Gogglebox star Dom Parker has said he hopes a new programme exploring whether cannabis can help his autistic son can improve – and maybe save – the lives of others.
The 54-year-old said he was spurred on to create the 60-minute film because he wanted his son’s legacy to be that he had “saved one life or improved one life”.
Steph & Dom: Can Cannabis Save Our Son? will see Parker, who appeared on Gogglebox alongside his wife Steph between 2013 and 2016, investigate whether medical cannabis could be “the miracle cure” for 18-year-old Max, who also has severe epilepsy.
Parker said his son’s “suffering and pain” would feel more worthwhile if he had been part of an effort to help other people with the condition.
He told the Press Association: “We thought ‘Well, hang on a moment. That’s exposing our private lives, which we have strived very hard to keep private, for our children’s sake’.
“And we thought about it for 48 hours and we felt, if there was one good thing that could possibly come out of Max’s suffering and his disability over all these years that we’ve all gone through, then perhaps this is actually the reason he was given to us.
“The combination of time, our notoriety, his condition, his age, the product coming to the market – it’s all over the press. Maybe this is the one reason that actually he was given to us.
“If this is Max’s legacy, that we have helped push this along and saved one life or improved one life, then all of the suffering and pain that he’s been through and we’ve been through will be worthwhile.
“And that actually it would be wrong not to do it.”
The made-for-television film will follow Dom, Steph and their teenage daughter Honor as they meet families who have been prescribed cannabis oil.
Emerging evidence suggests medicinal cannabis and cannabis oil could help conditions and illnesses including epilepsy and inflammatory bowel disease. However, the negative effects are not fully understood.
In any case, Parker admits it is too late for medical cannabis to help his son.
He said: “For us, personally, we don’t expect this to be the cure-all or anything like that for Max. We think it’s too late for him.
“I would love to be disappointed on that front, but we’re pretty sure the damage to his brain has been done – either by the epilepsy or the drugs he’s already on.
“We don’t think for a minute it will reverse the damage, we think it’s too late for that. We hope it might reduce his seizures.”
Steph & Dom: Can Cannabis Save Our Son? airs on Channel 4 at 9pm on January 28.