The British Are Opening Up To CBD
In an uncharacteristic announcement from a government known for its tough-on-pot policies, the UK Government appears to accept that cannabis finally is a medicine.
British health officials admitted that one of the major active components of cannabis, CBD, does have medical value in the treatment of numerous symptoms and illnesses.
CBD, short for cannabidiol, is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid found in high concentrations in certain strains of medically cultivated cannabis.
The Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), the part of the UK government that has been reviewing the medical properties of marijuana, officially announced that “CBD has a restoring, correcting or modifying effect on physiological functions,” according to today’s statement.
An Important Step Toward Loosening The UK Cannabis Laws
Compared to its European counterparts — think of Amsterdam, for instance — the UK has been one of the least progressive countries when it comes to the criminalization of cannabis. For a long time, the UK took a hardline, punitive approach to enforcing its drug laws.
The mounting evidence shows, however, that “touch on crime” approaches to regulating marijuana do virtually nothing to cut down on drug use and abuse, especially when it comes to cannabis.
But things seem to be changing across the pond, with Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg calling for a change of focus from punishment to treatment.
Cannabis Possession, Use and Sale Still Illegal
Asked about the regulatory agencies shift in stance on CBD, an MHRA spokesperson said: “We have come to the opinion that products containing cannabidiol are a medicine.” Products containing CBD for therapeutic use, however, must have a medicines’ license before they can be legally sold, supplied or advertised in the UK.
For many years advocates of cannabis legalization have made the argument that marijuana should be removed from the list of Class B drugs and decriminalized. But in the UK, “it remains illegal for UK residents to possess cannabis in any form.”
A Major Win For Advocates of Legalization
The situation is similar to what happened in the United States in September when the Drug Enforcement Agency declined to remove marijuana from the list of “Schedule I” drugs, or drugs the agency believes have no medical or social value.
The move in the UK puts legalization a step ahead of federal legalization in the United States. At least the UK government is admitting, along with a growing scientific consensus, that cannabis has medical value.
Don’t Underestimate the Industry’s Influence
According to reports, the MHRA began reviewing their stance on cannabis in conversation with the company MediPen, which sells a CBD vaporizer.
Jordan Owen, MediPen’s managing director, told the Independent “Since our inception we’ve worked hard to obtain our goal of breaking down the negative connotations surrounding cannabis to lead to reform in the law for medicinal use. Now this is finally becoming a reality.”
Owen’s efforts have certainly paid off; his company has pushed cannabis legalization forward and secured a profitable market shortly. Elsewhere around the world, cannabis industry execs are often on the front lines of efforts to decriminalize cannabis and get government agencies to concede the therapeutic effects of CBD and THC.