Belfast Telegraph

Charlotte Caldwell defends role in firm selling legal cannabis products

Charlotte Caldwell and her son Billy outside the Home Office (Yui Mok/PA)
Charlotte Caldwell and her son Billy outside the Home Office (Yui Mok/PA)
Mark Bain

By Mark Bain

Supporters of Charlotte Caldwell have defended her role in a company that sells legal cannabis products.

The campaigning mother is a director of 'Billy's Bud', which was set up in June 2017 and distributes oils, capsules, powder, gummies, shots and honey sticks.

Mrs Caldwell, who has been fighting for the law to be changed allowing her son Billy to access cannabis oil to treat his severe epilepsy, said profits have been used to fund his round-the-clock healthcare needs.

And the Billy Caldwell Campaign said that "anybody who is in any way critical of Charlotte Caldwell legitimately doing whatever she can to ensure Billy's wellbeing in later life should take a long, hard look at themselves".

The oil she sells is CBD, a type of cannabis chemical which is legal in Britain because it does not make users high.

It is not the same as the THC variety, which has mind-altering and psychoactive effects, and which is currently banned.

"Any criticism simply highlights the key issue: awareness and understanding of medicinal cannabis as opposed to recreational cannabis," a statement from the Billy Caldwell Campaign Team said.

"What's available on Billy's Bud you could also buy in the high street, although those available on Billy's Bud are of the highest possible quality.

"Cannabis oil medication with the higher concentration of THC will only be available after assessment of individuals by the Government's expert panel of clinicians currently being set up, and not through retail channels in the UK.

"It is vital that there is a clear understanding of the difference. It would take vast volumes of cannabis oil with THC to have any psychoactive effect."

Charlotte Caldwell with her son Billy, who suffers from severe epilepsy
Charlotte Caldwell with her son Billy, who suffers from severe epilepsy

Billy had been suffering as many as 100 seizures a day before being prescribed cannabis oil containing THC by a doctor in Northern Ireland.

His mother said he had been free of seizures for about 300 days due to the treatment, but the Home Office recently ordered the doctor to stop prescribing the oil. Following his admission to hospital, the Home Office granted a 20-day licence for the use of the banned substance.

On Tuesday the Home Secretary said the use of medicinal cannabis was to be reviewed, which could lead to more prescriptions of drugs made from the plant.

The Billy's Bud website is currently down for maintenance but a post on the company's Facebook page in December said: "The CBD oil that we carry is 100% legal! It is from the hemp plant and does NOT contain THC!"

Meanwhile, the family of an 11-year-old boy suffering from severe epilepsy have joined calls for cannabis oil to be legalised for medicinal use.

Oliver Snale's cousin said the child's parents were left "upset" and "frustrated" after they were told they must stop giving him the oil.

A petition supporting the legalisation of the drug for patients like Oliver, from Liverpool, has gained more than 126,000 signatures so far.

Kate Rothwell, who started the petition, said Oliver had been doing well after around 18 months on the oil, which his parents had been able to buy online.

But she said the family were told three weeks ago that they must stop giving him the medication.

Belfast Telegraph


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