New rules on caannabis oil allows Billy and mum to head home from Canada

Castlederg boy, Billy Caldwell, is due to return home from Canada this week now that news has come through that he can access lifesaving treatment at home.

The 13-year-old suffers from a severe form of epilepsy, the symptoms of which can be treated with medicinal cannabis. Last year the green light was given for permission to specialist hospital doctors in Northern Ireland to prescribe Cannabis-based products for medicinal use for their patients.

However the cannabis oil, which contains the psychoactive substance THC, that Billy needs to prevent him repeatedly taking seizures, was not covered.

It was his health crisis that was one of the main factors that triggered the creation of a new government panel to examine applications for the plant therapy in the UK.

The introduction of the new rules were geared to remove the need for prescribing, supply and possession licences to be issued by the Department of Health and came after several high profile cases whose medical conditions appeared to be improved by cannabis oil - particularly that of Billy.

Billy's mother, Charlotte, who campaigned tirelessly to allow medicinal cannabis to help her son who began using it in 2016 to control his seizures, expressed disappointment at new legislation. She returned to Canada last November when she realised the guidelines to access the medicinal cannabis would not see a long-term solution to her son's needs.

However, things changes earlier this week when the news broke that the regulations governing the cannabis oil were being amended to allow him avail of it.

Speaking on her Facebook page earlier this week, Charlotte said they had just received the news that the Home Office had told her that her son will be prescribed the oil he needs from his specialist doctors in the Beltast Trust.

"We have just got the news confirmed that Billy is allowed to come home so we are packing up our wee house here and we are on our way home. I am just overwhelmed, the three months we have spent here have been extremely difficult – the isolation and the weather has been against us.

"We hope by the end of the week that we will be home and Billy will be sleeping in his own wee bed," she said.

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