A 12-year-old Northern Ireland boy suffering from severe epilepsy got back his medicinal cannabis oil that was confiscated from his mother at Heathrow airport. Billy Caldwell received the oil on June 16, 2018, when he landed in a hospital after suffering from “life-threatening” seizures. Billy and his mother Charlotte traveled to Canada to purchase medical cannabis oil after the boy’s doctor was ordered to stop prescribing him the anti-epileptic medicine. However, while they flew back to London on June 11, 2018, customs officials confiscated the medication supplies.
“This morning, I’ve used an exceptional power as Home Secretary to urgently issue a license to allow Billy Caldwell to be treated with cannabis oil. My decision is based on the advice of senior clinicians who have made clear this is a medical emergency,” said Sajid Javid, the minister, in a statement. The case has triggered a serious debate on the medical use of marijuana in Britain, with politicians across party lines extending support to the Caldwell family and campaigners, demanding modifications to the law.
Speaking to reporters outside Chelsea and Westminster Hospital where Billy was being treated, his mother said that her son remained free of seizures as long as he was using the cannabis oil. She insisted on the urgent need to change cannabis laws in the U.K. Under British law, marijuana is classified as a Schedule I drug, as authorities do not recognize its therapeutic value. Currently, Schedule I drugs can be used for clinical trials and research with prior authorization from the Home Office.
Marijuana is a dangerous drug
The stimulatory effects of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) make marijuana a dangerous drug. THC is known to stimulate the cells in the brain to cause a dopamine surge that triggers euphoric sensations at a heavy cost. This euphoria-producing chemical has several short-term as well as long-term harmful outcomes. Chronic pot users suffer from delusions, permanent paranoia and anxiety. Studies suggest that marijuana users are thrice more likely to be addicted to heroin, as they often resort to a harder drug to get the high.
In the U.S., marijuana is the most popular illicit substance across the country. According to the 2016 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), an estimated 24 million Americans aged 12 or older in that year were current users of marijuana. Despite the rising popularity, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) continues to classify cannabis as a Schedule I drug under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) because of its high potential for abuse.
Fortunately, weed addiction can be treated with timely medical intervention. If an individual is grappling with marijuana use disorder, he/she should seek professional assistance from a reputed drug treatment provider at the earliest. Remember that substance use disorders can have life-threatening implications, if left untreated.
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