Medicinal cannabis oil confiscated from severely epileptic boy

Nellie Chapman
June 20, 2018

Mr Javid said he made the decision to free up the cannabis oil after talking to the medical team looking after Billy.

The Home Office previously said it sympathised with Caldwell's situation but it had a duty to stop banned substances from entering the country.

Billy's oil contains a small amount of THC, the psychoactive compound in cannabis which is banned in the United Kingdom, but taking an entire bottle's 100 doses would not create any kind of psychedelic effect, so low is the concentration.

The mother of a severely epileptic boy has called for a meeting with the Home Secretary to discuss legalising a medical cannabis treatment for children with similar conditions.

The Government, however, only relented after a six-day battle ensued when officials seized a six-month supply of cannabis oil she brought into Heathrow Airport from Toronto, Canada. The incident sparked a debate between officials and Charlotte, who said she would hold those who blocked the treatment responsible if her son died, the i newspaper reported. It contains a substance called Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is believed to help treat a number of illnesses.

Charlotte Caldwell attempted to bring medicinal cannabis oil into the United Kingdom for her 12-year-old son Billy, but it was confiscated at Heathrow airport on Monday after a flight from Canada.

The boy was hospitalised on Friday after suffering several seizures.

Keen to get back to her son's bedside, she said: "I am full of hope - this is my little boy's anti-epilepsy medication".

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"The Home Office is contacting Billy's medical team".

The Caldwells' family doctor had been treating the 12-year-old with cannabis oil in the United Kingdom for more than a year. Schedule 1 drugs can be used for research purposes and clinical trials, but only under a Home Office licence.

Ms Caldwell said: "This experience that myself and my little boy have endured in this last week has been horrendous, I do not want, and I will not stand by and let, any other family in our country endure it".

"This is about getting the medication that these children throughout the United Kingdom desperately need to control their epilepsy".

Charlotte Caldwell has moved her son Billy to London to continue their fight for access to medical cannabis.

Sinn Féin MP Órfhlaith Begley welcomed confirmation that Billy would now get his treatment. Dr Michael Bloomfield from the University College London told the BBC that the use of cannabis oil is "far from straightforward" and that a change in the could be "a potential way of decriminalising cannabis through the back door".

She added: 'No other family should have to go through this sort of ordeal, travelling halfway round the world to get medication which should be freely available.

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