One small step for man, one giant leap for people with epilepsy

As I said in the blog I posted this morning, there has been a lot of talk about epilepsy in the news this week. Mainly in relation to Billy Caldwell and the home secretary, Sajid Javid, allowing the NHS to supply him with medicinal cannabis. Today Javid delivered a statement to the cabinet announcing not only that Alfie Dingley will also receive medicinal cannabis but that the outlines for a government review on medicinal cannabis have been set in place and it will begin soon.

I won’t deny I got rather emotional whilst listening to this statement. At the start of my final project last year one of my tutors felt that making a documentary just about epilepsy was boring, so I begun researching cannabis. I interviewed my current consultant as well as Prof. Helen Cross OBE who is essentially the boss of paediatric neurologists. What I learned from these interviews was that cannabis is made up of over 30 different chemicals each of which can be individually creating in the lab, THC is what makes you high, CBD is what stops seizures. You don’t need both. I also learned that research has been taking place for years with positive results. So why the hell is this not already a thing?

I persuaded myself a while back that legalisation of medicinal cannabis was something I would unlikely see. Although I’m not considered to have severe epilepsy access to this drug could seriously help me. At the moment seizures are taking up to two weeks for me to recover from because they not only come in clusters but the drugs I use to reduce them have significant side-effects too. Access to CBD could change that, it could give me a chance to have a full-time job and actually turn up to it full-time!

On top of all this CBD is known to help with anxiety one of the main symptoms of ASD (for me at least). Could this be the treatment for both conditions that the AIMS-2-Trials is looking for?

We still have a long long way to go until cannabis is legalised in the UK. But the first step has been taken and that is hope for everyone who suffers from epilepsy!

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