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Billy Caldwell Receives First NHS-Funded Cannabis, Opens Door For Other British Patients

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The long two-year battle is over for Billy Caldwell, one of the UK’s most famous cannabis patients. The National Health Service (NHS) has agreed to provide him with government-funded cannabis for the rest of his life.

Now 15, Caldwell became an international media sensation after his mother, also an advocate and participant in the industry, went public with the fact that the supplies she was trying to bring into the country to treat her sick son were confiscated by the government at Heathrow airport.

Even more intriguingly? The prescription that Caldwell uses is not produced in the UK but rather produced in Canada, imported internationally, and paid for by the NHS. That said it is not clear that this exact model will be duplicated by the Belfast Trust, who is responsible for implementing the care plan, for other patients. Or any other NHS trust for that matter.

What Is Likely To Happen Next?

That this is a precedent-setting case is obvious – but what is the precedent likely to be?

As a subtext to all of this is that the NHS has finally admitted that the products that are produced domestically by GW Pharmaceuticals are not going to cut it for a lot of British patients.

The question on the table now, however, is where should the bulk of this “other” cannabis come from?

Buy British?

The logical caveat of course is that if locally produced cannabis oil meets muster on the regulatory side, is this, finally, the birth of the home-grown British industry? The Caldwell precedent, combined with a widely predicted ruling from the Food Safety Authority (FSA) that errs on the side of sanity from a novel food perspective, is actually really good news. And logically, the answer to that question is from a cost perspective, the answer, surely, must be yes.

While the raw products may not hail from the British Isles for a demand that is likely to be enormous on both the medical and consumer side, there are in fact companies on the horizon, established in the U.K. who are absolutely in a position to step up.

The local production of cannabis and its extracts into both food and medicine is a hot topic, particularly in Europe and even more particularly post Covid.

With such developments, it is not inconceivable that cannabis is well on its way post Brexit, to becoming as British as well, tea.

For the latest developments on the European cannabis market as well as the UK, be sure to stay tuned to our post-Covid conference schedule!