California Dad Says Marijuana Saved Epileptic Son
Modesto, California father Jason David is a good dad. After
watching crying my way through this video, I wondered what I would do in a similar situation, and I am not (yet) even a parent. A more jaded, guy’s-guy friend and father of two young boys sent me the YouTube clip with only the warning “I am a complete (expletive) mess after watching this. How is this even real?”
David’s son Jayden was born with a rare disease called Dravet Syndrome, also known as Severe Myoclonic Epilepsy of Infancy. His incomprehensible suffering began almost as soon as he was born, at just four months old. At the time of this blog post, roughly 800 infants have been diagnosed with the condition. Precious little is known about Dravet Syndrome, but one thing becomes apparent while watching the video…prescription medication only minimally addresses the symptoms. A painful condition by all accounts, Jayden was having upwards of 50 seizures on an average day, and hundreds of shorter myoclonic seizures back to back on bad days. Many were Grand Mal seizures, characterized by their violent muscle contractions and loss of consciousness.
His father stood by helplessly and watched Jayden in so much pain that the boy couldn’t eat or sleep, sometimes crying for eight continuous hours. The only approved treatment to minimize his symptoms included a daily regimen of twenty-two anti seizure pills. I am unaware of any studies out there that address the long term effects of twenty-two prescription pills a day on the mind and body of a child.
After 45 trips in an ambulance, over 25,000 pills administered and thousands of seizures, David wondered if he was hurting Jayden more than helping him. Frustratingly out of answers, and only after losing his house, his cars, his savings, his business, and his sense of family, he explored the use of medicinal marijuana in the form of an oil known as CBD (cannabidiol). He feared that the worst was yet to come, and did not know what to expect.
What he got in return, surprisingly, was his child’s life. Immediately. Jayden’s first day without a seizure was the first day his father administered the treatment. After 21 different combinations of 12 different medications, and after being addicted to benzodiazepines since he was 15 months old, Jayden is now down to taking one and one half pills a day with the oil to manage his disease. He is able to chew now, after being fed only Gerber baby food until he was 5 years old. His father says that he can now swim, play, focus, concentrate, communicate, and enjoy being a child because of CBD oil.
Classified as non-psychoactive, CBD oil is made of just one of the more than sixty variable compounds found in medical marijuana. What sets it apart from it’s smokable cousin is the intentional exclusion of most of the compounds that create the “high” feeling that recreational users seek from marijuana. THC, the mind-altering chemical most often associated with marijuana, can be genetically minimized from a botanical standpoint when growing the plant itself. When the plant is processed, even more THC can be removed from the final product. With a little internet research, I actually kept coming across the advice of recreational users against using CBD oil if they wanted to get high. The medicinal qualities most often attributed to CBD oil are anti-tumoral and anti cancer, antiemetic (reduces nausea and vomiting), anti-inflammatory, and anti-convulsory (reduces seizures), as in Jayden’s case.
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