The cannabis plant produces much more than a recreational drug.
For decades many have utilized the plant for medicinal purposes and while not completely embraced by medical professionals, research has shown that the CBD cannabinoid can have positive impact on those with health issues.
The cannabis – more commonly known as marijuana – plant hosts two cannabinoids which are most prevalent. The first being CBD (cannabidiol), known as a non-psychoactive and THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), which is a psychoactive and solicits the “high” feeling which is the common perception of feeling from marijuana.
Studies have shown that proper usage of CBD can help treat a number of ailments including: Alzheimer’s, cancer, Crohn’s disease, multiple sclerosis, glaucoma, anxiety, inflammatory disease, epilepsy and seizures.
Some in the 209 might say, no one knows this better than the 209’s medical marijuana pioneer Jason David, a father and founder of Jayden’s Journey, a Modesto-based dispensary.
First and foremost, David is a father and it is through the love for his son, Jayden, that he found himself not just learning but positively affecting the lives of others through medicinal marijuana.
“Jayden is a little 15-year-old angel; I now thank God he’s alive, I’m very blessed,” David said of his son. “It’s beautiful. All he wants to do is hug, kiss and dance and eat a lot. He’s just something very special.”
At the age of six months old, after receiving a vaccine, David shared his son began having uncontrollable seizures. He was later diagnosed with Dravet Syndrome, a rare and catastrophic form of epilepsy developed in the first year of life.
“That’s the day I lost my son,” David said. “He’s non-verbal but one of my things I’ve always wanted was I want to hear him say I love you.”
While that is a dream not yet realized, through taking matters in his own hands versus relying on doctors, David has had many memorable moments with his son, most especially in the past 11 years.
The single dad shared he didn’t believe Jayden’s problems were from Dravet Syndrome, but rather the thousands of pills used to treat him.
“Taking a child to a doctor is like taking a car to a mechanic. You go to the mechanic 40, 50, 60 times and they’re not fixing the car,” he said, “it’s time to find a new mechanic. Or it’s time to get tools and get an instruction book or seeing people that did fix their cars. Ask them how they fixed theirs.”
That would prove to be the path for the former manager of Fred Meyers Jewelers. As his feeling of helplessness grew and his son’s seizures never subsided, David turned to Google and some recreational marijuana one night following a pivotal doctor’s appointment.
“He said Jayden is the worst case I’ve ever seen,” David said, noting a visit to UCSH when Jayden was four. “I think you’re in a life and death situation. I think you should try it. Try whatever you can.”
Through his Google search, he came upon a high school student using cannabis to help control his Tourette’s syndrome. While an unorthodox remedy at the time, David shared he felt it was worth the risk. With a strong discontent for the effects synthetic drugs were having on his son, with no visible results, David first tried a CBD/THC oil combination.
“The first time I gave it to him was the first time Jayden had gone a day seizure free since the day he got that vaccine,” David shared, emotion filling his voice.
The oil, he explained, that he first tried was high in CBD.
“It was trial and error. Back then it was like a six to one ratio, that would be good for Jayden,” he shared.
The result of his “trial and error” proved to be positive, as Jayden went four days seizure free.
David’s finding combined with the age of his son, quickly began gaining media attention and while most was favorable, not all was the case.
In time, the father searching for a better way of life for his son would be challenged by Child Protective Services and county officials for “placing his son in danger.”
“To me cannabis is traditional medicine and they switched it, because alternative medicine is actually chemicals,” he said. “They make everything backwards and we don’t even realize it. How is it alternative, it’s been here for 5000 years.”
In 2016, after a four month paid hiatus from his job as jewelry store manager, as well as some time on unemployment to pour all he had into finding the right combination of CBD and THC to give his son a better life, David opened Jayden’s Journey and began helping others just like themselves.
“The way I look at it is; I have a tool. I have a tool that might help you, but you’re going to have to try and fix it yourself with the right amount,” he shared of proper dosing. “It’s not one size fits all. You’re not going to see the results right away. To get off the pills is hell, but there is a light at the end of the tunnel.”
David admits that not all parents were ready to jump on board and begin weening their children from traditional dosing. Through testimonials, as well as visible difference in clients transitioned from pharmaceuticals, more began to try.
The father shared he would encourage the parents to take the pills they were giving their kids and see how they felt. Most declined. In turn he would also encourage them to take cannabis and see how they felt.
“They’d say eating, sleeping and being happy were the side effects,” David chuckled of reports back from parents using cannabis. “Those aren’t side effects, those are side benefits. Those are necessities of life. We all need to eat good, we all need to sleep good and we all need to be happy.”
The medicinal marijuana pioneer shared in his opinion more people die from overdoses, liver failure, kidney failure.
“People coming here aren’t sick, they’re sick from side effects,” he said of his clients. “That’s what I’ve noticed and that’s why we do what we do.”
Through years of research as well as trial and error, David and his business partner David Stewart created Jayden’s Juice, an oil which is now benefitting a number of clients and their families.
“It’s all about dosing. Start loading, you move up and down until you find what works,” he said.
David added that it’s always important to remember all bodies are different.
“You have to read your body,” he said.
Now 14-plus years later, David said the thing he cherishes most through all of this, is time.
“There’s nothing more valuable for me than time,” David said. “Our life is not perfect, but our quality of life is one million times better.
“He’s taught me so much about life, about being kind,” David continued of his son. “I’ve learned how to be more patient. He’s taught me how to love better, how to help more people. How to have better faith and how to take something negative and turn it into a positive.”