There’s a lot of anecdotal evidence that Cannabidiol (CBD) oil – a concentrated oily extract made from cannabis – can help treat a variety of ailments. It’s believed to assist with from epileptic seizures to opioid addiction, PTSD to arthritis. But despite CBD oil’s high profile status, there’s still plenty of confusion as to what it really is, and what it’s produced from. Certain kinds of CBD oil are already legally available in the UK – like those made from hemp – whereas other types are very much illegal in the UK – though are for sale to buy in other countries
CBD oil obtained from hemp is usually marketed as a food supplement to market well-being – much like other herbals like Echinacea – and boost the immune system. Although Hemp CBD oil is legal, it is not a medicine and really should not be confused with the current confiscation of 12-year-old Billy Caldwell’s CBD oil at Heathrow airport.
Billy had flown along with his mother to Canada to buy the CBD vs THC – which helps to keep his daily epileptic seizures at bay. But his oil was confiscated because it was created from cannabis flowers and leaves, and so was classed as illegal in the UK, pushing childhood epilepsy and CBD oil in to the spotlight. To date, so confusing, but element of the problem is that terms like cannabis and hemp are often used interchangeably – which masks the nuances and complexities in the cannabis plant.
Cannabis sativa L, the scientific name of the cannabis plant, is cultivated to generate two distinctive products – industrial hemp, and cannabis. The primary difference between hemp and cannabis is based on two criteria. First, the amount of cannabinoids – children of chemicals, the cannabis plant naturally produces – and second, the end use. Based on current UK drug laws, cannabis is classified as an illegal drug as a result of psychoactive properties of THC, the component inside it that produces the “high”. And under UK law, cannabis is deemed to have a high possibility of abuse – without any accepted medical properties.
Hemp vs cannabis – But here is where it gets even more confusing because cannabis can be bred to create different strains. Cannabis consumed for recreational purposes is selectively bred to optimise high THC content strains – to maximise the “high” feeling. But cannabis also includes CBD, which is a non-psychoactive component. Hemp, on the other hand, is harnessed as seed, oil and fibre to generate a wide range of merchandise. It is actually cultivated to generate a low power of the psychoactive cannabinoid THC – as well as higher levels of the non-psychoactive cannabinoid CBD.
Cannabis is classified as hemp if it possesses a maximum degree of .2% THC. Billy’s CBD oil, confiscated at Heathrow, was created from cannabis having a higher-level than .2% of THC – therefore it was classed as cannabis, which explains why it absolutely was confiscated.
Medical marijuana – A recent survey conducted by Sky News found that 82% with their poll subjects agreed that medical cannabis ought to be legalised. Professor Dame Sally Davies, the main medical officer for England, who was appointed to research the current scientific and medical evidence, about the therapeutic properties of cannabis-based products, also believes this. She recently claimed that “doctors should be able to prescribe” cannabis.
Davies has recommended the removal of cannabis from schedule one classification – which covers a group of drugs thought to have no medical purpose, that should not be legally possessed or prescribed. In Billy Caldwell’s case, the home secretary, Sajid Javid, made the decision to grant Billy access to imported CBD oil. This fresh strategy to reconsider the classification of cannabis has been seminal, and mirrors wider sentiment in other countries. In america, as an example, medical cannabis programmes have already been cnisiw in 30 states. Hence, medical tourism to Canada – where cannabis is legal for medicinal purposes – and the US to get into CBD oil.
In the UK, however, Sajid Javid will never reclassify cannabis until the Advisory Council on the Misuse of medicine provides recommendations about the public health implications – that can are the abuse potential of cannabis-based CBD. Although it seems most likely that this home secretary continue to go towards a patient focused resolution. For patients like Billy then, this means that cannabis-based CBD oil could soon be prescribed in the UK under controlled conditions, by registered practitioners, and then for medical benefit.