Rhonda is the mother of 2 children, one of which is on the autism spectrum. Born and raised in California, she graduated valedictorian of her high school class, and received a full scholarship to attended Cal State University, Long Beach. Graduating Magna Cum Laude with her BS in Biochemistry, Rhonda went on to attend UC, Irvine for her PhD in Structural Biology. Three years into her PhD program, Rhonda decided to put the PhD program on hold as she joined the workforce as Quality Control Manager at a local environmental chemistry laboratory.
After working in the lab for 10 years, Rhonda choose to leave her position as QCM and work part time in order to spend more time with her daughter who needed more support. When it came time to consider medicating her child, she knew that pharmaceuticals with their side effects were not going to be an option. So, she began to research alternative biomedical options, and being in California, cannabis came up as a suggestion by another family. In January 2016, she got a recommendation from a doctor for her daughter and was amazed by the results.
Once she began to discuss using cannabis with other families, it became obvious that her background in science was an asset to helping others understand how this type of treatment can help where other’s hands were often tied. From there Whole Plant Access for Autism (WPA4A) was formed as a local support group. As WPA4A began to grow outside the local California area, and began to require more time and monetary support, the 501(c)(3) was formed in order to better serve the community.
Jenni Ma is the mother of three adult/teen sons on the Autism spectrum. Her middle son, Nate, had an extremely difficult time managing severely aggressive and self-injurious behaviors with traditional pharmaceuticals. Cannabis has been a huge success in not only reducing these behaviors almost to the point of complete elimination, but in the total removal of psychotropic pharmaceuticals as well. At one point, Nate was taking 18 pills every single day, including extremely heavy doses of Benzodiazepines. Cannabis has been so effective that he has been able to avoid taking over 16,000 pharmaceutical pills and reduce his long-lasting insulin by 25%. Now he only uses cannabis to manage his behaviors with far greater success and continues to happily reside in his family home. Jenni partnered with Rhonda Moeller and the two formed the 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization WPA4A, Inc. (Whole Plant Access for Autism) in 2018 after informally assisting families since early 2016. They currently educate over 7,000 families and professionals worldwide. Jenni now helps these families write their own success stories with cannabis and specializes in helping those with extreme behaviors.
Jenni received her undergraduate degree from Southeast Missouri State University. She is currently pursuing her Master of Science in Nonprofit Administration from Louisiana State University – Shreveport.
We would like to provide the medical community with anecdotal evidence, through the use of parent surveys and testimonials, that using delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) alongside cannabidiol (CBD) is often the most effective dosing strategy for autism. CBD has been heavily researched for medicinal use and is currently being recommended by cannabis physicians and researchers as a possible treatment for autism. Various clinical studies are currently researching the efficacy of CBD for autism and showing promise. But what researchers and many physicians often shy away from is the use of THC for autism. Within our 6000-member support group, we have found that using CBD alone is helpful to some, but more benefits are seen when adding in products from THC dominant strains and along with products containing other cannabinoids like tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCa), cannabidiolic acid (CBDa), cannabinol (CBN) or cannabigerol (CBG). Because our families find the most benefit from using additional cannabinoids, we will continue to advocate and support the addition of autism as a qualifying condition (QC) in state medical cannabis programs. Currently there are 5 states whose medical programs allow for autism patients to access cannabis products, along with a few additional states that do not have autism as a QC but allow access to cannabis at a doctor’s discretion. CBD on its own is helpful, but it is often not enough and adding in additional cannabinoids is the key to bringing relief to these families and their loved one with autism.