A 6-year-old boy with epilepsy has been suffering fewer seizures since taking medical marijuana.
The video with this story is hard to watch. In it, Jayden is having an epileptic seizure.
His father, Jason David, explains what it’s like to hold his son when he’s screaming.
“I would say hell,” said David. “There’s nothing you can do to make him feel better.”
But there is something.
David administers an unorthodox drug for his son’s catastrophic epilepsy, called Dravet syndrome — a disease that can be fatal for children.
Some 45 minutes after giving Jayden the drug, not only did it calm him down, David said it stopped the seizure.
“He’s in pain and suffering and crying,” he said. “You have to do whatever it takes to save their life.”
Pharmaceutical drugs have failed the Modesto, Calif., family.
“He couldn’t chew. He couldn’t walk. He couldn’t take a bath,” said David.
After a year of taking a liquid form of medical marijuana — made mostly of cannabidiol that doesn’t get you high — Jayden’s playing, running and climbing.
Jayden is also eating solid food.
From 22 pills a day to treat his epilepsy, he’s down to a pill and a half.
And there were 44 ambulance trips before starting on legal medical marijuana. Yet, now it’s down to zero.
“Miracle marijuana, instead of medical marijuana,” said David, referring to what he calls the treatment.
And Jayden is not the only one.
There are no solid national figures of how many sick children are using medical marijuana, but where it’s legal — from Oregon to Montana — states report dozens of registered users under the age of 18, some as young as 2.
A vault full of various types of medicinal marijuana exists at Harborside Health Center in Oakland, where technicians sort, analyze and distill the plant.
It’s science here, and they believe it will help children with severe autism, epilepsy, ADHD and cancer.
“We have seen more than one child like Jayden who came to us with very, very serious life-threatening illnesses, who — as soon as they started using cannabis medicine — saw a dramatic turnaround,” said Steve DeAngelo, executive director at Harborside Health Center.
The medical community said that without better research, which requires federal support, most doctors oppose medical marijuana for children.
“All medications may have side effects, may have long-term consequences,” said pediatrician Dr. Seth Ammerman. “Unfortunately, with cannabinoids, we know very little about that.
Call David crazy. Call him unethical. The father has heard it all — except for one phrase.
“All I want is my son to say, ‘I love you’ back,” said David. “That’s all I want to hear … I’m really close.”
He’s close to finally reaching his son.