Who is Hannah Deacon
Hannah Deacon, Executive Director of UKMCCS (United Kingdom Medical Cannabis Clinicians Society), is also the parent of the first patient in the UK to receive a permanent cannabis licence.
Hannah's son, Alfie Dingley, spent the first four months of his life in hospital, living off life support machines and experienced his first seizure at just eight months old.
Hannah Deacon talked to The Extract about the future of cannabis-based medications in the UK.
Improving quality of life with cannabis
When Hannah was told of her son’s condition by doctors and the quality of life he could expect she began to investigate alternative treatments.
At first, the family tried using with mainstream treatments including anti-epilepsy drugs, a ketogenic diet and immunoglobulins, but the only treatment that had any effect was a steroid called IV Methylprednisolone. However, this steroid has some severe side effects, such as mood swings, restlessness and headaches.
Hannah's research into epilepsy treatments led to medical cannabis research and despite a number of setbacks, she was eventually able to secure medical cannabis.
After five weeks of regular cannabis treatment, Alfie had experienced 17 days without a seizure – his longest seizure-free ever at that point.
Cannabis can change lives
Alfie has a very rare form of epilepsy and, before beginning his medical cannabis treatment, he experienced more than 500 seizures a month.
Now, Alfie, aged eight, lives a relatively normal life with the aid of cannabis oil treatment.
Education is key to cannabinoid legalisation
Hannah believes that education is the key to changing opinion around cannabis. She is acutely aware of how little doctors know in regard to the endocannabinoid system and cannabinoid-based medicines.
In her role as Executive Director of the UKMCCS Hannah Deacon gives talks and spreads factual information about cannabis treatments. It is her long term hope that opinions will change and the NHS will adopt these treatments.