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CBD and the UK: an evolving relationship.

CBD and the UK: An evolving relationship.


Stigma is a buzzword thrown around a lot in the modern era. In terms of CBD usage there are few words worth discussing more than stigma. The reason for this is mostly a question of perception vs reality. Stigma generates a false perception of something distorting what the reality is.

It is worth discussing in this case, for slowly but surely the public conscience is becoming aware of potential health benefits of CBD and the medical uses of cannabis. To frame this point cast your mind back to last year when news headlines read “Sophia Gibson, 7, in hospital after seizure while waiting for cannabis oil permit” and “Alfie Dingley: Boy with rare form of epilepsy may get cannabis oil treatment”.

It’s fair to say these two cases were deeply influential in creating a conversation in the court of public opinion on medical uses for CBD oils. The reason why they created a conversation is because finally stigma around the topic came face to face with reality.

Bring the clock forward to last week when 3 MPs, one from the Conservatives, Liberal Democrats and Labour, went to Canada and all declared themselves in favour of legalisation and believed legalisation would take place in the next 5-10 years. Canada being the first G7 country to entirely legalise Cannabis and related products like CBD oils.

Three MPs in a cannabis farm in white suits
Labours David Lammy alongside Conservative Jonathan Djanogly and Liberal Democrat Sir Norman Lamb. 

This is why the last year has proved so interesting and important. Medical trials of CBD oils are taking place and regulations are being written. The outcome of these processes may mark a landslide moment in public health care in the UK.

Legally, CBD is an exception to the law on cannabis and is completely legal in the UK, “provided it has been derived from an industrial hemp strain that is EU-approved”. These strains contain very little to no THC. For CBD oil to be legal in the UK, it must contain no more than 0.2% THC, and the THC must not be easily separated from it. By contrast, cannabis oil, which has a higher THC content, is not usually allowed in the UK. THC being one of the main ingredients in cannabis.

The crucial point to consider is this. The UK is the world’s single biggest producer of legal cannabis for medical and research purposes, we produced 44.9% of the world’s total medical cannabis last year, as demonstrated by a UN report in 2018. This completely contradicts the long held position by successive UK governments that cannabis and CBD hold no medical value.

This truly is where stigma breaks down in the face of reality. This makes it worth examining long held beliefs on medicinal cannabis and CBD and whether those beliefs are based on stigma or reality.

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