When it comes to the medicinal benefits of cannabis, we all love hearing real success stories about real people. And since Mother’s Day is just around the corner — at least in many parts of the world — we’ll give you real stories about mothers who courageously fought cannabis prohibition to save their children’s lives and the lives of many others who do not have a voice.
Charlotte and her 13-year-old son, Billy, are from County Tyrone in Northern Ireland, and they first made it to the headlines last year when they brought home six months’ worth of cannabis oil from Canada. The oil, which was for Billy, was confiscated by U.K. airport authorities, leaving the boy without any treatment for his epileptic seizures.
Billy suffers from a severe form of epilepsy that causes life-threatening seizures. According to Charlotte, one seizure could kill her son.
The boy was given a prescription for cannabis oil in 2017 to help manage his symptoms. This was the first time cannabis had been prescribed by the National Health Service. However, Billy’s doctor was then prevented by Home Office drug enforcement officers from giving him more prescription. As a result, Charlotte was forced to take Billy to Canada, where they can access medical cannabis legally.
Charlotte said that the oil is indeed effective at keeping Billy’s seizures at bay. In fact, Billy went more than 300 days being seizure-free since he started using cannabis oil until his supply was taken away.
Right after his cannabis oil was confiscated, Billy started experiencing seizures again, and this time, it was worse than the ones he used to have. After suffering from back-to-back episodes, Billy had to be rushed to the hospital.
Charlotte had to fight hard for the government to give her son’s medicine back. Her request had been rejected initially. However, after the matter caught the media’s attention and after much pressure from the public, the NHS finally released Billy’s cannabis.
Even after Billy’s medication was returned, Charlotte had vowed that she will not stop until other sick kids can get access to the drug. Needless to say, Billy’s case sparked a nationwide debate on the issue and Charlotte considered this as a platform to call for urgent reforms to UK’s drug laws.
Charlotte’s efforts did pay off because the NHS initiated a review on their cannabis regulations. Before 2018 ended, the government introduced some legislative reforms that allowed the prescription of medical cannabis by qualified specialists to qualified patients.
You can see what Charlotte had to say about medical cannabis for Billy in this video by The Guardian:
“I’m sure everyone is aware that while this is extremely good news for me and Billy, there are so many other children that desperately need this medicine.” – Charlotte Caldwell