Scottish Mother Pledges Hunger Strike to Fight for Cheaper Cannabis Medicine
Karen Gray says she is on the road to financial ruin due to the steep monthly bill for her epileptic son’s medical cannabis oil.
Published on October 28, 2019

A disgruntled mother in Edinburgh, Scotland is traveling to London to make her voice heard by the British officials responsible for pricing the medicinal cannabis oil her son uses to treat his severe epilepsy, no matter what it takes.

According to the BBC, Karen Gray, an Edinburgh resident who treats her seven-year-old son Murray’s severe epilepsy with legal THC oil, will go days or weeks without food until the UK’s National Health Services secures public funding for her son’s medication. Gray says that she will protest in front of the government residences and office building on London’s famous Downing Street, and will be joined by other families from the UK cannabis advocacy group End Our Pain.

"Me and a group of other mums are planning on doing a hunger strike outside Downing Street to force [Health Secretary] Matt Hancock into providing funding," Gray told the BBC.

The UK legalized the medicinal use of cannabis oils last year, but with steep prices and no payment assistance available, Gray says that she now spends £1,300 on her son’s medication each and every month. But since the cannabis oil has miraculously prevented some 600 seizures a day for her son, Gray says that she can’t risk giving up the medication.

“Whenever we run out of money, what is going to happen to our children?” Gray said "I can't run out of oil for Murray. He will end up back in the hospital."

Gallery — Cannabis Extracts Up-Close and Personal:

At the UK Department of Health and Social Care, officials said that they are sympathetic with mothers like Gray, but that their hands are currently tied as researchers battle prohibition to suss out more clinically-backed information about the plant.

“...There is a clear consensus on the need for more evidence to support such prescribing decisions,” an agency spokesperson said. "Government is working with the health system, the industry, researchers, and others to improve the evidence base for these products so that decisions can be made about public funding and to provide clinicians with further support and guidance on prescribing these products where clinically appropriate."

In the meantime, Gray and her group of advocates will descend on Downing Street on November 1st — the one year anniversary of the UK’s medical cannabis law — to protest until a quicker solution is found. 

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Zach Harris
Zach Harris is a writer based in Philadelphia whose work has appeared on Noisey, First We Feast, and Jenkem Magazine. You can find him on Twitter @10000youtubes complaining about NBA referees.
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