Callie Blackwell, 38, hit the headlines last year when her dying son recovered after she illegally gave him cannabis .
But here the Norfolk mum reveals how using the Class B drug later saved her own life too, and how she’s campaigning for its legalisation for medicinal use.
We had reached the end of the road. After four long years of suffering, my son Deryn had simply had enough. He actually wanted to die. My brave boy even had all the details of his fancy dress funeral planned.
I was to come as a Victorian nurse and his dad Simon was instructed to go dressed as the Grim Reaper. The pair of them giggled as they made their plan.
Simon had to carry a scythe and if anyone coughed during the funeral, he had to lift it up and aim it at them.
Although Deryn had beaten leukaemia , he needed a bone marrow transplant to stop the disease coming back. Three transplants had already failed and the fourth and final one appeared to be unsuccessful too.
The tips of his fingers were hard and black from a superbug infection and he had no immune system left to fight it.
With just days left to live, all I wanted was to help ease my son’s unbearable pain.
All my online research pointed to cannabis.
As a Class B drug, it carried a sentence of up to five years’ jail for possession and up to 14 years for supplying to another person.
But like any mother, I was desperate. I was willing to try anything.
Previous transplants failed if the bone marrow hadn’t kicked in by 50 days. This time, 75 days on and just five days after I first gave him cannabis, Deryn’s new bone marrow finally started to make blood cells.
His immune system recovered and, four years later, he’s a happy, healthy 18-year-old training to be a vegan chef. In my opinion, my decision to secretly and illegally give him cannabis was absolutely right.
But it’s a decision I struggled to deal with.
And in October 2014, nearly a year after my son’s recovery, I suffered a nervous breakdown. I was terrified somebody would find out and take Deryn and his younger brother Dylan into care.
To make things worse I was being harassed by a rogue cannabis supplier. This person had been exposed as a cannabis oil scammer in a documentary made in Spain.
I took part in the programme anonymously but somehow this man found out who I was. He emailed pictures of my local police station, saying he was going to report me. I was petrified.
I couldn’t go to the police about the harassment because how could I tell them I’d broken the law and given my son liquid cannabis? I ended up having a breakdown.
I’d already been struggling to adjust to life without a sick son. After years of nursing Deryn, all of a sudden he didn’t need me. It was difficult. The harassment pushed me over the edge. I was diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder and doctors wanted to prescribe anti-depressants.
But instead I went home, ditched the pills and tried cannabis. It has been the best medicine for me. It doesn’t stop bouts of depression, but it helps me deal with it. Not long ago I was in such a dark place that I considered ending it.
I was in my car and a lorry was in front of me. I shut my eyes, put my foot down and was about to ram into the back of the lorry when suddenly I had a flash of my children in my head and I thought no, I can’t do this to them. I pulled over and lit up a joint. Then everything looked better and I was able to carry on.
Without cannabis I probably wouldn’t be alive. It has saved not only Deryn’s life, but mine too. Who can argue against that? That is why I am campaigning to legalise cannabis for medicinal use.
I’ve met hundreds of people suffering conditions like motor neurone disease , cancer, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s. They all rely on cannabis as the only form of medication that works for them.
To deny them that is against their human rights. We’re demonised and prevented from helping ourselves. We should be allowed to alleviate our own suffering.
I only consume organic, home-grown, flushed cannabis. Again, a luxury most consumers don’t get but they should! And they could under legalisation. I worry that I’ll be arrested for consuming the only medicine that works for me. For myself and Deryn it was a matter of life and death.
We cannot keep being quiet. We need people to come forward and say, ‘I consume it and it helps me.’
Cannabis is the most widely used illegal drug in the UK – seen by many as a harmless substance that helps you relax.
Nearly 2.3 million people aged between 16 and 59 have admitted taking it in the last year.