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New hope of cannabis oil treatment for Teagan Appleby

By Sam Lennon

The family of a severely epileptic girl have received a huge boost to their hopes to treat her with cannabis oil after a ruling by a government body.

The Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs has advised the Home Secretary that clinicians should have the option to prescribed cannabis-derived medicinal products to patients.

It gives new hope for eight-year-old Teagan Appleby, of Aylesham, who is wheelchair-bound and has one of the the worst cases of epilepsy in the UK.

Teagan Appleby
Teagan Appleby

Dover MP Charlie Elphicke had asked Home Secretary Sajid Javid to grant a licence for her.

He today said on Twitter: "We are now a step closer to getting Teagan Appleby access to treatment which could help prevent her seizures."

The council had been commissioned by the Home Office to review the scheduling of cannabis-derived medicinal products.

It now concludes that there is evidence of medicinal benefit of some of these products in certain circumstances.

Charlie Elphicke MP
Charlie Elphicke MP

The council has now tasked the Department of Health and Social Care and the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency with producing a definition for these products.

This would allow them to be moved out of Schedule 1 to Schedule 2 in the Misuse of Drugs Regulations (2001).

Dr Owen Bowden-Jones, ACMD chairman, said: "We have completed the first part of our review.

"We recommend that cannabis-derived medicinal products of the appropriate standard be moved out of Schedule 1 of the Misuse of Drugs Regulations 2001.

"This means that medical practitioners would be able to prescribe such medications to patients with certain medical conditions.

"At present, cannabis-derived products can vary greatly in their composition, effectiveness and level of impurity.

"This means that medical practitioners would be able to prescribe such medications to patients with certain medical conditions..." - Dr Owen Bowden-Jones, The Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs

"It is important that clinicians, patients and their families are confident that any prescribed medication is both safe and effective.

"The ACMD recommends that an appropriate definition be agreed by DHSC and MHRA promptly. Only products meeting this standard and definition should be given medicinal status.

"Though we agree with the Chief Medical Officer for England that there is now evidence of therapeutic benefit for some cannabis-derived products in some medical conditions, we are also recommending that urgent clinical trials be carried out to better improve our understanding of these products."

So the ACMD also recommends that clinical trials urgently take place to further establish the safety and effectiveness of different products.

It also recommends that synthetic cannabinoids, which are found in street products such as ‘Spice’, remain in Schedule 1 pending it carrying out a longer- term review.

Home Secretary Sajid Javid
Home Secretary Sajid Javid

Teagan, of Milner Crescent, was born with a rare condition called Isodicentric 15, which causes developmental disorders and gives her daily, violent seizures. It is chromosome abnormality, which for Teagan has progressed to Lennonx-Gastaut syndrome, a form of severe epilepsy.

Her mother Emma says Teagan's condition is worsening and believes that cannabis oil could provide relief.

It is said to have medicinal benefits but is banned for use on the UK.

Mr Elphicke had last week said: “Emma, the family and the NHS are trying their best for poor Teagan. Yet with known medication failing, the next step would be risky procedures on the brain itself.

“Of course the family wants to explore all other options. That’s why I have urged the Home Secretary to grant the license and I will keep working with the family to try and ensure that happens.”

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