Alfie Dingley is a 6-year-old boy who suffers a rare form of epilepsy, PCDH19, which causes regular and severe seizures. After having limited success with pharmaceutical steroid-based treatments in the UK, Alfie’s parents travelled to Holland where Alfie received cannabis-based medicine which greatly reduced the severity and frequency of his seizures.
On the dedicated website, Alfieshope.co.uk, Alfie’s mother, Hannah Deacon, writes, “Alfie took some time to respond but has now been 55 days with only four seizures. This is such a major improvement we are so excited to see it. We still have a long way to go but I hope that cannabis will help him to lead a better and happier life.”
Returning home, Hannah appealed directly to the Home Office and Prime Minister Theresa May to “act to help my beloved son survive and have the best life he can” by allowing a licence to continue cannabis-based treatment in the UK.
Alfie’s Father, Drew Dingley, said, “What we’re asking for is a medical-grade product, made under laboratory conditions, which is bottled and prescribed in the way any painkiller is.”
Ms Deacon and Mr Dingley campaigned to raise awareness of Alfie’s condition and handed a 370,000-strong petition supporting the use of medical cannabis to Number 10 Downing Street. They were invited inside for a conversation with the Prime Minister and were assured that a legal exception would be granted in this case.
There are, however, a great many more people suffering from chronic, long-term and debilitating ailments who would benefit from medicinal cannabis but who are not able to launch a petition or travel to Downing Street to see Ms May for her to personally decide, on a case-by-case basis, whether or not a person is entitled to a special exception from the law.
Oli Genn-Bash of Bright Isle CBD, which provides cannabis-based treatments in the UK, told HIP, “We have legal cannabis medicine in the UK [Sativex], but GW Pharmaceuticals doesn’t really market it domestically and it’s only been made available for a few people in certain constituencies, with certain conditions – which Alfie’s doesn’t fall under unfortunately.
“It could potentially lead to more regulation, but not necessarily legalisation as it could just be more of the same medicalisation we have at the moment but just with more access compared to Sativex.
“There’s so many sides to this discussion – many people think we need to just decriminalise it so people can grow their own and make oils, etc., but then the other side to that is that there are sick people who wouldn’t necessarily be able to grow their own who need access to proper standardised medicine.
“There are nefarious reasons as to why we don’t have a cohesive system of medical or recreational cannabis in place.”
Of the major parties, only the Liberal Democrats and Green Party have an official party policy to decriminalise cannabis.
• Cannabis-based CBD medicines are available at: www.brightislecbd.ecwid.com
We hope you have enjoyed reading this article from Hastings Independent. The future of this volunteer led, non-profit publication would be far more secure with the aid of a small donation. It only takes a minute and we would be very grateful.