Cannabis & Epilepsy

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Guest writer Johnny Hughes, from Ireland, has kindly agreed to give us his take on Cannabis and the various day to day issues we all face with this herb.  This is the first in a series of articles where Johnny will dissect Cannabis and it’s relation to other aspects of life including parenting, moderation and sex. Take it away Johnny:
I was reading an article on Sky news a couple of weeks ago regarding Charlotte Caldwell who was campaigning on behalf of her son Billy who suffers with epilepsy. Above the headline was the unmistakable image of the cannabis leaf. Turning his eyes away from the Playstation long enough to see, my inquisitive 9 year old asked: “What is that Daddy?”
My initial thought was to dismiss it and distract him away from the subject. I was surprised by my internal reaction given my advocacy for Cannabis. It reminded me that the stigma attached to cannabis is still strong and that I would rather hide it from him than tell the truth. I worried that it would be a topic of conversation on the school yard… “Yea Dad was telling me about this drug and… it’s illegal and…”  and.. hello child services..

What is Epilepsy?

Gandhi once said ‘Be the change you want to see in this world’ and so I explained…
“Well son. There are kids in the world who are very sick. Some kids have what is known as epilepsy.” Harry grew more intrigued, sat up straight and wanted to know more.
“You see some kids brains are prone to having seizures resulting from abnormal electrical discharges in the brain.” Harry gave me the same look he once gave when I explained where money came from, so I gave him an analogy.
“Ok, Let’s say your brain tells you to go to your room and clean it up. Now you go to  your room but when you get you get there your brain makes a mistake and tells you to make a big mess.”
Now in someone with epilepsy their brain is telling them to do something but the message gets confused and the body doesn’t know what to do.”

Epilepsy reactions.

“So instead of being able to play or read a book, kids with epilepsy have sad things happen to them. It can range from young babies eyes rolling or brief staring to not being able to hold up their head or roll over. Bigger kids and adults can start shaking violently and uncontrollably. They could lose consciousness and not be aware of what is happening. And this happens over and over and over every single day.”

Cannabis Treatment

Harry’s eyes welled up with tears and in turn so did mine. The two of us half smiled at each other as if acknowledging this uncontrollable emotion and we hugged.
“Why don’t they just take medicine Daddy?” Harry asked, wiping his eyes with his sleeve.
I explained to  Harry all about Charlotte Caldwell and her son Billy. I explained how Billy was taking special CBD oil and it was making his life better. How he managed 300 days seizure free but then the medicine was taken away from him and he got sick again. I explained that a small group of people in the UK made it illegal and that people who try to take the medicine in England could go to jail.
Harry was incredulous. “That’s just silly Daddy” he said with a confused, angry look on his face.

Even a child can understand the nonsense that is making medicinal cannabis illegal.

The Future of Cannabis and Epilepsy in the UK

On the 26th of July 2018 , three days before my sons birthday I told Harry I had a present in the form of some good news to share.
I explained that because of real life superheros like Billy’s mammy that in a few weeks time kids with epilepsy will now be able to get medicine in the UK.
“But won’t they go to jail” Harry quipped.
“No Harry, not any more. Things are getting better”

A Welcome Change

The UK home secretary Sajid Javid has now said that within weeks patients will be able to access medicinal cannabis on an NHS prescription.
Finally, common sense has prevailed. I just hope that the clinical trials and bureaucracy that will ensue will not impede this progress and that we can move quickly. I hope that the UK government has the foresight to rely on other nations tried and tested products hitherto.
The 500,000 people in the Uk who suffer with epilepsy and their families have been patient long enough!. These  families who devote their life to helping those who cannot help themselves deserve a speedy resolution and an easier life going forward.

Epilepsy is just the start

It is not only epilepsy sufferers who will gain from this. MS society director Genevieve Edwards has said “This is exceptional news and we want to thank the home secretary for the speed at which the decision has been made.” I am sure Genevieve will be quick to ensure clinical trials begin immediately to help those with MS.
If recent studies in mice are replicated in humans then people with pancreatic cancer will have their lives extended by years according to the journal Oncogene.
This change in law will have far reaching implications for so many who suffer from ailments and diseases that the herb can alleviate and in some cases cure.
We are living in a time where health will be your wealth and the currency is green.

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