Father-of-two, 37, who launched his own brand of cannabis-based oil claims it cured his paralysis after using himself as a ‘human guinea pig’
- Dan Rodwell was struck with rare condition Gullian-Barre Syndrome
- He was rushed to hospital where he was put in an induced coma on life support
- Doctors said Mr Rodwell would take six to 18 months to walk and talk normally
- He used CBD oil while in hospital as it had relieved his symptoms of Crohn’s
- One month later he could walk unaided – and says doctors were amazed
A father-of-two claims CBD oil helped cure his paralysis while he was fighting for his life with a rare condition.
Dan Rodwell, 37, lost all feeling in his lower body after being struck with Guillian-Barre syndrome – which causes the body to attack its own nerves.
Doctors said it would take six to 18 months for him to talk and walk again after he was put in an induced coma on life support.
But Mr Rodwell, of Bromley, south east London, was back on his feet within a month, attributing his speedy recovery to CBD oil, made from the cannabis plant.
He had turned to CBD oil after finding that, like many, it relieved him of pain and inflammation – caused by his Crohn’s.
After acting as a ‘human guinea pig’ while hospitalised – months after the launch of his own product – he hopes to help many others.
Dan Rodwell, 37, lost all feeling in his lower body after being struck with Gullian-Barre Syndrome (GBS) – which causes the body to attack its own nerves – in December 2017
The father to Finley, five, and Charlie, two, attributes his speedy recovery in hospital to CBD oil. Doctors said he wouldn’t walk or talk again for 18 months, but he was walking within a month
Mr Rodwell said: ‘I’d originally heard about CBD oil through a friend. I found it really useful with my Crohn’s and launched my own brand of it.
‘So, right away, I started wondering about whether it could help me again.
‘I am always happy to tell my own story, but would never promise CBD oil will do exactly the same thing for someone else.’
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CBD oil is extracted from the cannabis plant and was legalised in Britain in 2017 as long as levels of the psychoactive part, THC, do not exceed 0.2 per cent. Cannabis oil is still illegal.
WHAT IS CBD OIL AND IS IT LEGAL IN THE UK?
Government advisers at the MHRA made it legal to buy cannabidiol (CBD) oil in 2016 after they admitted that it has a ‘restoring, correcting or modifying’ effect on humans.
Suppliers in England and Wales have to obtain a licence to sell it as a medicine, following the decision in October two years ago.
Manufacturers are able to avoid the strict regulation by selling it as a food supplement – ignoring the lengthy process of gaining a medicinal licence.
CBD products comes in many forms, the most popular being an oil – which users spray under their tongue – or gel tablets which melt slowly in the mouth.
Cannabis oil, which is different to CBD oil because it contains THC – the compound that gives users a ‘high’ – is illegal under UK laws.
Billy Caldwell, from Castlederg, Northern Ireland, made headlines last April when he became the first Briton to be prescribed it on the NHS.
Cannabis oil, which reportedly has no side effects, influences the release and uptake of ‘feel good’ chemicals such as dopamine and serotonin.
Mr Rodwell used it to ease inflammation caused by the digestive condition, Crohn’s, but others claim the ‘miracle medicine’ can help sleep and weight loss, among other health ailments.
He launched his own brand with his wife, Cassie, 32, in September 2017.
But Mr Rodwell did not expect that just a few months later, he would be putting his faith in the oil to help something more sinister.
Mr Rodwell, who has two sons, Finley, five, and Charlie, two, nodded off on the sofa one night in December 2017 only to wake with a numb right leg.
Assuming he had slept awkwardly, he limped to bed but, the next morning, was horrified to have lost all feeling in his lower half.
He was rushed to hospital where he was diagnosed with Guillian-Barre syndrome (GBS) – a rare but serious condition causing the body to attack its own nerves.
It mainly affects the feet, hands and limbs, causing problems such as numbness, weakness and pain. Occasionally it can be life-threatening.
Ironically, Mr Rodwell had been worrying about getting GBS after reading about it a few weeks before.
He said: ‘GBS is thought to be caused by a problem with the immune system and sometimes surgery can be a trigger.
Mr Rodwell, pictured with his wife, Cassie, 32, and their children, had turned to CBD oil after finding that, like many, it relieved him of pain and inflammation – caused by his Crohn’s
Mr Rodwell launched his own brand of CBD oil in September 2017, just a few months before he was paralysed with a rare condition whereby the body attacks its own nerves
WHAT IS GUILLAIN-BARRÉ SYNDROME?
Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) occurs when the body’s immune system attacks its nervous system.
It affects around one in 100,000 people in the UK and US.
Symptoms usually start with a tingling sensation in the leg, which may spread to the arms and upper body.
In severe cases, the person can become paralysed.
The condition can be life-threatening if it affects a person’s breathing, blood pressure or heart rate.
GBS’ cause is unknown, but it usually occurs after a viral infection. The NHS states campylobacter infections have been known to trigger GBS.
There is no cure.
Treatment focuses on restoring the nervous system.
Source: National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
‘I’d had an operation in November related to my Crohn’s and just a couple of weeks before I fell ill had been reading up on GBS.’
Within 24 hours of arriving at hospital, Mr Rodwell was officially diagnosed and started a five day course of immunoglobulin replacement therapy, where he was given antibodies to help him fight infection.
Things went from bad to worse and, struggling to breathe, he was put on life support and placed in a coma to allow his body to recover.
Lying unconscious throughout Christmas, Mr Rodwell came to just before New Year’s Eve, still unable to walk or talk.
Doctors warned it could be between six and 18 months before he regained all of his motor skills and speech and life returned to normal.
Mr Rodwell said: ‘I was almost numb to the words – it’s impossible to describe how it feels to hear that. But with some encouragement, I soon saw it more as a challenge to beat those odds.’
Still unable to speak, Mr Rodwell used an alphabet board to ask his wife to bring him CBD oil.
‘Then, using it every day, dripped onto my tongue, by January 7 I was able to talk again,’ he said.
‘By January 9 I stood up for the first time to give Cassie her birthday present.’
Mr Rodwell left the intensive care unit 11 days after being admitted. Then, on January 16, took his first steps, before being able to walk unaided by January 23.
Doctors warned Mr Rodwell it could be between six and 18 months before he regained all of his motor skills and speech and life returned to normal
Mr Rodwell left the intensive care unit 11 days after being admitted. Then, on January 16, a month after first being taken to hospital, he took his first steps
WHO CAN RECEIVE A PRESCRIPTION OF CANNABIS OIL ON THE NHS?
Very few people in England are likely to get a prescription for medical cannabis.
Currently, it is only likely to be prescribed for the following conditions:
- children and adults with rare, severe forms of epilepsy
- adults with vomiting or nausea caused by chemotherapy
Some cannabis-based products are available to buy over the internet without a prescription.
It’s likely most of these products – even those called ‘CBD oils’ – will be illegal to possess or supply and there’s a good chance they will contain THC – the chemical which makes you high.
You cannot get cannabis-based medicine from your GP – it can only be prescribed by a specialist hospital doctor.
He said: ‘To go from being paralysed to walking out of hospital, which I did on January 24 – in less than a month – amazed everyone.
‘My doctors said it was the fastest recovery from GBS on record. Now they have even written some papers on me.
‘I am sure the CBD oil really helped me.’
CBD oil has been hailed for its possible ability to reduce inflammation and pain, improve heart health and support weight loss.
However, the NHS remain sceptical, warning that products in shops or online have no guarantee of health benefits.
While there is some evidence that medical cannabis can help certain types of pain, this evidence is not yet strong enough to recommend it for pain relief.
Health chiefs have said that medicinal cannabis products available on prescription – from November 2018 – are only likely to benefit a very small number of patients.
But Mr Rodwell, like many fellow users, swears by it, and said: ‘With my Crohn’s, I found it helped with inflammation and also eased stress and anxiety, which can be triggers.’
Completely recovered, Mr Rodwell, whose CBD oil brand is called CannWell, remains an ardent protagonist of the medicinal properties of legal cannabis products.
Mr Rodwell said: ‘My doctors said it was the fastest recovery from GBS on record. Now they have even written some papers on me’
The couple believe that CBD oil, which they sell under the name of CannWell, helped Mr Rodwell to recover as quickly as he did
He said: ‘It is always a tricky market, because of all the misconceptions and associations, but I hope more education can change that.
‘When people hear the word cannabis, they think about getting high – when actually, CBD is not the part of the plant that does that.
‘After everything I went through, I felt inspired to go out and support the industry, so I launched my own brand. I still want to be very clear that I am not making any medical claims, though.’
An NHS England spokesperson said: ‘As with any new medicine where there is a need to build the evidence base, the NHS’s normal medicines governance systems are being used to support good clinical practice, and safe and effective prescribing for patients.
‘The decision to prescribe medicinal cannabis is a clinical decision for specialist hospital doctors, made with patients and their families, to determine the most appropriate medication or course of treatment for an individual patient.’
IS MEDICAL CANNABIS LEGAL IN THE UK?
Medicinal cannabis oil became available on prescription from November 1, the Home Secretary announced in October.
Sajid Javid revealed laws were changing to allow cannabis-based products for medicinal use to be prescribed in England, Scotland and Wales.
The dramatic change to policy followed a review into medical cannabis after high profile cases of patients being denied products containing THC, the psychoactive compound that makes users ‘high’.
Epileptic boy Billy Caldwell was even banned from taking cannabis oil that was prescribed to him abroad.
He was given back the medicine after a high profile campaign spearheaded by his mother forced Mr Javid to grant a 20-day emergency licence for its use.
The Home Secretary has repeatedly insisted the change was not the first step towards the broader legalisation of cannabis.
Mr Javid announced on June 19 that the Misuse of Drugs Regulations act of 2001 was being reviewed in a two-part investigation to allow for the prescription of medicinal-cannabis products.
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