The Famous Human Stories That Changed How We Look at Cannabis

Anecdotes that may change the way you perceive cannabis

Since 1996, when California became the first state in the US to legalise medical cannabis, widespread authorised medicinal use of marijuana has been gathering momentum across the globe. It would have been impossible to come so far without thousands of scientific studies backing the therapeutic potential of cannabis. However, research aside, the success of medical cannabis use comes directly from those who have used the plant and significantly benefited from it – something the world cannot ignore.

Countless anecdotal stories have made headlines over the years, grabbing the world’s attention, each reporting how marijuana has positively impacted the health and well-being of the user. In celebration of cannabis’ journey so far, let’s take a look at some most famous medical marijuana miracles, that have helped change public perception concerning cannabis use.



Billy Caldwell

A 12-year-old boy, Billy Caldwell, diagnosed with a rare form of epilepsy, sparked a nationwide conversation concerning the UK’s drug policy. Billy had earlier obtained a short-term licence from the Home Office to access cannabis oil, which his mother Charlotte said helped to control his seizures. The family was in London, where the child was receiving treatment. His mother said they were uncertain whether Billy would be able to receive the medical cannabis after returning home to Castlederg, in County Tyrone, Northern Ireland.


Autistic Boy Billy Caldwell obtained a license to use cannabis at home. Source

In 2017, Billy became the first person in the UK to receive the NHS (National Health Service) prescription and had to battle authorities to maintain legal access to medical marijuana. His mother reported, Billy suffered a seizure within hours – the first in 12 months – after his cannabis was confiscated at Heathrow airport. After tremendous public outrage, Northern Ireland's Department of Health granted him an emergency licence to use cannabis oil at home.



Alfie Dingley

Another case to make headlines is six-year-old, Alfie Dingley of Warwickshire, in the United Kingdom.  Alfie also suffers from a severe form of epilepsy that causes up to 150 seizures a month. After the case of Billy Caldwell, Alfie’s mother Hannah Deacon, urged the home secretary Sajid Javid, to intervene in her son’s case. His family said Dingley’s condition improved after using the cannabis oil in the Netherlands where it is legal. The family also presented a petition with over 370,000 signatures to Prime Minister Theresa May, calling for the government to grant Alfie a special licence to use medical cannabis.


Calls on the government to grant Alfie Dingley medical cannabis licence. Source

The home secretary granted a limited licence for marijuana to be administrated to Dingley in the hospital. His mother was allowed to carry the cannabis oil through London City Airport from Amsterdam. Ms. Deacon said it was the first time in the country they had brought back THC oil through the airport legally. 



Rick Simpson

Rick Simpson is one of the most renown figureheads in the cannabis industry. Simpson, a Canadian medical marijuana activist, reportedly cured his skin cancer using topical cannabis. Since then, he has helped thousands of other patients cure their diseases and fight for the legalisation of medical cannabis.


Rick Simpson fought his skin cancer with cannabis. Source

While working in a hospital, Rick was exposed to toxic fumes from asbestos, and as a result, he collapsed, suffering a head injury. Rick suffered years of tinnitus and dizziness after this incident, and after trying cannabis, found relief to his problems. A few years later, Simpson was diagnosed with basal cell carcinoma, a form of skin cancer. Rick immediately turned to marijuana again, knowing it had worked for him in the past, and having seen a 1975 study that showed that marijuana killed cancer cells in mice.

He opted to treat his skin cancer topically and eventually, his cancerous lumps disappeared entirely. Despite arrests and prosecutions, he went on to harvest his own unique cannabis oil, popularly known as RSO (Rick Simpson Oil).



Kristen Courtney

Kristen Courtney was diagnosed with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis at the age of sixteen. Arthritis quickly developed into a severe autoimmune disorder, leaving her bedridden for nearly four years. This led to a litany of health conditions such as lupus, interstitial cystitis, and cervical dysplasia. Consequently, Kristen underwent fourteen operations and four years of bed rest with little hope for a healthy future.

Finally, she began juicing raw cannabis, and after just one month she noticed a dramatic reduction in her pain. Kristine is now a co-founder of Cannabis International and working on the statistics and research into the part that cannabis plays in our health.



Sophia Gibson

Seven-year-old Sophia Gibson, from Newtownards, Northern Ireland, suffers from Dravet syndrome, a rare and severe form of epilepsy. A genetic dysfunction of her brain led to severe epileptic seizures and the rare diagnosis in Sophia. Her family made an application on Sophia’s behalf to the home secretary who later granted Sophie the first long-term license for medicinal cannabis in the UK, under the new expert panel system.


Sophia Gibson secured the first long-term licence in the UK to use cannabis oil for her epilepsy. Source

Sophia’s parents, Danielle and Darren, said cannabis oils relieved Sophia’s condition, and could significantly reduce the number of seizures she suffers every day.

There are other countless stories of people who have had to fight for their right, to access medical cannabis to treat their medical conditions. Many have succeeded in recent years, which has helped changed the world’s attitude towards this ancient, naturally derived drug.