The boy in 7 billion is the intriguing story of how a 14-year-old, Deryn Blackwell, managed to overcome an incredibly rare form of Cancer with the help of his mother Callie Blackwell and Cannabis. He had previously gone through the trauma of battling Leukemia and then in 2012 young Deryn was diagnosed with Langerhans Cell Sarcoma.
The boys condition was so extreme doctors deemed the situation fatal and estimated a timescale of only 3 days left to live.
In an interview conducted by metro.co.uk, his mother said,
‘it was bleak. He was given 3 days to live, had planned his own funeral, including music and the transport for his coffin.’
After enduring four unsuccessful bone marrow transplants over the course of a ten month period, and exhausting all forms of antibiotics, steroids, painkillers, and anti-sickness drugs including the powerful opioid Fentanyl, the teenager was left with a completely depleted immune system.
It was then that Callie Blackwell decided that enough was enough, and proceeded to make a 'cannabis made medicine’ herself. Feeling helpless and out of options, she discovered testaments of people using cannabis as a successful treatment. This discovery was a catalyst for her decision to use cannabis despite its illegal status in the UK.
Instantaneous results ensued as the treatment began. ‘The immediate effects were that of calm. Deryn had been experiencing 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’ said the boy’s mother.
She continued, ‘5 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.’
Campaigners have stated that the chemical found in cannabis knows as Cannabidiol (CBD) can be a big aid to people suffering from a range of diseases including cancer. Shortly after, there was a public announcement delivered by Sajid Javid, the Home Secretary.
Javid issued a statement revealing that specialist prescriptions for CBD oil will be offered by the NHS, however, the ‘whole plant’ treatment will remain illegal. Unlike the ‘whole plant’ remedy used by the Blackwells, CBD in the form of alcohol solutions will be all that the NHS will be prescribing.
While this CBD oil has its own benefits, it also has potential limitations when compared to the treatment used by Deryn. One major difference between Deryn’s treatment and CBD products that are legal in the UK is that those which are legal, do not contain the chemical in cannabis that enables its users to experience the high (THC).
Five years after initial treatment, positive yet ‘unusual’ findings continue to be found by doctors who acknowledge the progress and the ongoing improvement made by Deryn. This advancement in health, albeit exceptional, doesn’t change the fact that Callie Blackwell isn’t fully satisfied with the current laws including the new one regarding the use of cannabis in the UK.
She is of the opinion that for people like her son who have success stories derived from their use of cannabis, the new law legalising CBD oil is not necessarily as progressive as it may seem.
Unfortunately, since the new legislation does not include the treatment that Deryn was using, Callie Blackwell says that by proceeding with her sons regular doses, ‘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.’ She continued by saying ‘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.’ She later added, ‘many come off other licensed medicines because of cannabis’ and ‘It (cannabis) won’t be recognised for cancer and certainly not as a preventative which is why Deryn still consumes a daily dose.’
To this day Callie Blackwell is still being reached out to by those who feel that their conditions would be vastly improved by the cannabis oil used by Deryn. As a campaigner herself now, she is a huge advocate, encouraging people to use it and recommending cannabis oil to those suffering from all forms of serious illnesses. Her one regret is leaving the treatment to the 11th hour after deeming all other options futile. She urges people to start the treatment at the earliest possible occasion. The fascinating journey of Deryn’s recovery was so inspiring that Callie Blackwell has written a book about it. The book is titled The Boy in 7 Billion - a true story of love, courage and hope.