Marijuana From Mom: Mother Says Drug Helps Son Cope with Severe OCD

To treat his severe OCD, a 12-year-old California boy takes marijuana.

ByABC News
July 22, 2010, 12:18 PM

July 23, 2010— -- Last year, 12-year-old Ryan Mendoza's obsessive compulsive disorder became so bad, his mother said, that his triggers -- the wind and spotting the number "6" -- would drive him to have crippling and violent meltdowns.

Completely incapacitated by his disorder, the boy was not responding to numerous drug therapies and he became despondent, said Judy Mendoza. On one occasion, when she pulled into her driveway, Ryan ran out of the house, threw himself on the hood of her car, and begged her to kill him, she recalled.

"I want you to run me down," she said he told her. "I don't want to live anymore. I don't want to live with this OCD anymore.'"

Determined to do anything she could to relieve her son's suffering, Mendoza said she finally decided to resort to a radical option -- medical marijuana.

Mendoza could consider this controversial course of treatment because she lives in California, one of 14 states where the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes is legal when recommended by a doctor.

"My first gut reaction was, 'Oh, my God. [Giving my child marijuana] seems really out there,'" she said. "That seems drastic."

Yet Mendoza felt she had exhausted all of the other options available to help her son. Even anti-psychotic medications did not work. Her decision came down to one question: "What do I really have to lose?"

Rather than smoke the drug, children who are prescribed medical marijuana take a form of the herb that hardly resembles the mixture of dried leaves, stems and seeds typically smoked by marijuana users.

Instead, the drug is infused into butters or breads, or concentrated in liquid form, called a "tincture," that can be placed under the tongue for more rapid effect.