Jason David’s son, Jayden, was diagnosed as an infant with Dravet Syndrome, a rare form of life-long epilepsy categorized by frequent and prolonged high-intensity seizures that are often drug-resistant. Even so, by his fifth birthday, doctors had prescribed Jayden 22 anti-seizure pills per day that left him nearly immobilized. Still, Jayden continued to experience multiple daily grand mal seizures lasting over an hour that caused violent muscle contractions and temporary loss of consciousness. He also experienced less severe myoclonic seizures consistently throughout the day. As a father, Jason felt defeated, having held his convulsing son countless times since his first seizure when he was just a tiny and perfect four-month-old boy.
It’s a heartbreaking sight for anyone. And as a parent who wants nothing more than to protect their child, severe seizures are a soul-crushing experience that leaves most feeling helpless and out of control. The daily trauma pushed Jason to consider suicide, but instead, he decided to fight.
Feeling as if the doctors and medical system was failing he and his son, Jason began attending different support groups and seminars throughout the country to learn more about Jayden’s condition and how other parents supported their child’s well being. “It was eye-opening and I really learned a lot,” Jason says. “Everything comes from the autoimmune system. It’s about learning to balance the pieces because your sick kid is kind of like a broken puzzle.”
After more than four years of daily seizures, 42 times in an ambulance, and 300 shots of rectal valium to rescue Jayden from the intense full-body convulsions, Jason began researching Cannabidiol (CBD) and medical marijuana. He reviewed countless studies reporting on its ability to act as a neuroprotectant and even discovered that the Department of Health and Human Services had filed for a patent. In 2011 Jason purchased a CBD tincture from a state-licensed dispensary in Oakland and held onto it for two weeks before deciding to give the holistic treatment a try. “And that was Jayden’s first seizure-free day since the diagnosis,” says Jason.
Jason continued providing Jayden CBD for a month as he monitored his son’s progress. After weeks of consistent reductions in seizures, the single-dad decided to begin slowly weaning Jayden off of the 22 pills he took daily. “The pharmaceuticals were really impacting his quality of life. He wasn’t eating, walking, communicating,” describes Jason. Every day Jayden teetered between non-responsive or excitably upset demonstrating severe autism-like tendencies. As his dad slowly removed the pills from Jayden’s daily routine, he began smiling, chewing, and walking. “Each time we eliminated a pill, Jayden became more human.”
With so much progress made, Jason was frantic when the same CBD brand he had purchased and administered seemed to be less effective. Confused, Jason had the product lab tested for potency and the results were unsettling. “That batch contained no CBD,” he notes.
Because of inconsistencies in dispensary products due to a lack of state-mandated regulatory testing at the time, Jason again opted to take matters into his own hands to ensure his son continued to progress via pure and quality-consistent medical marijuana. Jason began consulting Dr. William Courtney, a physician respected globally for his work in pediatric cancer treatment with cannabis. Dr. Courtney educated Jason on the medicinal properties of the cannabis plant, as well as the importance of ratios and testing.
Following continued education and a few trial and error runs, Jason began consistently producing ‘Jayden’s Juice’, a high-quality 20:1 full-plant extract. He had the batches tested at labs to ensure safety and quality prior to administering the tincture to Jayden. And each day, Jayden improved.
Jason began speaking up about his son’s success with medical marijuana at Dravet Syndrome Foundation conferences and support groups he frequented, but he didn’t receive the response he expected. “I wanted to share my story in hopes of helping other parents and kids suffering through this, but I was kicked out of various meetings in different states,” he explains. Jason was ahead of his time.
Within a year Jason and Jayden’s story received national recognition through CNN and later on Weed Wars, a documentary series. In June 2015 the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved a cannabidiol (CBD) oral solution, produced by GW Pharmaceuticals and marketed under the drug name Epidiolex, for treatment of Dravet Syndrome, epilepsy, and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome in patients aged two years and older.
At the start of 2016, Jason opened the doors of Jayden’s Journey, a state-licensed dispensary located in Modesto. Here, all card-holding patients and the family’s of children suffering from serious illness are welcome to explore the possibilities of treatment with quality medical marijuana products. The dispensary provides not just the product, but continued support and education through monthly group meetings for pediatric patients with epilepsy and various autoimmune disorders, as well as veterans suffering from PTSD. “When a child is sick, the whole family is sick,” says Jason, a reality he himself has lived.
The production of the Jayden’s Juice Brand and the founding of the Jayden’s Journey storefront continues to provide an opportunity to spread Jayden’s story in hopes of helping other families and children who are suffering and feeling lost in the mainstream medical system.
It took nearly three years to wean Jayden off of the 22 pills doctors prescribed. It’s hard to believe that the smiling boy is the same who was held by his heartbroken father for nearly 200 seizures a day throughout the first five years of his life. Today, Jayden receives Jayden’s Juice products daily to keep seizures to a minimum and continues to have many seizure-free days.
Jayden’s Journey Dispensary
5054 Pentecost Dr. Ste. E, Modesto
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DRAVET SYNDROME: University of Washington’s departments of Pharmacology and Psychiatry tested CBD’s ability to effectively reduce seizures in a well-validated mouse genetic model of Dravet Syndrome. Mice who were given CBD prior to thermally induced seizures experienced shorter and less severe seizures than the mice who did not receive CBD. Mice who received CBD twice daily as a preventative measure experienced a 70 percent reduction in the frequency of seizures. Source: ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
AUTISM: US National Library of Medicine and National Center for Biotechnology Information has published numerous studies reporting on CBD’s effect on comorbid symptoms of autism such as aggression, self-injury, hyperactivity, and anxiety. A January 2019 clinical trial reported a 67.6 percent improvement in comorbid symptoms of children with Autism at a median age of 11. Source: ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
To learn more about medical marijuana clinical studies and case reports visit: cannabis-med.org