California Pot Crackdown Threatens a Child's Health - Rolling Stone
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California Pot Crackdown Threatens a Child’s Health

Six-year-old needs marijuana-derived drug to treat his debilitating seizures

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With the federal government continuing to crack down on California’s medical marijuana program, a young boy’s health is now at risk. The Los Angeles Times reports that a six-year-old living with debilitating seizures in Modesto, California, may soon lose access to the marijuana-derived medication that had been helping him.

Six-year-old Jayden David was diagnosed with Dravet syndrome, a “catastrophic” and “potentially life-threatening” seizure disorder, before he was even two years old. Often unable to eat or respond to those around him, Jayden was so sick he would sometimes scream out in fear. His family tried a variety of treatment and doctors, but lived in hopelessness until they discovered Cannabidiol (CBD) – a relatively little-known, non-psychotropic component of cannabis that offers many of weed’s medical benefits without the high of THC. After 14 months of treatment, CBD has reduced Jayden’s number of prescriptions from 22 to four, and he is acting more and more like an average child: eating, speaking and cheerfully singing along to Yo Gabba Gabba!

This July, the Department of Justice’s ongoing crackdown on California’s medical pot programs made forfeiture threats against the one dispensary that had been helping Jayden live a normal life. Harborside Health Center, the largest medical marijuana provider in the country, worked tirelessly with Jayden to develop a medication just right for him: a 1-19 ratio of THC to CBD.  Extracted from the cannabis plant and into a sweet, liquid form, Jayden’s medical marijuana was absorbed orally, not smoked. 

Harborside was not charging the family for their services, but a month’s worth of Jayden’s medication could cost his family $310-$450. What’s more, Jayden’s father told the L.A. Times, most other dispensaries are clueless about CBD and CBD-high strains. But CBD has been used to treat a variety of serious illnesses, including multiple sclerosis and Alzheimer’s along with seizure disorders like Jayden’s. For Jayden’s father, CBD and its remarkable impact on his son was the difference between suicidal thoughts and the will to live. As a parish security guard at the family’s church told the Times, Jayden’s progress has been “from Earth to heaven.” Without Harborside, his family may now be forced to watch that progress reversed.

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