A suicidal schoolboy who was crippled by chronic fatigue syndrome has made an incredible recovery after taking cannabis oil.
Tom Bethell’s life has been transformed since he started daily drops of cannabidiol or CBD, a legal form of cannabis, minus the THC that gives users a high.
It’s widely available online, although sellers can’t make claims for its effectiveness as it isn’t currently licensed as a medicine in England and Wales.
Tom, 15, from Thetford, Norfolk, hasn’t been to school for nearly eight years because of ME, also known as chronic fatigue syndrome.
He became so depressed he told his mother Sarah Thomas, 38, he ‘didn’t want to live any more’.
Tom Bethell’s life has been transformed since he started daily drops of cannabidiol or CBD, a legal form of cannabis, minus the THC that gives users a high
He was bed-bound, no longer growing and so weak that even his eye muscles didn’t function properly, leaving him with blurred vision.
Ms Thomas, who used to be his full-time carer, said: ‘Tom had no energy at all and was in a complete “brain fog”.
‘He would fall over 20 or 30 times a day, he was completely debilitated. His memory was poor, he couldn’t even breathe properly.
Doctors had prescribed the anti-depressant amitriptyline but it hadn’t worked.
In desperation Ms Thomas offered him cannabis oil, as recommended by her own mother, who praised its remarkable effects on her Crohn’s disease.
Ms Thomas, a mother-of-two, said: ‘It’s completely changed his life and alleviated his symptoms.
He became so depressed he told his mother Sarah Thomas, 38, he ‘didn’t want to live any more’
WHAT IS CANNABIS OIL?
Cannabidiol oil is a cannabis-derived nutritional supplement which possesses a range of medicinal benefits.
It has been reported to help people with epilepsy, rheumatism, migraines, psoriasis, acne, multiple sclerosis and depression.
Crucially, cannabidiol oil does not contain any THC, the psychoactive component of cannabis. In other words, CBD does not get you high.
Since last year, it has been legal to buy in the UK, after the Government’s healthcare watchdog approved its use as a medicine under licence. Those seeking the oil can find it online or in some high street stores.
Cannabidiol, or CBD, is one of more than 80 cannabinoids, natural compounds found in the marijuana plant.
Extracted from the plant as a mineral-rich oil, it is usually bottled with a dropper – but also comes in the form of chewing gum, soap or as a vape oil for e-cigarettes.
It has no side effects, either, and is not addictive.
‘It’s kick-started his growth, he shot up 11 inches in nine months. Even his hair had stopped growing and now it’s started again.
‘He’s now hit puberty, he’s got body hair and leg hair, he went up two shoe sizes in eight weeks. His memory is better and he can retain information.
‘He’s gone from relearning his 3x tables to now being able to attempt five GCSE exams next year. Before he couldn’t even find the words to have a conversation’
‘He will probably always have ME, but the CBD is allowing him to be himself. He’s a lot happier and no longer has reactive depression.
‘He’s a happy child, like a normal 15-year-old. Never in my wildest dreams did I expect to see him like this.’
Ms Thomas now works for CBD Brothers, the firm that supplies her family with cannabis oil.
She believes CBD has also helped her by reducing the pain from her rheumatoid arthritis and hypermobility.
And her mother Wendy, 67, a civil servant also from Thetford, swears by CBD. She’s drug-free after Crohn’s disease left her so ill she was on a liquid-only diet.
Is it legal?
Government advisors made it legal to buy CBD oil last October after they admitted that it has a ‘restoring, correcting or modifying’ effect on humans.
However, the oils legal status has confused thousands across England and Wales, after the MHRA back-tracked on its position just weeks after.
Suppliers now have to obtain a licence to sell it as a medicine, following the decision last October – but some weave the strict rules.
Manufacturers are able to avoid regulation by selling it as a food supplement – ignoring the lengthy process of gaining a medicinal licence.
CBD oil, which can reportedly help with back pain, anxiety and epilepsy, has yet to be approved for use on the NHS in Scotland.
Billy Caldwell, from Castlederg, Northern Ireland, made headlines in April when he became the first Briton to be prescribed CBD on the NHS.
THE LANDMARK CASE OF BILLY CALDWELL
An 11-year-old on the brink of death from a severe form of epilepsy has made an ‘incredible’ recovery since taking medical marijuana.
Billy Caldwell, from Castlederg, Northern Ireland, made headlines in April when he became the first Briton to be prescribed such a drug on the NHS.
But his treatment actually began last November, when he was given cannabis oil by specialists in the US in hope it would control his vicious seizures.
And now, 10 months since he was first given the liquid cannabis oil, he hasn’t had any seizures. He used to suffer up to 100 a day.
Born with intractable epilepsy and learning disabilities, Billy has since cheated death thousands of times, his mother said.
Charlotte told Derry Now: ‘Following extensive treatment with CBD oil, Billy is now more than 300 days seizure free.’
The 49-year-old, who is her son’s full-time carer, also told ITV News earlier this year the change has been ‘incredible, because one seizure can kill him.source