MODESTO (CBS13) – “Oh my gosh! These are the new seizures Jayden’s having!”
Those are the words uttered by Jason David, a frightened father documenting his son’s seizures on cellphone video, at 4 a.m., despite the nearly two-dozen medications doctors are treating him with.
The Modesto father was at a loss — nothing he or the doctors did was helping control his 7-year-old’s seizures. He was desperate for help or else he believed his son would die.
To say Jason was desperate is an understatement, but he did what any devoted dad would do — he tried everything but ultimately found his miracle in marijuana.
“Jayden was suffering and dying and I was wearing out,” says Jason. “I was losing it.”
“I asked God for a sign,” he goes on to say, “and the first sign he showed me was medical marijuana.”Jason’s son Jayden was born “normal” but by the age of 4 months he’d suffered his first serious grand mal seizure.
“I’ve never seen anyone have a seizure before in my life and then let alone seeing your son, 4 months old, have a seizure was pretty devastating.”
He was soon suffering dozens of daily seizures some lasting 60 to 90 minutes.
Jayden was diagnosed with Dravet Syndrome an extreme form of epilepsy. And along with that came the medications, and lots of them, 22 in all. But none of them worked to control the spasms, seizures, and pain.
In fact, Jason says, they caused more problems including turning Jayden nearly catatonic.
“Not just high, our kids were zombies. God puts you on earth with a soul, when you take these medications it takes away your soul.”
“Jayden was having seizures from when he woke up to when he went to sleep, screaming and crying in pain. I was at the end. I lost everything, my house, my car, my business, my wife.”
But he was determined to not lose his son. He was at his wits-end when he says God showed him that sign.
“Actually it was on your newscast,” he remembers, saying he’d seen a story about a teen who was taking medical marijuana to control pain.
He hadn’t even considered that; now was the time. Many had already been trying a new form and strain of hemp being marketed in Colorado by the Stanley brothers. Their thick cannabis oil is called Charlotte’s Web, named after the miraculous effect it had on a young girl named Charlotte Figi and her Dravet seizures.
“The first thing we saw was that eye contact,” says her mother. “She looked at me in the eye and she was there again. And then she started talking and then she started walking.”
Her seizures had nearly stopped. And her story spread. Now desperate parents from around the country are moving to Colorado to get this cannabis oil for their children. It’s black, thick and very low in tetrahydrocannabinol, the component in pot that causes the “high.” But it’s high in Cannabidiol, or CBD.
CBD is known for having anti-inflammatory, pain relieving, and anti-psychotic benefits. It’s also naturally found in breast milk.
“They’re going to Colorado. I know it’s working for some children but it’s not working for all children.”
Jason didn’t have to leave his home in Modesto for Colorado.
“By the time Jason reached us in 2010 he was pretty much at the end of his rope,” says Rick Pfrommer, Director of Education with the Harborside Health Center in Oakland.
They claim to have re-discovered CBD in 2010 after it had been bred out of cannabis through the 80’s and 90’s to raise THC levels.
The City of Oakland regulates the sale of medical marijuana allowing Harborside to research, grow, and sell various forms of the plant.
Over many months of trial and error Harborside was able to develop a special formulation for Jayden.
Jason says, “They’re making it Jayden Juice, for Jayden.”
Right on the tincture’s bottle, Jayden Juice says it contains only 0.5 percent THC and 16 percent CBD. And the results have taken Jayden from suffering 500 seizures a week, and enduring hour-long grand-mals, and downing dozens of medications a day to a slight fraction of all that today.
“Thank God. Since we started using cannabis the worst seizure ever has been 20 minutes,” says Jason. “Now his average seizure lasts between 5 to 20 seconds.”
“With my son, he’s not perfect. He’s trying to talk. He’s becoming human again. We’re losing sedation.”
It’s been a long and draining process, but Jayden’s seizures are down 90 percent since using cannabis oil and weaning off all but two medications.
“First day I gave it to Jayden was the first day he ever went seizure free in his life, after 4-and-a-half years. He had a seizure every day. I thank God. It was one of the best days of our lives.”
But he politics of pot are still a force. The American Medical Association says “…cannabis is a dangerous drug and … public health concern… and …discourages cannabis use…”
But it takes a more optimistic approach for medical cannabis calling for “…further adequate and well-controlled studies of marijuana and related cannabinoids…”
It has not commented on CBD oil.
And last week the American Academy of Neurology said for the first time “…medical marijuana taken orally … can be an effective treatment for spasms, muscle tightness, and pain.”
“And he’s happy,” smiles Jason. “I mean the number one thing is seeing your child happy. There’s nothing more better [sic]. I mean look how happy he is.”
A marijuana miracle.
This dad knows cannabis saved his son’s life and believes will save many more. So on this day, Jayden dances with dad when dad kneels down, and opens his arms to embrace a very willing son.
“Where’s daddy’s hugs and kisses? I love you.”
This is a lot of anecdotal, not scientific, evidence to the effects CBD has on various afflictions. Parents nationwide are demanding access to CBD-rich products, and researchers are responding by stepping up their efforts to verify its efficacy and safety.
As for Jason, he’s got parents and doctors worldwide calling him for advice – he’s a man on a new mission, one to help kids.