Thanks to cannabis, instead of dying in palliative care from a brain tumor, four-year old William frost is heading to school.
Is there anything more difficult than finding out that your child has a serious illness? When it is terminal, the anguish galvanizes a parent to hunt down whatever solution they can to change that outcome. Steve and Hilary Frost, in England, can attest to this feeling when they found out their four-year old son, William, had an incurable brain tumor.
In 2013, Steve and Hilary noticed that William’s head kept tilting to one side, but there was no discernible reason for it; doctors didn’t believe it to be anything serious. Then William’s balance and coordination began to deteriorate, followed by random vomiting.
The family doctor referred William to an ear, nose, and throat clinic, but before they could get there, the symptoms worsened to the point that Hilary and Steve took William to the emergency room. A few days later, doctors decided to do an MRI scan. It was then that they found an aggressive tumor in his brain, the size of a golf ball.
So, in 2014, William Frost was barely out of infancy, and he was diagnosed with an ependymoma brain tumour. He endured surgery and gruelling rounds of chemotherapy, only to have the tumor grow back 18 months later. In 2016, William’s parents were told this time it was terminal. They would lose their son.
Steve spent his days and nights looking up alternative therapies and that’s when he read about the benefits of cannabidiol (CBD). William’s consultant, Professor Richard Grundy, was able to prescribe the CBD. On its own, without the presence of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), CBD is legal in the United Kingdom.
A nine month supply cost £2000 but worth every single penny. Soon after starting CBD oil, William began to improve and at the six month MRI appointment, everyone was stunned to see that the tumor had shrunk by two thirds!!
Two years have passed and William still lives. The tumor resides in his brain still, but it has stabilized and is no longer killing him. In fact, William was able to go to school and return to his childhood.
William’s family are inspired by his progress and want to use their energy to help other families in the same struggle. They support research at the University of Nottingham that is investigating how CBD can help those struggling with cancer. Fundraising for a research project that will look into the effects of CBD on ependymoma tumors is already underway. The hope is that an official recognition of CBD treatment will result in the NHS paying for patients to have access to CBD.
In 2016, the UK government decided that CBD is ‘restoring’, which makes it a legitimate medical necessity for those with certain ailments. Those with diseases like Crohn’s or cancer can use CBD to help alleviate symptoms, and in William’s case, even treat the root cause.
It’s an exciting time for cannabis research and cancer patients. There is hope that research and advancements will mainstream this important medicine.