A 10-year-old boy had just three days to live after battling a rare cancer which affects one in seven billion people and was planning his own funeral before cannabis saved his life.
Callie Blackwell, now a cannabis campaigner, told Deryn Blackwell had ‘tried every painkiller, antibiotic, anti-sickness and steroid drug’ when she decided to make her own illegal cannabis-based medicine. Blackwell told Metro.co.uk, ‘I couldn’t bear watching Deryn in so much pain from the necrosis in his infected three finger.
‘He was on Fentanyl by this time and even that wasn’t working. That’s when I decided to make a cannabis based medicine myself.’ Deryn had previously battled leukaemia and in 2012 was suffering from Langerhans cell sarcoma, a rare form of cancer which affects one in seven billion people.
Deryn had had four bone marrow transplants which all failed in the space of ten months, leaving him with ‘no immune system’, his mother said – and a finger injury led doctors to give him three days to live.
Blackwell said, ‘It was bleak. He was given three days to live, had planned his own funeral, including music and the transport for his coffin
With no other choices available, and cannabis medication not licensed, Blackwell decided to use cannabis illegally – and the effects were breathtaking. She said, ‘I’d seen countless articles on people treating their cancers with Cannabis and had done a lot of research but initially, I dismissed it. I had no idea what it could do.’
Blackwell said that the effects were immediate – and within days, Deryn began to recover. She said, ‘The immediate effects were that of calm. Deryn had been experiencing terrible night terrors, he was ready to die but it was taking too long for him so he was getting severely anxious. Deryn didn’t want to die on morphine.
‘The first thing that was remarkable was his refusal of Cyclizine, an anti-sickness drug he had become addicted to. He never took that or morphine again! ‘Five days later, his immune system started to produce blood cells – this was a week after doctors told us that there was absolutely no chance of him recovering.’ The Home Secretary Sajid Javid announced this month that the NHS will offer prescriptions for CBD oil from November 1
Cannabidiol’ (CBD), is a chemical from cannabis which campaigners claim helps with diseases including cancer and Crohn’s disease. Crucially, CBD products don’t contain any THC, the chemical in cannabis which causes the high – so it’s legal to use in the UK. But Blackwell says that the new law doesn’t go far enough – and says that the NHS will only offer alcohol solutions containing CBD rather than ‘whole plant’ remedies (which remain illegal).
She says that five years after his recovery, Deryn continues to take cannabis-based medicine – and his recovery has amazed doctors. Blackwell said, ‘It’s been five years since his treatment and instead of finding damage, they are discovering that he is repairing and advancing in ways they find very unusual.’ She says, ‘This [new law] is a step back for the vast majority of cannabis consumers who have been successfully treating themselves to no ill effect and certainly a step back for my son and people like myself who help others
‘Not only will we and thousands of others be breaking the Misuse of Drugs act, we will also be breaking prescription laws which carry a higher penalty. ‘In order to get the chance to be prescribed a cannabis based product, you have to suffer from an illness on the very small list of recognised ailments. Then you have to exhaust EVERY other licensed medicine first and then maybe you can have a prescription for a drug that causes horrendous side effects.
‘Many come off the other licensed medicines because of cannabis. ‘It won’t be recognised for cancer and certainly not as a preventative which is why Deryn still consumes a daily dose.’
Blackwell says that she is still contacted by hundreds of people wanting access to cannabis oil – and would recommend it to others battling serious illnesses. She says, ‘I waited right until the very end to try it and we were lucky. It’s one of the reasons I wrote a book about Deryn’s recovery. My advice would be to do it an awful lot sooner than I did.”
The Boy in Seven Billion by Callie Blackwell and Karen Hockney is out now, published by Mirror Books.