Medical Use of Cannabis Oil
Billy Caldwell and the Law Governing the Medical Use of Cannabis Oil
We are taking a look at a case that has been all over the news recently and for good reason. It covers the situation happening around 12 year old Billy Caldwell and his mother Charlotte who has been campaigning for the government to change the laws currently making the medical use of cannabis oil illegal in this country.
Billy Caldwell suffers from a rare, yet aggressive form of epilepsy that can result in Billy having up to 100 violent seizures per day. The seizures are so harmful that Billy could actually die from the condition if not treated appropriately. Unfortunately, in this case the only form of treatment that has shown any positive effects is cannabis oil which is currently illegal in the UK.
Charlotte Caldwell, Billy’s mother has campaigning tirelessly with the aim of getting the government to review to the situation regarding the medical use of cannabis oil in the UK. Billy was first treated back in 2016 in the US after being prescribed the oil by a doctor in Northern Ireland. The form of oil he takes contains the currently illegal tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA). THCA is associated with the psychoactive effects of cannabis, and it is therefore seen as a recreational drug so is dealt with under the misuse of drugs legislation rather than under medical legislation.
Very shortly after taking the oil Billy’s seizures reduced dramatically to the point where he had managed to go for approximately 300 days without a seizure at all.
In 2017, back in the UK, Billy was prescribed the cannabis oil medication on the NHS but sadly in May of this year his GP was told he could no longer prescribe it as it has not yet been licensed in the UK.
In order to obtain the cannabis oil her son needs to reduce his seizures Charlotte decided to try and bring a six month supply in to the UK from Toronto, Canada where the laws governing the medical use of cannabis are far more developed than in the UK. Unfortunately, due to the current legal status the oil was confiscated by officials at Heathrow.
It was not long afterward that Billy was reported to have been admitted to hospital where his seizures intensified once more and he was in a life-threatening situation. Thankfully the Home Office finally stepped in and over the following weekend granted a 20 day license to administer the medicine.
The Good News
After all of the trauma 12 year old Billy Caldwell and his mother Charlotte have suffered, it has been reported in the last 24 hours by Belfast Live that Billy is to be granted an historical life-time license for medical cannabis under new government guidelines.
Charlotte and her campaign team received an email stating the Paediatric neurology team at the Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children has now officially started Billy’s application. It is the first formal recognition that the new government system is up and running. Billy is expected to have his application passed as a matter of urgency.
This means that Charlotte will hopefully be able to return home with Billy to Castelderg, County Tyrone within a week.
The ordeal is not yet over but the family can now finally see a more permanent solution for Billy’s illness for the first time in his life.
Please Note – The laws governing the medical use of cannabis oil is still being explored and remains illegal to use in the UK. Visit https://www.gov.uk/penalties-drug-possession-dealing for more information.
Reference articles below: