In a united effort to address the pressing issue of limited access to medical cannabis for children with incurable epilepsy, several Members of Parliament have signed a letter urging the Prime Minister to prioritize the issue. Families from across the UK gathered in London on November 14 for the ‘March of the Unicorns,' organized by the Medcan Family Foundation's Save the Unicorn campaign, to shed light on the current inequality in accessing crucial medical treatment.
Among those advocating for change is Charlene Londra, whose eight-year-old son Gino, diagnosed with treatment-resistant epilepsy at age two, has seen a significant reduction in seizures through a privately funded medical cannabis prescription. However, the long-term inconsistency in access prompted Gino's family to explore alternative treatments within the NHS, raising concerns about potential regression if the new approach proves ineffective.
Co-founders of the Medcan Family Foundation, Matt Hughes and Hannah Deacon, alongside high-profile advocates like Professor Mike Barnes, led the ‘March of the Unicorns.' The event aimed to draw attention to the lack of a clear pathway to NHS access for cannabis-based medicines and the reluctance of consultants to prescribe privately for affected children.
Following the march, an event inside the Houses of Parliament unveiled the injustices faced by families seeking medical cannabis prescriptions. Professor David Nutt shared research from Drug Science, revealing a 96% effectiveness rate of cannabis medicines for seizure reduction. The event highlighted the critical need for a clear funding pathway within the NHS and increased training among medical professionals to address the knowledge gap surrounding cannabis-based treatments.
Cross-party MPs and peers voiced their support, signing a joint letter urging the Prime Minister to take urgent action. SNP member Ronnie Cowan emphasized the need to make medicines like Bedrolite and Bedrocan available on the NHS, citing the proven efficacy for children. The MPs stressed the importance of funding, training, and awareness among medical professionals to instill confidence in prescribing cannabis-based medicines.
Despite the challenges, the event marked a step forward with the participation of national epilepsy charities, including Epilepsy Action, Young Epilepsy, and UK Infantile Spasms Trust. Medcan Family Foundation's Matt Hughes expressed optimism about continued collaborative discussions and providing tangible solutions, emphasizing the need for stability within the government to expedite progress in addressing this critical health issue.
This story was originally published by Cannabis Health News.