PUBLISHED: 13:01 03 October 2019 | UPDATED: 15:06 03 October 2019
Emily Thomson (staff)
A Thetford mother has described how a cannabis product has changed her autistic son’s life and has allowed them to be a family again.
Victoria Adlam and Robert McGrath, of Edith Cavell Close, are the parents to nine-year-old Alfie McGrath who has autism.
Alfie’s autism means he suffers from severe stress and anxiety in social situations causing him to lose sleep, lash out and lose his temper.
But as their son grew, it became more difficult to cope with his breakdowns.
The mother-of-three said: “Alfie started Drake Primary School and they had a unit called the pod but he didn’t like it and couldn’t really cope, his anxiety levels shot up and he started refusing to go to school.
“He became violent towards me and would head-bang glass doors. He just found life very stressful. It was heartbreaking to watch him like that. I would try to stop him and then he would end up hitting me. It was a real low point in our lives.”
After reaching out to doctors, consultants and various charities, Alfie’s parents tried desperately to get him the help he needed.
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It was then when Alfie’s godfather Jamie Jarrett, co-owner of cbDNA based in Thetford, suggested the family look into using cannabis-based CBD products for his anxiety.
Cannabidiol, (CBD) is a chemical compound found in the cannabis plant which is legal within the UK. This is because it does not contain THC, the main psychoactive ingredient in cannabis.
Research into the effects of CBD is still in its infancy, but it has had some effect in treating specific childhood epilepsy syndromes and it is commonly used to address anxiety and insomnia.
“I was unsure at first, but I started doing a lot of research into CBD products,” said Ms Adlam.
“We bought CBD oil that you spray under the tongue from Holland and Barrett, which wasn’t very strong and we noticed he was would calm down at night. But then Jamie introduced us to the products he was selling, which was a stronger dosage.
“Within a few months he was sleeping through the night, going to school, his reading improved and he had a lot more control over his anger. It changed his life and ours. It was amazing.”
In a recent documentary, Liberal Democrat MP for North Norfolk, Sir Norman Lamb, travelled to Canada to see the effects of cannabis oil and has called for the legalisation of cannabis.
Sir Norman said: “People around the world talk about the beneficial impact of cannabis in a range of circumstances but clearly, in this case, Victoria’s experience with her son Alfie seems to be very powerful. It reinforces for me the need to move away from the standard reaction of fear of cannabis products.
“This little lad who has been taking CBD oil is an amazing example of what it can do.”