The United Kingdom banned cannabis on 28th September 1928, as an addition to the Dangerous Drugs Act 1920. Although, cultivating cannabis sativa plants was declared illegal in 1964, doctors were still authorised to prescribe medical marijuana for treatment until 1971. Fatefully, the partial medical use itself was to treat drug addiction. More specifically, the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 classified various drugs into class A, B and C, which made laws against this herb’s consumption even stringent.
Fast forward to 2017 and marijuana is still illegal. As of 2017 it classifies as a Class B drug in the UK and any individual found in possession can face up to five years in prison. More critically, penalties for unlicensed dealing, production and trafficking can lead up to 14 years in jail and the probability of an unlimited fine. All this state level high-handedness despite the fact those in modern times, South Africa, Spain, Uruguay and many U.S. states have made recreational cannabis legal.
Therefore, the pressure is understandably mounting on the United Kingdom to follow the course and modernise its drug policy with many citing the medicinal properties of cannabis as their rationale. Experts are continuously criticising the Home Office’s controversial ban on cannabis defining it as a missed opportunity to legalise the herb and add more to the national funds.
It should be noted that in the run up to the 2017’s General Election, the Liberal Democrats broadcasted plans to legalise the drug. The policy to contest an election on the ticket of liberated drug laws made them one of the first political parties to take such a stance.
In the meantime, cannabidiol and cannabinoids sourced products such as CBD oil, CBD edibles and Hemp oil are significantly changing the stigma surrounding cannabis.
Most people who consume recreational drugs do not encounter problems with their use. Also, those who do suffer must undergo proper treatment and support. The shame and legal repercussions attached to illegal substances deject addicts from seeking the help their body is craving. Moreover, criminal sanctions do little to discourage the drug use. Therefore, it is often asked by experts as to why a moralistic judgement is levied upon people through the criminal law.
THE CANNABIS SATIVA PLANT & CBD
There are more than 480 natural components discovered within the cannabis sativa plan, out of which 66 are classified as cannabinoids – chemicals that are exclusive to the plant. The most researched and known of these, delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ9-THC) is the substance predominantly accountable for the psychoactive effects of cannabis. Although, the effects of THC are understood to be toned-down by the stimulus of the other components of the plant, especially the cannabinoids.
The cannabinoids are separated into the following subclasses:
- Cannabidiols (CBD);
- Cannabigerols (CBG);
- Tetrahydrocannabinols (THC);
- Cannabichromenes (CBC);
- cannabinodiol (CBDL) and Cannabinol (CBN)
- Other cannabinoids such as cannabielsoin (CBE), cannabicyclol (CBL), cannabitriol (CBT) and related types.
Cannabidiol (CBD) is the subclass of cannabinoid component of the Cannabis sativa plant that does not have the mind-altering effects like that of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). It is used for health reasons instead of recreational purposes. The CBD products are either derived from marijuana plants or industrial hemp plants.
The Hemp Business Journal forecasted that the USA’s CBD market would increase to a $2.1 billion consumer market by 2020 with close to 22% of those sales (about $450 million) would be coming from hemp-based sources. That is a smashing 700% increase from 2016. Also, 2015’s final numbers revealed that the consumer market sales of hemp-derived CBD products were $90 million. Apart from $112 million generated through marijuana-derived CBD products (sold through dispensaries) the total CBD market stands at $202 million.
Today in the UK, the definition of cannabidiol as a medicinal product is in diametric contrast to the Misuse of Drugs Regulations 2001 which scheduled cannabis as having no medicinal significance. This is because extensive ongoing research has revealed that CBD and hemp-sourced products such as CBD oil, CBD edibles, and Hemp oil among others (capsules, tinctures, and drops) are used to relieve pain, stress, anxiety, eating as well as sleeping disorders.
The ongoing cannabidiol research provides an expansive market potential for commercialising CBD supplements. Also, concerns such as poor sleep and stress would provide manufacturers avenues to sell CBD oils to the masses. Moreover, epilepsy is already providing pharmaceutical companies one of the biggest saleable opportunities for perfecting a CBD-infused cure.