United Kingdom changes course, allows epileptic boy to use cannabis oil

Minnie Murray
June 17, 2018

Caldwell credits the oil with keeping the boy's seizures at bay, saying he was seizure-free for more than 300 days while using it. Billy started the treatment in 2016 in the U.S., where medical marijuana is legal.

The Home Office, or interior ministry, could not immediately be reached for comment about Billy's hospitalisation.

She tried to bring the the drug into the country via Heathrow Airport, but it was taken from her by border officials.

He became the first person in the United Kingdom with a prescription for cannabis oil when it was recommended to him by a local doctor in Northern Ireland.

Ms Caldwell credits the oil with keeping her sick son's seizures at bay, saying he was seizure-free for more than 300 days while on the medication.

Speaking outside the hospital earlier this morning, Charlotte said: 'Unfortunately, Billy had two more seizures overnight which has pushed him more into a crisis situation.

British Home Secretary Sajid Javid said he has agreed to urgently issue a license to allow Billy Caldwell, 12, to be treated with the substance.

The Home Office had previously said that while it was sympathetic to the child's plight, it had a duty to stop banned substances from entering Britain.


Ms Caldwell said on Saturday that Billy had two seizures overnight but he was now stable and asleep.

She added: "The Home Office, myself and my team have been working extremely hard throughout the night to make this happen, which is truly awesome, but there can only be one conclusion here: that my lovely sweet little boy, who has a life-threatening form of epilepsy and one seizure can kill him, he needs his medicine back today".

An epileptic boy has been hospitalised in London days after the authorities confiscated his cannabis oil medication in a case that has stirred debate about the medicinal use of the illegal drug.

"I truly believe that somewhere in the Home Office there's someone with a heart and I truly believe that Billy was pulling on their heart strings", she added. He said his decision was based on advice from senior doctors who made it clear that Billy, who was admitted to hospital on Friday, was facing a medical emergency.

She said her son was too ill to travel to Canada to get his medication.

A Caldwell family spokesman said today: 'The medication that she brought into the country and was confiscated, this medication is on the way to the hospital'.

A spokeswoman for the Home Office said it had granted an "exceptional licence" for a "short term emergency" and it would be reviewed. The National Health Service says on its website that cannabis-based products are being tested for possible use in treatment of several diseases, including epilepsy in children, glaucoma and the loss of appetite experienced by some people with AIDS or HIV infections.

Billy became the first person in the United Kingdom to receive a prescription after his local GP in Northern Ireland, Brendan O'Hare, began writing scripts.

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