years before we really have the answers. One of the critical aspects of the autism treatment crisis, because we don’t have a lot of treatments available, is that people want something that works now. Parents don’t have 10, 12 years to try to wait. Many parents are branching out and trying things that are unproven. I do have to say that AACAP recommends against the use of CBD oil or cannabis until we have evidence-based rigorous scientific trials. There are a couple of conditions including Dravet syndrome that are FDA approved. As a doctor recommending things for a group of my patients in my practice, I have to recommend against it pending further studies.

Magnus: Yeah, of course.

Dr. Gwynette: Another interesting piece is if there were an active ingredient that’s helpful, the question always comes up about how do you dose it? One of the things that’s definitely not consistent across the country is what’s the potency of this strain of marijuana? As you alluded to, what’s this one like? How much active ingredient is someone getting if they smoke it versus if they vape it or if they take it in a pill? All that needs to be worked out, and it’s going to take a long time.

Magnus: It’s going to take a long time. I just hope Canada can hurry up and I guess send their blueprints over here.

Dr. Gwynette: Have you ever had any side effects or problems based on cannabis?

Magnus: Maybe eating.

Dr. Gwynette: Eating? How so?

Magnus: I’ll just get the munchies.

Dr. Gwynette: Get the munchies. Have you had any other like weight gain or anything like that?

Magnus: No.

Dr. Gwynette: It is tricky. On paper from a psychiatrist’s standpoint, cannabis is risky because … I think back to a colleague of mine named Kevin Gray. He really taught me a lot. He’s a specialist in addiction and he works with kids. He does a lot of scientific research on cannabis as well as nicotine. One of the things he said is that you can look at cannabis as having two sides to it. For instance, in medical school, we’re taught that light has two aspects. It’s partly a wave, and it’s partly a particle. It’s always both. It’s never just a wave or just a particle. He helped me conceptualize that cannabis is like that where there’s always the potential for benefits and always the potential for side effects. It’s always a balance between those two in a very individual pattern in terms of how somebody responds. It sounds like you’ve had a positive experience.

Magnus: Yeah, definitely. Like I say, it’s a whole dispensary, a nice little store with security guards when you walk in. Hey, what are your thoughts on the mainstream and the billboards we’re starting to see around here with the CBD? In the last few years, there was none of that. Are we starting to move on? Are we starting to get people more interested in CBD and possibly more interested in THC? Is that their plan?

Dr. Gwynette: I don’t know if there’s a master plan, but certainly the culture is changing. People are much more open to THC and CBD oil products. I think the interest and the acceptance of that has probably run out way ahead of any data. For the audience, one of the things that the FDA does is it standardizes the doses and also make sure that there’s evidence for any medication. It also makes sure that if there’s a food on the shelf that it can guarantee what’s in it. When you look at supplements such as CBD or medical marijuana, especially the CBD oil which is over the counter, you’re not going to have any guarantees of what’s in it. That’s a huge factor.

Magnus: Yes. The natural is always the best unless from a quality company. What about the opioid crisis? What’s happening? They can’t work out something with medical cannabis with the patients with their pain? Don’t we have a huge problem with that?

Dr. Gwynette: That’s interesting. The idea of maybe migrating people from opioids over to cannabis?

Magnus: Yeah.

Dr. Gwynette: I think in that case, it would be a target of reducing harm. For instance, there’s another harm reduction concept where in some states, the government will provide clean needles to IV drug users because they’re trying to say we don’t endorse or sanction the use of, for instance, IV heroin, but we can reduce the hepatitis C in the HIV crisis by at least providing clean needles. This is just an idea, but would bringing people over to cannabis from opioids be safer with fewer overdoses? I think that’s a great question. What do you think?

Magnus: I think we need to start somewhere because in the last few years, nothing was happening. It seems to get worse and worse.

Dr. Gwynette: That you hear about people dying on opioids.

Magnus: Yeah, people dying in playgrounds and in the middle of the malls. Come on, man. You don’t want no little child walking by with their mom at the mall or something or going to the play park seeing a dead body.

Dr. Gwynette: It’s definitely worth investigating. Anything that can help improve the safety of people who are addicted to opiates would be welcome. It’s a big problem. Do you know anybody out there who’s been on opiates and has gotten over to cannabis and had been successful?

Magnus: 2010, I was in a bad car accident. The car totaled. I ended up waking up in a hospital. They put me on some heavy drug medication. The feeling from it, the euphoric feeling, and I can see why people get addicted to it so easily. It’s like you’re so happy. It doesn’t matter. I’m like, damn, I can’t wait until this prescription is out. You see it on TV, the Percocets leads to heroin, and it’s just crazy.

Dr. Gwynette: It’s really scary. Cool. Did you ever get a feeling besides the gout and the back pain, did you ever-

Magnus: Scoliosis.

Dr. Gwynette: Did you ever feel like cannabis had a positive impact on-

Magnus: The gout, yes. For the pain, yes, when I was on a flare up, the gout.

Dr. Gwynette: Did you ever feel like cannabis was helpful for your autism?

Magnus: For anxiety, when I’m about to … Usually when I get the meltdowns. Just because I’m almost 30, it doesn’t mean I get meltdowns every time and time again. I just hide myself in my room. Eventually, I’m going to invest in a little boxing port in my car port to let some steam out. I’ve learned this for myself that I’m always going to have anger issues, but I just need to know where to put my anger out and to calm me down right after.

Dr. Gwynette: Just to switch gears, you have a pretty interesting story as to how you arrived at the diagnosis of autism. Can you tell [crosstalk 00:13:54]?

Magnus: Oh man, this is a story. I’m basically the kid that fell through the cracks all through elementary, middle and high. They had no idea what autism is. They knew what ADHD was. That’s 40% of the kids there. I didn’t get out of school and thinking I only had ADHD. It wasn’t until I got my first job working at the SPAWAR, the Navy base doing custodial work. That’s where I met my first autistic friend that was literally as goofy as me, and we started hanging out, hanging out.

Dr. Gwynette: Got you.

Magnus: We would tell each other, I have ADHD. Do you have autism? Every day I see him, I’m starting to put the pieces together. My God, I’m just like him. I started going on Wikipedia and stuff. I’m like, Oh God. I started to panic. This is why I’ve been like this my entire life. Things are going better. Things are going better once you see the right treatment you need.

Dr. Gwynette: When you met that friend at your job, it’s almost like a light went on. Everything started clicking.

Magnus: Yeah.

Dr. Gwynette: What were some of the things that you noticed about yourself that were explained like, oh, this is autism?

Magnus: I tried working with my dad in construction, and it was very hard to hit a nail, like tape measure, cut it. I’m just so clumsy.

Dr. Gwynette: Fine motor.

Magnus: Yeah, my motor skills. Sometimes I’ll be not yelling at them but talking loudly. I won’t even understand … I won’t do it on purpose.

Dr. Gwynette: Loud noises are bothersome.

Magnus: No, I’ll start talking real loud and without me realizing a lot of the times.

Dr. Gwynette: Do people find that off-putting?

Magnus: I don’t really care anymore to tell you the truth. I’m almost 30. I take laps now. I don’t really care.

Dr. Gwynette: You said something really cool about the Autism News NetWORK. You said we’re not really building a news network as much as we’re building a community. Can you talk a little bit more about that?

Magnus: Well, yeah, sure. I came around, what, last year, right?

Dr. Gwynette: Yeah.

Magnus: Around last year. There was a little, tiny group. I want to say five people. When I went in there, I just felt like there wasn’t much conversation going on between different folks in there. Now when I go, everyone seems to be talking to each other. I’m like, “Hey, what’s up, Scott? Hey, Ainsley. How are you doing? It’s just a social group where I’m going there, learning digital media skills, especially with the Mac. A year ago, I was a complete newb. I was like pecking, how do I do this? How do I do this? How do I do that? Now I’m moving like a professional on it a little bit.

Dr. Gwynette: You’ve really been all in on the Mac and the software.

Magnus: Yeah. It’s a nice piece of hardware.

Dr. Gwynette: You’re using Final Cut Pro now.

Magnus: Yeah, that’s true.

Dr. Gwynette: That was a learning curve.

Magnus: Learning curve, that took quite some hours watching YouTube vids and messing around with it. I made something. It made me laugh and it made me go a little bit harder on it just the way I did some of the logos on it and all that.

Dr. Gwynette: Tell the audience what a render is and why you feel like that’s going to be a game changer for the news network.

Magnus: A render is a group that makes something, let’s say a camera studio and it looks all nice and shiny with the music and it just zooms in and out. There are other different ones.

Dr. Gwynette: I turn on ESPN. It’ll be like boom. There’ll be letters going by and stars. Is that a render?

Magnus: Yeah, that’s a render.

Dr. Gwynette: You’re going to build one of those for the news network.

Magnus: Yeah. You guys will see that new render on our network soon enough. Hopefully, it’ll go with the outro as well. I hope you guys like that. I’m still working on it. I’ve been working on it for hours now. It’s a lot of hard work honestly.

Dr. Gwynette: It sure is. You’re right. You get a 15-second piece of render or video and people don’t realize it was four hours of work, these 15 seconds.

Magnus: Yeah, definitely.

Dr. Gwynette: Well, cool. Just to sum up, we’re here with Magnus. He shared a little bit of his individual experience and viewpoints on cannabis for treatment of his chronic pain. We talked a little bit about how that may impact his autism and, of course, just to reiterate, we’re just having a discussion here. As a psychiatrist, I can’t recommend that anyone try cannabis or CBD oil because there’s no evidence behind it for a population. We don’t have standardized rigorous placebo controlled trials, but those are being conducted and we look forward to seeing the results of those. Ultimately when those results are published in peer reviewed journals, we’ll be able to have more definitive things to say about the potential for use of cannabis and CBD in patients with autism. Magnus, any closing words of wisdom?

Magnus: I guess we’ll see you guys soon with more people from our network.

Dr. Gwynette: Yeah. Thanks for being here. See you next time.

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