Sophia Gibson receives landmark licence to access medical cannabis.


Today, 13th July 2018, Sophia Gibson who has severe epilepsy has been granted the first long-term licence for the use of medical cannabis in the UK by the newly announced medical panel.

Sophia, from Newtonards, Country Down suffers from a genetic condition which causes frequent and dangerous fits that are not controlled by the medication available to her in the UK. In desperation her parents took to Holland where she was treated with medical cannabis and her seizures reduced by around 80%. This week at home whilst being denied access to her medication Sophia suffered one of her most catastrophic seizures that led to her being in intensive care and put into an induced coma whilst her family were waiting to hear if she would be granted a licence.

After receiving the news today that Sophia would be granted access to her medication in the UK, Sophia’s mum Danielle Davis said:

‘’This decision is a life changer and a life saver for Sophia. But no family should have to fight this hard, for so long, for something that so obviously has a benefit. The fight has been exhausting but the relief is immense. We would like to thank each and every person who supported Sophia and our family through this distressing journey. The years of battling have finally paid off. As of today, the 13th July 2018, Sophia has got a long-term licence for the use of Bedrocan whole plant medical cannabis oils, to be prescribed through the NHS by her UK doctors.

We hope that following Sophia’s journey other children and adults across the UK can access the same treatment without having to uproot their lives to travel or move abroad. Cannabis should be rescheduled and Doctors should be able to prescribe it.

We can’t thank everyone individually but we would particularly like to thank our MP Jim Shannon, Professor Mike Barnes and Peter Carroll from the End Our Pain Campaign that have supported us and helped us so much over the past couple of months.

Now Sophia can have her medicine her life will begin to improve and we can enjoy life as a family and look forward to living a more normal family life.

We hope we that the decision made today will pave the way for the many others who should have access to medical cannabis. We will continue to work to make it accessible for others and educate people on the use of medicinal cannabis so there isn’t a stigma or misconception surrounding it anymore’’.

Peter Carroll, director of the End Our Pain Campaign that has supported the family said:

‘Sophia’s success offers hope to many hundreds who will want to access medical cannabis. But getting her application through has shown that how the panel operates needs urgent reform if other families are to benefit. The emphasis on having to demonstrate that medical cannabis has worked is highly unfair as it implies that the patient should undertake the arduous journey and suffer the heavy expense of going abroad to a country in which medical cannabis is legal before making an application. And the panel process implies that medical cannabis should be the medicine of last resort, when evidence shows it can often be the first, second or third option. It’s been an honour to support this family. Their dignity under the most extreme anxiety over such a period has been remarkable. Our work goes on to secure the rescheduling of cannabis. Then, there will be no need for a panel and the medical benefits of cannabis should be widely available under prescription’.