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Jayden David, 6, gives his father, Jason, a hug before going to sleep.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times

To help control symptoms of his epilepsy, Jayden takes a solution made mostly of cannabidiol, or CBD, the second-most prominent of marijuana's 100 or so cannabinoids.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times

David gives Jayden drops of the cannabidiol solution four times a day. Cannabidiol, or CBD, is not psychoactive -- it doesn't make him high.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times

David sits with his son during a haircut. Jayden’s seizures have been much reduced since he began taking cannabidiol.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times

Jayden watches a children's program on a DVD player. The cannabidiol seems to have helped him greatly, but the country's mainstream medical community has not embraced it -- one doctor said the alternative medicine is "not something I can ethically recommend."

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times

When Jayden was 1 1/2 years old, he was diagnosed with Dravet syndrome, a form of infant epilepsy described in medical literature as catastrophic and potentially fatal.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times

Jayden gets a hug from his father.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times

David takes Jayden to a gym for a swim. He says that would have been impossible before he began treating Jayden's epilepsy with cannabidiol.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times

David calms Jayden during their swim.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times

Jayden watches a DVD as his father talks on the phone at their home.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times

Jayden takes four prescription pills a day -- down from 22. This fall, he is being mainstreamed in school for an hour a day, his speech therapy is progressing, and he hugs anyone who asks.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times

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To treat son's epilepsy, a father turns to medical marijuana

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To treat son’s epilepsy, a father turns to medical marijuana

Topamax. Depakote. Phenobarbital. The list goes on. Before Jayden David turned 5, he had tried a dozen powerful medications to tame a rare form of epilepsy. The side effects were devastating.
There were grand mal seizures that lasted more than an hour. Hundreds of times a day, muscle twitches contorted his impish face.

“If he wasn’t sleeping, he was seizing,” said Jayden’s father, Jason David.

Feeling helpless, David said, he contemplated suicide. He prayed. Then one day he heard about a teenager who was expelled from school for using marijuana to help control seizures.

So began the pair’s journey into California’s medical cannabis culture.

In the 14 months since, the little boy has been swallowing droppers full of a solution made mostly of cannabidiol, or CBD, the second most prominent of marijuana’s 60 or so cannabinoids. Unlike the dominant THC, cannabidiol is not psychoactive, so the sweet-tasting infusion Jayden takes four times a day doesn’t make him high.

Down from 22 prescription pills per day to four, he now eats solid food, responds to his father’s incessant requests for kisses and dances in his Modesto living room to the “Yo Gabba Gabba!” theme song. The frequency and intensity of his seizures have been greatly reduced.

Read the full story: To treat son’s epilepsy, man goes to the frontier of medical pot

— Lee Romney


  1. September 14, 2012, 4:14 am

    Good for this dad, marijuana works wonders for epilepsy. Prohibition is the only thing dangerous about marijuana but our corrupt government and police will not let their private form of welfare go. They prefer to funnel trillions to cartels and street gangs, putting us all in danger. They prefer to put YOU in jail, tear apart your family and give your kids to some Sandusky, and assassinate your pets. Marijuana is harmless but prohibition will kill you!

    By: common sense
  2. September 14, 2012, 11:01 pm

    This story is one great example of a breakthrough in medical science. Marijuana and hemp products should stay legal for medical purposes and possibly other things. The medicinal and health and wellness benefits of CBD can be obtained by anyone, anywhere in the United States online at

    By: marct950
  3. September 25, 2012, 7:00 am

    Find country where it is possible… and migrate.

    By: qtbqoyuhaqtbve
  4. July 23, 2013, 2:01 pm

    If you know that country let me know too…

    By: Sağlık
  5. September 27, 2012, 11:12 pm

    “Find country where it is possible… and migrate.”

    …said the person who has no clue about the real issues at stake. Do you realize that the Cartels were heavily against the last Cal prop to legalize marijuana, and actually funneled money to advertise against it… Did you ever think about why? Every “legal” drug out there, especially alcohol, can be abused to the point of personal devistation, with far worse effects on the body and mind than marijuana… maybe that’s why the liquor and pharmaceutical industries also heavily lobby against it… it doesn’t take a genious to connect the dots, it only takes a slightly open mind. If you ever have a close relative with cancer, I hope you have the compassion to accept open access to safe forms of medical marijuana… it has amazing medical benefits and it’s sad that they can’t put these moronic stigmas aside and find a way to maximize it.

    And please don’t respond with, “What’s next, legalize coke and meth? huh huh”… marijuana is not in that category, no matter what the 1970 Controlled Substances Act says.

    By: robinsbd
  6. February 15, 2013, 12:53 pm

    My name is Angela and I live in Saint Paul, MN. My son is in a situation very similar to Jayden David. He has polymiceogyria. A rare brain abnormality resulting in uncontrolled epilepsy. He has between 5-20 clusters of seizures a day. Each cluster contains between 30-200 individual seizures lasting 5-20 minutes. Paxton has been on over 10 medications and also tried the ketogenic diet. The stress is taking a toll on me and my husband. We are even considering moving out to CA to try to help our son. I know this is a long shot, but is there any way if putting me in contact with Jayden’s dad? I could use any support and advice I can get at this point. He publicly said things I have felt for years!



    By: Angela
  7. March 4, 2013, 9:54 am

    How often a day does your son take cannabidiol and at what dosage. Also what other meds are helping him? I'm in the same boat and it seems like nothing will help without adding sooooo many side effects.

    By: jadedjus
  8. July 16, 2013, 10:54 am

    CBD is psychoactive…

    By: jmicah76
  9. July 23, 2013, 9:25 am

    CBD is not psychoactive at all, THC is the psychoactive substance in the plant.

    By: Teddy Nseir
  10. November 4, 2013, 2:18 am

    good for the father for he makes a model to everybody how to treat right of his son.. especially when it is have a history…

  11. May 30, 2014, 8:43 am

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    an hour to 2. During the Stone Age forbidden city earlier forms

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