Autistic teen's life improved by medical marijuana, parents say: 'He said 'mama'… I'd been hoping for that for 18 years'

Autistic teen's life improved by medical marijuana, parents say: 'He said 'mama'… I'd been hoping for that for 18 years'

ELMIRA, Ore. -- The issue of medical marijuana continues to make headlines here in Oregon as the House approved a bill allowing cities to "opt out" of marijuana dispensaries.

The bill approved Wednesday that would let local governments control the hours and locations of medical marijuana stores within individual cities and counties. The bill would also let city officials ban the pot stores from their area until May of 2015.

As the debate heats up across the state, parents Jimmy and Maria Ferris say marijuana treatment has dramatically improved the life of their 18-year-old son Kyle.

Kyle has severe autism. Jimmy said his son Kyle was unresponsive to most medications, and continued to suffer multiple seizures a day with very little change in his behavior.

"I summed up the courage to ask his doctor about medicinal marijuana," Jimmy said.

Both parents agree, medicinal marijuana use made for a very positive change in Kyle's life. 

He went from having around 10 seizures a day to having none, Maria said. For 18 years he had never waved goodbye, or even spoke to his parents.

"He woke up and started to communicate," Maria said. "He said 'mama'. That was the most wonderful thing I've ever heard… I'd been hoping for that for 18 years."

The parents told our news team Kyle has been going to the same neurologist since he was three months old.

"The last time that he saw the doctor he actually turned to the doctor and waved and said goodbye," said Maria. "He was amazed at that, (Kyle) had never done anything like it."