• Scottish child, Cole Thomson, is set to be one of 10 children to receive a prescription for Epidolex
  • Cole suffers drug-resistant epilepsy
  • Up to 7000 children in Scotland have been diagnosed with epilepsy

The East Kilbride News revealed yesterday that Cole Thomson, 6, will be one of only 10 children in Scotland to be granted legal access to potentially life-saving medical cannabis.

Cole, from East Kilbride, is set to be one of only ten children in Scotland the Government has permitted to be prescribed cannabidiol (CBD) medication.

The victory follows a hard-fought campaign by his family and supporters to secure access to cannabis-based medication for Cole’s intractable epilepsy, with the news being confirmed yesterday that Cole will be prescribed CBD-based medication, Epidiolex.

GW Pharmaceuticals Epidolex prescribed to epileptic Scottish boy

Cole Thomson will finally have legal access to medical cannabis (Image: East Kilbride News)

Cole’s condition had been rapidly deteriorated rapidly over the last year, with the brave child suffering up to 10 life-threatening seizures a day, leaving the boy paralysed and unable to speak.

His family hope that the CBD could help reduce the number and severity of seizures Cole experiences, potentially preventing permanent damage to the young boy’s brain.

Lisa Quarrell, Cole’s mother, spoke to The East Killbride News to express her delight with her son’s new prescription:

“I have a mixture of emotions to be finally told Cole will have a prescription for Epidiolex from Glasgow – I’m proud, happy, relieved, angry and guilty.

“I’m so happy for Cole to finally be able to access medical cannabis in the UK and especially in Scotland.

“However, the journey to get here has been tough and exhausting which is completely unnecessary and unfair.

Medical Cannabis Patient in Hospital in UK

Cole has been in-and-out of hospital with life-threatening seizures (Image: EAST KILBRIDE NEWS)

“There are still hundreds of children and young adults – some are part of our Parents of Hope group – who are still waiting and have been for years.

“Some with children who stop breathing and turn blue every night due to seizures, who are too drained to fight this fight publicly.

“My fight started about Cole and will always be about him. However, our journey brought us to where we are today and what we now know cannot be forgotten.”

I’m so happy for Cole to finally be able to access medical cannabis in the UK and especially in Scotland. However, the journey to get here has been tough and exhausting which is completely unnecessary and unfair.
Lisa Quarrell, mother of Cannabis Warrior, Cole

While around 7,000 children in Scotland have been diagnosed with epilepsy, only 10 Scottish children are being allowed a prescription for medical cannabis.

Five children will receive cannabis oil at Edinburgh Sick Children’s Hospital, with a further five receiving it from Glasgow Children’s Hospital.

Despite an apparent change in the law in November 2018, which permits medical professionals to prescribe cannabinoid-based medication, children and adults across Scotland and the rest of the UK are being denied legal access due to overly restrictive guidelines.

Cole was initially refused treatment because he suffers from focal epilepsy and the brain defect cortical dysplasia.

His mother, Lisa, fought a hard campaign to raise awareness of Cole’s situation amongst policy-makers and politicians, while also raising thousands for other families in similar situations.

Lisa helped launch Parents of Hope campaign last year, which aims to reform the current laws and procedures for acquiring medical cannabis licenses.

Medical Cannabis Campaigners: Scottish Mothers

Lisa (left) and Karen (right): Founders of Parents of Hope, a medical cannabis campaign charity

Even with the change in the law, Lisa and her desperate family were forced to become “Cannabis Refugees,” trying to source whole plant cannabis treatment (which includes THC) from Spain.

Scottish MP, Monica Lennon, raised Cole’s case in Scottish Parliament last Thursday, bringing their story to Nicola Sturgeon’s attention.

He was offered medical cannabis treatment the next day.

Lisa also expressed a sadness that other children in Cole’s situation won’t be granted the same access he is:

“Cole is one of only five children in Glasgow picked out a hat, and 10 from the whole of Scotland to get Epidiolex until more is available in May.

Cannabis epilepsy child and mother UK

Lisa with her brave young medical cannabis warrior, Cole (Image: East Kilbride News)

“I have no doubt this is because I have been shouting about our pain and struggles. Now, after being told no for nearly a year, we finally get it.

“I will get Epidiolex in a few weeks and I pray this works for Cole because it’s all the UK have to offer.

“If this doesn’t work there’s nowhere to go here as my friend Karen Gray is discovering as she begs for her son Murray to be given a medication called Bedrolite which has already proved successful and life-changing and is already prescribed to children in England under private prescriptions.

“I want to continue to fight for all the children waiting and also for there to be a much clearer route for exhausted parents and for us to have options – not to feel pressure to accept the one thing on offer.

“Also, I need to know there’s a plan B if Epidiolex doesn’t work for Cole.”

While being given a prescription for CBD-based Epidolex it is certainly a positive step forward for Cole and his family, Karen Gary, mother of Murray, who also suffers intractable epilepsy and already has a prescription for Epidolex, has found the CBD-only medication has already lost its effectiveness.

The Edinburgh mum explained:

“When I started campaigning and found out the UK is the biggest provider of cannabis worldwide, I was outraged.

“Murray has been in hospital since last December.

“Two weeks after he started using Epidiolex we went home and he went back to school – his seizures gone.

“It’s crazy because there’s so many parents giving it to their kids illegally and just keeping quiet about it because it’s helping them and they’re so scared of getting arrested or a visit from social services but it’s helping their children lead normal lives – that’s wrong.

“They should be getting help by their doctors.”

Lisa thanked everyone involved in Cole’s campaign especially Monique McAdams of East Kilbride Community Trust, MP Dr Lisa Cameron, Monica Lennon MSP and everyone who fundraised for and donated to Parents of Hope.

A spokesman for NHS Greater Glasgow And Clyde said Epidiolex was “not yet licensed in the UK,” which means the administration of the drug to any patient is subject to a clinical assessment.