Dundonald toddler receives first private prescription for medicinal cannabis to treat epilepsy

Toddler Jorja Emerson can suffer up to 30 seizures a day

A CO DOWN toddler with severe epilepsy is believed to have become the first child in the UK to be prescribed medical cannabis since a change in the law last month.

Two-year-old Jorja Emerson from Dundonald suffers up to 30 seizures a day and her family say the treatment is "the difference between her living and dying".

Her father, Robin, confirmed she was prescribed the medication at a private hospital in London yesterday. It will cost around £1,000 a month.

The development comes five months after a landmark ruling led to a seven-year-old Co Down girl being granted the first long-term licence for the use of medicinal cannabis in the UK.

Sophia Gibson, from Newtownards, who also suffers from a rare form of epilepsy, was granted the licence by an expert panel set up by the British government following a three-year battle by her parents.

Co Tyrone schoolboy Billy Caldwell (12) has also been granted a similar licence to treat his epilepsy.

Following a change in the law on November 1, the drug was rescheduled which meant that medicinal cannabis oil can be prescribed - but only where other treatment options have been exhausted.

Mr Emerson said this made obtaining a prescription difficult.

"I was fearing that this day would never come," he said.

"I hope this day paves the way for many other clinicians to have the confidence to prescribe."

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