Cannabis Not Medicine, But CBD is? UK Medical Cannabis Hypocrisy

MHRA bans sale of CBD products in the UK without a license!

CBD producers and sellers across the UK received letters this month from The Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), an agency of the Department of Health responsible for the safety, quality and efficacy of medicinal products in the United Kingdom. The letter stated that "within 28 days" "products containing Cannabidiol (CBD Oil) in their formulation will require a marketing authorisation to be granted for them before they can be legally sold, supplied or advertised anywhere in the UK" and that the companies "must cease to sell, supply, promote, advertise, or process orders for various Cannabidiol products marketed by yourselves until appropriate authorisation has been granted for them." This would come into force November 1st 2016.



While this does mean that an agency of the UK Government is admitting CBD has medicinal value, as they state in the letter, "products containing Cannabidiol will satisfy the second limb of the definition of a ‘medicinal product’ (as above) because it may be used by or administered to human beings either with a view to restoring, correcting or modifying physiological functions by exerting a pharmacological, immunological or metabolic action, or to making a medical diagnosis." This would not affect the legal classification of cannabis as a medicine, however it would immediately should down all of the companies and people in the UK who are distributing CBD products, many of whom are concerned they will not be able to afford the costs of attaining a license. The application process alone could cost £103,000.


A petition was created by Greg de Hoedt, Chairman of the United Kingdom Cannabis Social Clubs, on the October 7th and in just a few days has almost reached the 4000 signatures necessary for it to gain the attention of Dr Ian Hudson the MHRA Chief Executive. We spoke with Greg de Hoedt about the petition and he said, "As a matter of a public health issue we have raised a petition on 38 Degrees to raise more awareness in regards to the situation. It's received a great response to begin with 3,500+ signatures in just 24 hours and its climbing more steadily every hour. We've sent out national press releases which we will be following up. We hope that as cannabis is quite a hot news topic at the moment thanks to all the international movement towards legalisation and other reforms that the story might get picked up. We can only try, but if we don't the opportunity to be heard will be lost like a dab in the wind."


 If you support them sign the petition


He continued, "We have been trying to raise as much awareness of the situation that patients are going to be left in if CBD becomes unavailable in the UK. We felt that someone had to speak up and be a voice for some of the most vulnerable people in society. Not only is cannabis as a herbal medication considered a crime to grow yourself, CBD which has been sold legally in the UK up until now will suddenly disappear from the patients reach. It seems very cruel to say the least. We completely get what is happening and understand it. We welcome the regulation of all products sold as medicine. But to ban selling a non toxic substance without offering producers a 3rd party testing in the mean time is simply going to allow GW Pharmaceuticals to hold the monopoly - if the interest is really on behalf of the patients someone didn't really think this out fully.  What concerns us is the lack of patient consultation on these matters." 

"We need to gather the support of the industry and the community together to protect a natural medicine that has beneficially impacted so many lives. I am a Crohn's, Elhers Danlos and PTSD patient, CBD has meant that I am able to have a much more normal quality of life than when I was on the 16 different prescribed drugs that I was taking 6 years ago. At that point I was given 5 years to live and was told I would have from my stomach to my anus removed and fed through a tune into my artery until it collapsed or I died of malnourishment from "short gut syndrome". Needless to say I am still here - I out lived the prognosis, have not had any surgery and it is because I took my life into my own hands. The Government are trying to take peoples ability to heal themselves away and we must take a stand against that."


Smokers Guide fully supports the right of patients to make their own choices regarding their medication, and that they should have the advice and information from medical staff to allow them to do so. Shutting down CBD sellers in the UK will no doubt just push CBD into the same black market that other cannabis products are in the UK. Ensuring patients and users get safe medicine is vitally important, but sadly as in many countries restrictions on cannabis products has resulted in only a few large companies having the ability to produce them; and many smaller companies are blocked out of the market.

Learn more about CBD in our article Weed Science: What is CBD? and watch the video below to learn more about the effects of CBD on patients lives.


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