MPs join medical cannabis fight for boy, 10

A pair of MPs have joined a British family’s fight to get medical cannabis on the NHS to treat their son’s epilepsy.

South Ribble MP Seema Kennedy and Blackburn MP Julie Cooper have taken on the cause of Joanne and Paul Griffiths, of Much Hoole – a village in South Ribble, Lancashire – who are lobbying for medicinal cannabis oil for their son Ben.

Ben Griffiths

The mum and dad say the oil has decreased the 10-year-old’s seizures from 300 a day to just 12 and have the support of their son’s neurologist.

Alder Hay hospital’s NHS Foundation Trust has blocked use of the drug, so his parents are forced to pay thousands for it.

Joanne told the Lancashire Post: “We hope Seema Kennedy, who is the health minister, will help Ben as she is his local MP. 

“We have the MP for Blackburn Julie Cooper speaking about Ben in Parliament too. She is a great support.”

A spokesman for Seema Kennedy’s office said: “I have been working closely with the Griffiths’ family since July 2018 regarding their son, Ben.

Seema Kennedy

“I have raised Ben’s case personally with the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, and Alder Hey Children’s Hospital to try and find a solution, and I will continue to assist the Griffiths’ family as their local MP.”

Joanne told the paper she was floored when a recent parliamentary select committee report concluded Ben would not be eligible for a drug trial.

Specialist doctors

Patients can be prescribed medicinal cannabis by specialist doctors in the UK as of November 2018.

It is the first time UK medical experts have had the option to legally issue prescriptions for cannabis-based medicines if they think it could help their patient.

Before the ruling, almost all cannabis-based medicinal products were judged to have no therapeutic value. 

The law change came soon after the highly publicised case of severely epileptic teenager Billy Caldwell.

The boy fell ill when the UK Home Office confiscated cannabis oil he had been prescribed abroad.

His mother said his condition improved thanks to cannabis oil treatments.