Cannabis Has Always Been a Medicine
The following is excerpted from The Cannabis Manifesto: A New Paradigm for Wellness by Steve DeAngelo, published by North Atlantic Books.
I’ll never forget the first time Jason David showed me a home video of his then five-year-old son, Jayden. A pale young boy with slender build and delicate features was curled into a fetal position, eyes wide with fear and bewilderment, limbs and torso and head uncontrollably convulsing in the midst of a grand mal seizure. With tears in his eyes, Jason explained that Jayden suffered from Dravet’s Syndrome, the most severe and life-threatening form of childhood epilepsy.
This fragile boy was on twenty-one prescription medicines and had taken more than 25,000 pills since he was born, but he still suffered multiple grand mal seizures every day. The pharmaceuticals failed to control Dravet’s Syndrome, but they did put Jayden into a zombie-like condition, unable to learn or develop.
Jason came to Harborside—the Oakland cannabis dispensary I co-founded in 2006—at his wit’s end, terrified by both the seizures and the devastating side effects of the drugs prescribed by doctors. He had seen a news report about an epileptic girl arrested for possessing cannabis that she used to treat her condition. It was Jason’s first inkling that cannabis might be effective for Dravet’s.
Cannabis is one of the most investigated therapeutic substances in history. More than 20,000 studies and reviews regarding cannabis have been published in scientific literature, and the vast majority prove that its active ingredients are uniquely safe and effective. Side effects are relatively mild and short-acting, and there is no lethal dose. You could theoretically die of carbon-monoxide poisoning if you inhaled enough smoke, but nobody has ever died from ingesting too much cannabis.