In 2016, the British government had finally admitted marijuana possesses a medicinal value. The country’s Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) announced that it had found Cannabidiol (CBD) possessing a “restoring, correcting or modifying” effect on “physiological functions” when administered to humans.
The MHRA is the executive agency of the Department of Health in the United Kingdom, which is responsible for ensuring that medicines and medical devices work and are acceptably safe. The announcement by the MHRA encouraged observers’ beliefs that the government would soon legalize the plant based on the available evidence of its medicinal value.
Although the plant is yet to be legalized, new developments from the country show it’s near. The MHRA has permitted the use of marijuana oil across the country after it reportedly saved the life of a severely epileptic boy from torment.
11-year-old Billy Caldwell was said to have been suffering from advanced forms of seizure since 2010. Billy and his parents live in County Tyrone, Northern Ireland. Billy’s parents tried many drugs from the pharmaceutical companies, but they never worked well for him. His condition deteriorated. On some occasions, Billy had to be induced into a coma in order to remain alive. When somebody recommended to Billy’s parents that they try marijuana oil, they sought help, but there was difficulty in obtaining marijuana oil in the UK.
Although the MHRA has admitted that CBD has a restoring, correcting or modifying effect on physiological functions, CBD oil is yet to be licensed in the UK as a medicine.
However, the oil can be prescribed by doctors in special circumstances, but the process is long and frustrating to people who need emergency care with CBD oil. And this was indeed the frustrating case for Billy’s parents.
Seeing the huge medicinal value and potential of the oil, Billy’s parents decided to compel the MHRA in court to allow them to return home with the marijuana oil to treat their child. It was also to allow other children suffering from seizures, like Billy, to have access to the high efficacy marijuana oil. Marijuana advocates and a start-up helped the family in their brief legal battle and the MHRA eventually allowed the full use of the oil.
“We took him to L.A. because of the long waiting lists here. It’s a life-threatening form of epilepsy that he has, we had no choice but to go there,” Billy’s mother, Charlotte Caldwell told the BBC in interview after arriving home with the marijuana oil to continue the treatment of her child without being stopped by border officials. “What we have to remember is these are kids who have tried every other pharmaceutical drug that there is out there, cocktails of drugs, maybe four or five at the one time, and they are failing,”Caldwell said.
Top official of the MHRA, Gerald Heddell, apologized to the Caldwell family for any inconvenience they may have suffered as a result of the initial reluctance by the agency to allow them access to the marijuana oil.
“Our heart goes out to Billy, his family, and to everybody in a similar situation. MHRA has come to the opinion that products containing Cannabidiol used for medical purposes are medicines. MHRA’s primary concern is patient safety, and to ensure the medicinal products people are buying meet safety, quality and efficacy standards. We would recommend that anyone using or considering the use of CBD oil should discuss this with their doctor or another healthcare professional,” he said.
To add to the good news for medical marijuana, an Irish pharmaceutical start-up, GreenLight Medicines, has secured €500,000 in funding from a consortium of Irish investors to further its research into marijuana extracts. GreenLight Medicines played a major role in ensuring the Caldwell family’s safe return from LA with their marijuana oil.
GreenLight Medicines initially raised €100,000 to conduct medicinal value research of the extract of the plant. The company is hoping to use the marijuana extracts to cure many diseases.
Past studies on marijuana have revealed its CBD helps to control brain and nerve activity, energy metabolism, heart function, the immune system and even reproduction. The current development on marijuana in the United Kingdom shows a country that will soon legalize the plant for its amazing medicinal value.