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 said to assist with anything from epileptic seizures to opioid addiction, PTSD to arthritis. But despite CBD oil’s high profile status, there’s still plenty of confusion about what it actually is, and what it’s made from. Certain varieties of CBD oil happen to be legally available in the UK – including those created from hemp – whereas other types are very much illegal in the united kingdom – though are offered to buy in other countries
CBD oil extracted from hemp is usually marketed as being a food supplement to promote well-being – similar to other herbals like Echinacea – and boost the defense mechanisms. Although Hemp CBD oil is legal, it is far from a medicine and should not be wrongly identified as the recent confiscation of 12-year-old Billy Caldwell’s CBD oil at Heathrow airport.
Billy had flown along with his mother to Canada to purchase the CBD vs THC – which helps to keep his daily epileptic seizures at bay. But his oil was confiscated since it was made from cannabis flowers and leaves, therefore was classed as illegal in the UK, pushing childhood epilepsy and CBD oil into the spotlight. So far, so confusing, but a part 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 from the cannabis plant, is cultivated to generate two distinctive products – industrial hemp, and cannabis. The real difference between hemp and cannabis is dependant on two criteria. First, the levels of cannabinoids – a household of chemical compounds, the cannabis plant naturally produces – and second, the final use. Based on current UK drug laws, cannabis is classified as an illegal drug as a result of psychoactive properties of THC, the component within it that can cause the “high”. And under UK law, cannabis is deemed to get a high potential for abuse – without any accepted medical properties.
Hemp vs cannabis – But here is where it gets even more confusing because cannabis can be bred to generate different strains. Cannabis consumed for recreational purposes is selectively bred to optimise high THC content strains – to maximise the “high” feeling. But cannabis also contains CBD, that is a non-psychoactive component. Hemp, on the other hand, is harnessed as seed, oil and fibre to produce a wide range of merchandise. It is cultivated to produce 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 has a maximum degree of .2% THC. Billy’s CBD oil, confiscated at Heathrow, was developed from cannabis with a more impressive range than .2% of THC – so it was classed as cannabis, which is the reason it absolutely was confiscated.
Medical marijuana – A recently available survey conducted by Sky News found that 82% of the poll subjects agreed that medical cannabis needs to be legalised. Professor Dame Sally Davies, the chief medical officer for England, who was appointed to investigate the current scientific and medical evidence, about the therapeutic properties of cannabis-based products, also believes this. She recently said that “doctors must be able to prescribe” cannabis.
Davies has recommended the removing of cannabis from schedule one classification – which covers a group of drugs thought to do not have medical purpose, that cannot be legally possessed or prescribed. In Billy Caldwell’s case, the house secretary, Sajid Javid, made the decision to grant Billy access to imported CBD oil. This fresh approach to reconsider the classification of cannabis continues to be seminal, and mirrors wider sentiment in other countries. In the united states, for example, medical cannabis programmes have already been cnisiw in 30 states. Hence, medical tourism to Canada – where cannabis is legal for medicinal purposes – as well as the US to gain access to CBD oil.
Throughout the uk, however, Sajid Javid will never reclassify cannabis up until the Advisory Council on the Misuse of medicine provides recommendations about the public health implications – that will are the abuse potential of cannabis-based CBD. Although it seems most likely the 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.