Turning to marijuana was a last resort for father Jason David. His young son Jayden suffered from a rare and potentially fatal form of epilepsy, and a dozen prescription medications had failed to provide any relief.
But he discovered medical marijuana as a possible solution after seeing a news report about a teenager who was expelled from school for using marijuana to help control his seizures, and learned about forms cannabis that have no psychoactive effects. David explains in a video from the Los Angeles Times:
The worst days of my life were last April. I’ve never seen Jayden so bad in my life. He was literally dying in front of my face. […]
Seeing him having seizures all day long for two months straight, nothing was helping. After he has a seizure, it really takes a toll on him. He gets back up and he just wants to play and have fun like every other child.
I asked my doctor, I know it sounds crazy, but I have a serious question. What do you think about medical marijuana for my son? And he looked at me and said, “you’ve got a life and death situation. I would try anything to save your son’s life.” I had it for two weeks and I was scared to give it to him. And I said, you know what? I’m just gonna give it to him today.
That was the first day, thank god, Jayden ever went seizure-free in his life. The prescription drugs, I feel like they made my son a zombie. Every time I take off another pill, the better he gets.
Rather than smoking the plant itself, Jayden takes a solution made up mostly of cannabidiol, or CBD, a chemical derived from marijuana. CBD has been shown to relieve several other medical conditions, including symptoms from schnizophrenia and anxiety. Cannibas has been known as a treatment for epilepsy since ancient Chinese and Ayurvedic traditions, according to the LA Times.
But the dispensary where David obtains the CBD, the largest in the nation, is now the target of a Department of Justice enforcement action. Although medical marijuana is legal in California, prosecutors are seeking to shut down Harborside Health Center under federal law. As David told told the LA Times, shutting down Harborside could have tragic consequences for Jayden: “I’ve got about a three-week supply left now and I’m running out and I need some more and I can’t find any right now. What am I gonna do? If they shut down my place, where am I supposed to get it tested? How do I know if it has mold on it? How do I know if it doesn’t have pesticides on it? How am I gonna save my son’s life?”