Last Monday, a U.K. mother had her epileptic son’s CBD (cannabadiol) oil, a medication that has saved him from having as many as 100 seizures a day, seized by immigration authorities when she arrived back home at London’s Heathrow airport – this after returning from an 11,000 km round trip to and from Canada, where she legally acquired it. To be fair, Charlotte Caldwell, the mother who is the subject of this story, announced she would be “openly smuggling” it into the UK as a protest against the UK’s drug restrictive laws for products of this nature.
I used to play basement rock band in high-school. Our drummer was epileptic, and I witnessed him having grand mal epileptic seizures. His body would turn to stone and he was incapable of moving for what seemed like minutes. He hurt himself often from the falls he would take as a result of being suddenly immobile. It broke my heart every time. Now, if it were my son, and he needed CBD oil to survive, I might have just quietly gone to Canada, slipped the product discreetly into my luggage and try to get away with it has I re-entered UK customs, declaring a souvenir ‘Canada’ sweatshirt purchased at the gift shop at Pearson airport. But I get the point. Her highly public efforts resulted in her son becoming the first UK recipient of an NHS prescription for cannabis.
Two days before this episode played out in the international press, I had the pleasure of interviewing Rory Millikin, Co-Founder and CEO of Cannabis MD. Mr. Miliken, a native of Saskatchewan, recounted to me why he got into the cannabis business. I could transcribe it here, but it is repeated on his website quite eloquently. “My youngest daughter, London, when she was around 2 years old, starting (sic) having Grand Mal Seizures that locked her into a terrifying, frozen-like state for 2-5 minutes which is an eternity when your child is held prisoner in a paralytic seizure. Additionally, my little brother suffers from chronic pain due to a tragic hockey accident that left him paralyzed. As a family, we didn’t know which was worse, the chronic pain or the opioids he had to take to endure the daily, agonizing pain that he suffers from. [CBD] freed my brother from using opioids.”
CD: Tell me a little about yourself and the company?
RM: “I got into the business because of my brother, who used to play for the Notre Dame Hounds. Notre Dame is a big hockey school in Wilcox, Saskatchewan. It’s one of Canada’s top NHL training schools, and they live and breathe hockey there. In the Saskatchewan championships, he was cross-checked from behind and rendered a quadriplegic in the opening 46 seconds of the game and it changed his life and it put our family through an extraordinary ordeal. He had to take opioids for pain -he was in agonizing daily chronic pain”.
“One day he seemed clear-eyed and I said, “you look good, man, you look rested”. He said he was doing this cannabidiol, CBD, and I had never heard of it. He said it was cannabis, but it doesn’t get you high. I asked him how it was working. I mean we lived in the hospital with him and I watched what he endured.”
“Our site is non-advocacy -we have to be, both CannabisMD and God’s Green Earth (a Christian cannabis business) – that’s what we’re about, but there are ailments for which CBD has proven to be effective, for my brother, my dog, and my mom who has arthritis.”
“Our site represents the first time ever that someone can look up a particular ailment; ADHD, chronic pain, epilepsy, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, cancer. It has 62 websites underneath the CannabisMD banner. And on each website, there are three pillars. There are videos, original content and all the scientific studies on that subject, posted under that one ailment’s silo.
We didn’t get too much further in our discussion, as the traffic at the show was starting to pick up and Mr. Miliken was getting interrupted by show-goers looking for more information about the business.
While it has become increasingly clear that CBD oil has shown high degree of effectiveness on epilepsy, so much so that a mother would risk her reputation, her money and time to acquire it, this relatively unknown and under-researched branch of plant-based medicine still has shown that it has many secrets to reveal, with the promise of further revelations in the future. Patients should consult with medical professionals before experimenting with any new treatment or therapy, and investors are cautioned that many claims of effectiveness may take years to prove conclusively in medical and pharmacological circles. CBD oil make be a miracle cure for some, but no more effective (and just as costly) as snake oil for others. Caveat emptor.