Purple Day Increases Awareness of Cannabis Effectiveness in Treating Epilepsy
March 26 was Purple Day - dedicated to increasing awareness about epilepsy worldwide. In Modesto dozens of families with children who suffer from the illness gathered to celebrate a treatment they say really works -- using marijuana infused oil.
From the outside of Jayden's Journey in northern Modesto, you wouldn't be able to tell it's where kids are getting pot. On the inside, you'd have to search for the signs it's a medical marijuana dispensary. The room where products are sold is behind a closed door, while balloons, a photo-booth and even a bouncy house are all placed throughout the common area.
For kids like 8-year-old Zoe Ridenour, who suffers from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, attention deficit disorder extreme, the drug is improving their lives.
"I went up four grade levels in school," Ridenour said.
Her mother Sherry Poe said Zoe's life was drastically different on prescription drugs.
"She started getting tics, crying all the time," Poe said. "At one point she told me she didn't want to live anymore."
But just a few drops of the cannabis-infused oil a day, and a year-and-a-half later there's been a vast improvement.
"She sleeps, she's gained weight," Poe said. "She's happy, she smiles, she laughs."
A similar outcome is shared by many families who came to Jayden's Journey on Sunday.
"(My son's) epilepsy has decreased by 90%," said one mother of a young boy.
"There's no other medication in the world that does that."
"What it does is called neuropsychophysiology, it makes the neurons flow back and forth and communicate," said Jason David, the president of Jayden's Journey. "There's no other medication in the world that does that."
David named the dispensary after his son. He says the drug helped to save his son's life.
One of his youngest epilepsy patients, Zya Mao, just turned 6 months old. Her father, Jhoson Mao, believes this is a better alternative to prescriptions.
"We noticed she feels present," Mao said. "Her eyes is not as wobbly as they used to be."
Mao said his daughter's doctor is not advising against it.
"She's not totally against it," Mao said. "She's always open; doctors always open to help anybody they can."
"A quarter million people die a year from pharmaceuticals, the same ones we give our children, and no one says a word," David said. "When a child is sick the whole family is sick, and someone has to make a change."