The boy in the Scottish family fears seizures will return if Brexit blocks supplies of essential cannabis oil from Holland


Scottish MP Ronnie Cowan has broken the “snail’s pace” in providing vital cannabis-based medicines to desperate families.

The drug reformer claims that a post-Brexit time bomb is causing families to fall into crisis as British patients, most of whom have to pay for treatment, are no longer supplied with Dutch medical cannabis.

Dutch suppliers have set a deadline of six months before the plug is pulled – which, according to Cowan, is causing “unbearable pressure”.

Cowan, SNP MP for Inverclyde, said Bedrocan supplies would run out in January 2022.

He said, “Imagine the mindset of a parent who knows that their child’s health will be negotiated for six months. The pressure must be unbearable.

“Thirty months since medical cannabis was approved in the UK, 26 months since Health Secretary Matt Hancock promised it would only be a few months more available, and now a six month ticking time bomb for it to be withdrawn from children what has been proven to be life changing medicine.

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“The children I speak about can have seizures every hour of the day.

“A growing body of evidence suggests that there is a place for medical cannabis and the question must be asked why we are so far behind in the UK.”

Inverclyde MP Ronnie Cowan SNP is a major drug reform activist

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Many Scots have found that no other medicine can relieve symptoms caused by epilepsy and chronic pain, like cannabis oil.

Despite proven benefits, UK drug abuse law has made general practitioners reluctant to prescribe such products.

Cowan said, “Things move, but at a snail’s pace. After much pressure from parents of children with rare forms of epilepsy, cannabis was approved for medical use in November 2018, but it’s so bureaucratic that general practitioners, to the best of my knowledge, will not prescribe it and to this day it is in the UK a handful of regulations for provision in the NHS. “

Cowan worked closely with the parents of eight-year-old Murray Gray from Edinburgh, who were forced to fund £ 1,300 each month of cannabis oil shipments from Holland to help tackle life-threatening epilepsy attacks.

Murray’s mother, Karen, is now afraid that she won’t even be able to get paid medication.

Murray Gray, eight, in a listless “status” state in the hospital

Karen said, “Without the cannabis treatment, his day will be full of seizures and the worst of trauma, but the drug is stabilizing and allowing him to live a far more normal life. The treatment means he has not had a seizure since 2019.”

Murray gets three treatments a day with the cannabis oil.

Karen, 47, added: “It really doesn’t make sense for the UK to accept the benefits of this treatment, but we don’t cover it on prescription. We need UK care to help people like Murray and we really need to take the big step forward to ensure families are not forced to make these huge payments for vital treatment themselves. “

A Scottish Government spokesman said: “It would be inappropriate for ministers to intervene in treatment decisions, including clinical advice or funding for individual patients, for which we must trust the clinicians and the NHS. It is also important to note that the regulation, approval and supply of medicines is left to the UK government.

“With continued access to Bedrocan products after the end of the EU transition period, the Scottish government is relieved for the families concerned that the interim solution has been extended and that their prescriptions will not be disrupted despite the major disruption resulting from the UK government’s Brexit policy .

“While the Brexit policy remains up to the UK government, Scottish government officials will continue to do whatever they can to work with the UK government to try to find a workable, lawful and sustainable solution for the families concerned.”