Kalel Santiago, a 9-year old from Puerto Rico, was diagnosed with neuroblasoma – a rare type of cancer at the age of 10 months. While still an infant, the boy had to undergo through severe cancer treatments (chemotherapy, series of surgeries etc.), which took almost three tears to fully complete. Though cancer was beaten, psychological impact proved to be excessive, and the new diagnosis came: non-verbal autism.
Abiel and Gladys Santiago, Kalel’s parents, who also have two older sons, began to notice the boy’s strange behavior during the course of cancer treatments. Exhausting procedures required pain and mood management, but doctors did not allow additional medications, as not to contradict with fighting the main problem, which, at the time, was cancer. As a three-year old, Kalel never produced a sound, let alone forming words, so the parents began to try everything at their disposal to help their child develop verbal communication. Special schools and psychological therapies showed very little progress, and, out of desperation, the parents tried an unlikely remedy, which proved fantastically effecctive – cannabinoid oil.
Although hemp oil is anecdotally known to ease autism or epilepsy symptoms, there is currently very little clinical evidence. But as Abiel and Gladys began to feed Kalel with light doses, as per label indications, the boy started talking – and only after two days of treatment! Vowels came out first, and the parents were on the seventh heaven to hear their son’s voice for the first time. After two weeks of intensive school exercise, and continuing CBD-oil ingestion, the boy learned to produce consonants and was saying his first words.
More surprisingly, the product which became a remedy for the Santiago family, was not even the original CBD oil, made of cultivated marijuana (cannabis flowers), but a cheaper low-concentrate substitute, derived from industrial hemp (stalks, seeds etc.). This oli sells for $40 per ounce, which is sufficient for 3 months if used by one person, and unlike the original CBD oil, was never tested clinically on adults, let alone the minors. But with Kalel Santiago, the result speaks for itself – the boy showed impeccable progress, shocking not only his parents, but also Dr. Giovanni Martinez, a renowned autism therapist, who struggled for years to extract a single sound from the child.
‘Of course, this [success] does not mean we should give [CBD oil] to every kid’, Martinez shared in his interview. ‘In most of the states, the thing is still illegal. But what we should definitely do is allow and encourage more research and gather proof in this field of study.’ One couldn’t agree more.