Epilepsy patients and their care takers are in a celebratory mood as doctors in the UK will now be allowed to prescribe medicinal cannabis, according to the Home Secretary Sajid Javid. The life changing decision was arrived at after a 12 year old boy with severe epilepsy had been denied access to cannabis oil, a topic that triggered a national debate and reviews by health experts. Cannabis had been previously classified as schedule 1 drug as it had been thought to have zero therapeutic value but had been allowed for use by those doing research after obtaining a home office license.
The UK government had announced its intention to form a panel of clinical experts, who would assist in the consideration of use of medicinal cannabis in the country. The reason behind this decision was that high profile cases of children suffering from severe epilepsy were being denied access to cannabis oil. Cannabis oil has been said to have medicinal properties like relieving inflammation, reducing anxiety and pain, curing glaucoma and in epileptic patients, it has proven to control seizures. Epilepsy is a brain disorder where the brain activity becomes abnormal, causing recurrent seizures and has no known cure. Seizures are the only signs of epilepsy.
As these new changes could take some time before taking effect, clinicians and other healthcare professionals were instructed to apply to the independent expert panel on behalf of the patients who needed access to medicinal cannabis products. These applications will not have any license fees, and those that had already been granted will not be charged. It is the dream of every parent to bring up a healthy child and amid several success stories from parents of epileptic children, there seems to be fading hopes for others like Tannine Clary, a mother who hails from Suffolk, who claims that the terms of reference that the panel is using before issuing licenses are unfair. She continues to state that the panel in its own wisdom should stop relying on evidence that has been obtained from what she calls costly and stressful trips abroad, and consider evidence from cases similar to that of her 4 year old daughter Indie. Indie suffers from Dravet syndrome. This is a severe form of epilepsy, and only cannabis oil has proven to work on her condition. She is currently on the panel’s waiting list seeking to get a license of access to the medicinal oil as her mother wishes for a quicker breakthrough.