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UK Makes No Final Decision to Help Epileptic Boy, but Mulls Cannabis Trial

UK Makes No Final Decision to Help Epileptic Boy, but Mulls Cannabis Trial

Dina Al-Shibeeb
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The British Home Office said it is considering a medical cannabis trial as a potential option for treating the six-year-old boy Alfie Dingley with a rare form of epilepsy. The Guardian reported this information on Thursday, but no final decision has been made. 

The decision came after British Labour MP Paul Flynn, who is a big supporter of marijuana, had his cannabis legalization bill fizzle into thin air last week. He urged the family to “break the law” after the Home Office said the drug “cannot be practically prescribed, administered or supplied to the public,” including to Alfie due to it being a banned substance.

Alfie has epilepsy but an acute type, making him one of only nine boys in the world suffering a similar predicament.

Suffering up to 30 seizures a day, Alfie’s family found marijuana to be their magical savior in reducing their son’s unpredictable spasms. But Alfie experienced his medical breakthrough in the Netherlands, where he saw his seizures reduce in number, duration, and severity. Most importantly, Alfie’s cannabis-based medication in the Netherlands helped him stay seizure-free for 24 days. But this can’t be translated at home as it is illegal.

In an attempt to help Alfie, the police minister, Nick Hurd, met with his family to discuss possible treatments.

nick - UK Makes No Final Decision to Help Epileptic Boy, but Mulls Cannabis Trial
Nick Hurd said the government wants “to try and help find a solution within the existing regulation”

While the Home Office said that no final decision has been made, one option could be a medical trial led by Alfie’s medical team, The Guardian reported.

“The government has a huge amount of sympathy for the rare and difficult situation that Alfie and his family are faced with,” a spokesman said. “The policing minister wants to explore every option and has met with Alfie’s family to discuss treatments that may be accessible to him.”

“No decisions have been made and any proposal would need to be led by senior clinicians using sufficient and rigorous evidence.”

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Meanwhile, supporters of marijuana in the UK are also highlighting how at least medical marijuana has been legalized in 29 U.S. states, Canada and other Western European countries like the Netherlands. More countries are also jumping by heading towards medical cannabis legalization.

“We are aware that the position is shifting in other countries, we monitor that closely,” Hurd, speaking in the Commons,  said.

“We are also aware that cannabis is an extremely complex substance and the WHO [World Health Organization] quite rightly are looking at it from every angle.”

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