PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A Narberth woman who uses medical marijuana to help ease the effects of her 12-year-old son’s autism helped broker a key research partnership between a South Pacific company and Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

Erica Daniels was nearly at wit’s end in trying to find ways to ease her son Leo’s autism symptoms. And then, she came upon marijuana – or rather a substance in the plant called Cannabidiol.

(credit: Ed Cunicelli)

Daniels says the use of the “medication” to help her son find relief and has the permission of state health authorities to use it while Pennsylvania launches its medical marijuana industry.

“I’ve noticed differences in his language, in his mood, in our ability to just be a family,” she says. “The quality of life for him and our whole family has dramatically changed.”

Thanks to her autism advocacy and a connection with Zelda Therapeutics, an Australian biopharma company, Daniels was able to get CHOP to sign on for an observational research study of children using medical marijuana for autism.