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Meet The People Who Will Truly Benefit From The Medical Cannabis Law Change

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Meet The People Who Will Truly Benefit From The Medical Cannabis Law Change

Yesterday, the Department of Health (DoH) announced that it has given the go-head for medicinal marijuana to be made available to patients in the UK.

For some, it's been a long road to reach this milestone. One of those people is Charlotte Caldwell, who has been at the forefront of the campaign for the law change after discovering that cannabis oil helped treat her 13-year-old son Billy's epileptic seizures.

Describing how she is 'crying happy tears' at the news that UK doctors will be able to prescribe cannabis products to patients from 1 November, Charlotte said: "It's been a treasure just out of reach for what seems like forever, but to see it in writing from the Government is incredible.

Credit: PA
Credit: PA

"This isn't about Billy and me, it's about a nation. Only relatively recently did our Government and country really start to appreciate just how many wee children and people of all ages were affected by the difficulties associated with accessing medicinal cannabis."

The mother and son's story made the headlines when earlier this year, when Billy's cannabis medication was confiscated by the Home Office after a trip to Canada, where it was legally available, which Charlotte says has virtually cured Billy's symptoms and improved his quality of life.

A turning point in the movement came when the Home Office then gave him a short-term licence and the DoH issued an emergency licence to allow him access to cannabis oil, making Billy was the first in the UK to receive a consignment of the drug on the NHS.

But as Charlotte pointed out in the wake of the latest news, what started out as a mum seeking help for her little boy has grown into something much bigger than that. "The needs of my little boy turned out to be the needs of a nation. As our mission grew, so did our family.

"I am no longer trying to change the law - we are thousands of people all with the same purpose - to make medicinal cannabis available for our entire family."

Although the new move is applicable to England, Wales and Scotland, Charlotte added that a cross party delegation is working with the Belfast Trust and Northern Ireland Department of Health to get the same arrangement.

The medicinal benefits of marijuana-based products are widely reported in many corners of the globe, with a number of high profile stories of young epilepsy sufferers whose conditions appear to ease with the use of cannabis oil helping to shift public perception.

Like Charlotte, Jean Kelly, from Belfast, is another mother who has been relentless in her fight to give her son, Deaglán, a better quality of life.

Credit: Jean Kelly
Credit: Jean Kelly

Speaking to LADbible, Jean described how Deaglán, now 31, suffered from epilepsy from the age of 11 weeks, leaving him non-verbal with severe learning difficulties and needing 24-hour care.

Over the years, she and husband Seamus have tried all kinds of different alternatives in a bid to improve the quality of life for their son, who still suffers from epileptic seizures.

"We've tried ketogenic diets, we've tried all sorts of home exercise programmes, we took him to the Dominican Republic for stem cell treatment," said Jean. "We've always fought - we even remortgaged our home to finance his treatments."

Just over a year ago, after noticing Charlotte and Billy's story, the couple started looking into the benefits of CBD oil. After a lot of research and being open with Deaglán's consultant neurologist about what they were doing, they administered the cannabis-based drug - and the results spoke for themselves.

"Before when he entered seizures, it would take hours or even days to come around," explained Jean. "With the cannabis oil, yes he has seizures, but they are less severe and he comes out of them literally in seconds.

Cannabis
Cannabis

"We're continually buying CBD oil on the black market, we're getting a reliable source, but I am not comfortable with that - I want something that is monitored safely with a neurologist and that's where so many people in the UK are at."

And it's not just epilepsy that this medicine can help with. As Jean pointed out, it's hugely beneficial for pain relief.

"I'm actually taking the oil for injuries I've sustained on my lower back and neck from carrying my boy, and I find the difference myself," she said.

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"I've been talking to more and more people who share similar stories. One young girl I know who is suffering from cancer is now up and walking with ease for the first time in months thanks to taking the oil."

Jean finished with a sentiment shared by many in the wake of the recent law change - that it's a huge step in the right direction.

She concluded: "That's all we and so many people want, to move closer to this life-changing medicine being made available to those who need it."

Featured Image Credit: Facebook/Keep Billy Alive

Topics: UK News, Interesting, Cannabis, Health

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