(KCEN) -- The parents of an autistic 11-year-old boy are using a controversial treatment to manage his severe outbursts.
Alex Echols is severely autistic and his self-destructive behavior is brought on by tuberous sclerosis.
It causes growth in organs, and for Alex, it's primarily in his brain.
When Alex gets in one of his intense, self-directed rages, he hits his face until it's black and blue.
As a last resort after trying several treatments, his parents looked into medical marijuana.
They give him a liquid form of it three times a week.
Alex's father, Jeremy Echols, said, "He went from hitting himself, bloodying his face, within an hour, hour and a half, he would be playing with toys, using his hands. Something that at that time was almost unheard of."
The American Academy of Pediatrics is against using medical marijuana on children and say the drug is toxic to the developing brain and there is not enough information about it's long term effects.
The Echols say they do not advocate the use of it for all autistic children but say the treatment might not seem so extreme if you walk a mile in their shoes.