Charlotte Caldwell’s family been in the news more than most ever will be in the past few weeks. Her son, Billy Caldwell, suffers from epilepsy, and she’s determined to legalise medical cannabis in the UK to treat him and others like him.
What it means: The debate around cannabis legalisation drills into precisely what’s inside the stuff. The two most well-known substances within cannabis are THC and CBD. THC is the one that gets you high, CBD doesn’t. But CBD does help tackle epileptic fits, and in cases like Billy’s, could save his life.
At the moment, it’s totally legal to extract CBD oil from cannabis and sell it in the UK - as long as you don’t advertise it for medical purposes. That’s what Billy’s mum has been doing: but given how hard it is to produce and bring in, she’s had to sell it for £500 a bottle.
Billy’s family has now been granted an exceptional license to import cannabis oil for medical use by the Home Office, and the government is reviewing the subject to assess whether to make a change on a wider scale. If they did, the substance that’s already legal, but not yet registered as medicinal, could become accessible to a lot more people at a far more affordable price.