Edinburgh mum smuggles cannabis drug into UK to treat son's seizures
THE MUM of a six-year-old boy left in a “vegetative state” after suffering up to a dozen seizures a day due to a severe form of epilepsy has admitted smuggling an illegal cannabis-based drug into the country to help treat the condition.
Karen Gray, from East Craigs, said she thought son Murray “was going to die” when he was admitted to hospital in January after being left unable to “eat, talk or walk” by the rare ‘Doose Syndrome’.
But Murray has since been able to return to school for a few hours each day after a Dutch doctor prescribed a drug containing the psychoactive component Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) to ease the symptoms.
Karen, 44, successfully campaigned for a change in the law to allow doctors the right to prescribe cannabidiol (CBD) for patients like son Murray last year - provided they do not contain any trace of THC.
However, she has previously warned treatments without the ingredient - even in miniscule amounts - have proved ineffective.
In an interview with the BBC programme Disclosure, Karen said she and another mother - 38-year-old Lisa Quarrell from East Kilbride - had travelled to the Netherlands to obtain the prescription before bringing back into the UK.
Former police officer Lisa had brought the oil back for son Cole, also six, who suffers from another severe form of epilepsy.
Bedrolite is a medical cannabis oil made by Bedrocan - the sole supplier of medicinal cannabis to the Dutch government’s Office for Medicinal Cannabis.
The oil contains two key active compounds in cannabis for medical use: THC, which is psychoactive and gives a feeling of being “high”, and CBD, which does not.
Murray previously tried a CBD-only drug, known as Epidiolex, which is available in the UK under a compassionate access programme - however the treatment did not work despite positive early signs.
Karen, who has travelled to the Netherlands with Lisa three times this year at an estimated cost of around £15,000, said: “When Murray went into hospital, “I honestly thought that’s it, he’s going to die. How can anybody survive this?”
“He can be awake but he’s probably not aware that anyone’s there. He can’t swallow, he can’t eat, he can’t talk, he can’t move. He can’t do anything.”
“We tried Epidiolex and it was absolutely brilliant but after three months it just stopped working for some reason.”
According to the Home Office, it is illegal to bring Bedrolite into the country without an import licence.
The oil is nine per cent CBD and less than one per cent THC.
Home Secretary Sajid Javid overturned a ban on CBDbased treatment last year following pressure from campaigners including Karen after they handed in a 170,000 signature petition to Downing Street in a bid to trigger a parliamentary debate on the subject.
Murray received his first course of CBD treatment in August 2018.