When he was just 10 months old, Puerto Rico-based Kalel Santiago was diagnosed with a rare form of childhood cancer. known as neuroblastoma, and spent more than two years undergoing surgery, chemotherapy and radiation treatments.  When he was 3, Kalel was pronounced cancer-free, however, the joy of winning the painful battle against the deadly disease was short-lived. He was diagnosed with severe, non-verbal autism. Some children with non-verbal autism have difficulty speaking, while others just don’t speak. Kalel fell into the second category.

Abiel Gomez Santiago, Kalel’s father, told Yahoo News: “While he was in the hospital, we noticed he didn’t speak at all and had some behavior that wasn’t right, like hand flapping, and walking on his toes. But we waited until he was 3 and cancer-free to look at his behavior.”

Abiel and his wife Gladys then began studying non-verbal autism, as well as trying to find any and all therapies that could help ease their son’s disorder. Since they wanted Kalel to begin schooling, they got him admitted to a unique surf-therapy school near their home. Thereafter, through an April fundraising event, the parents stumbled upon a new, yet controversial treatment that claims to dramatically alleviate symptoms of both epilepsy and autism: Hemp Health, a hemp oil that is rich in the compound cannabidiol (CBD).