Why I Still Give My 11-Year-Old Marijuana Marie Myung-Ok Lee calls experiment 'a qualified success' By Evann Gastaldo, Newser Staff Posted May 17, 2011 11:58 AM CDT 42 comments Comments A worker touches plants at a cannabis greenhouse. (Getty Images) (Newser) – Marie Myung-Ok Lee has been giving her autistic 11-year-old son medical marijuana for two years now, and judging from some of the responses she’s received from people who read her columns, “I will not be up for Mother of the Year any time soon,” she writes on Slate. But she doesn’t care about that as much as she cares about the fact that her son woke up the other day “and wanted a hug—the boy who formerly woke us with a scream of pain. The boy who, since he was 3 years old, never gave us hugs or let himself be hugged, because he couldn't bear to be touched.” In addition to allowing him to avoid the powerful psychotropic drugs—and their serious side effects—normally prescribed in similar circumstances, her son’s medical cannabis regimen has allowed Lee and her family to enjoy trips to the beach, the farmers’ market, and the zoo. “[We] can actually enjoy each other, rather than being held hostage by his autism in a house full of screams, destruction, and three very unhappy people,” she writes. Of course, there have been setbacks, but there have also been triumphs—like when her son finally learned to ride a bike—and she’s ready to call the marijuana treatment “a qualified success.” Click here and here for more from the early days of Lee’s experiment.