The UK government’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has found that Cannabidiol (CBD) has a “restoring, correcting or modifying” effect on “physiological functions” when administered to humans, in a potential milestone in the campaign to legalize cannabis and bring about evidence-based laws regarding the medicine.
Cannabinoid, or CBD, accounts for up to 40% of the cannabis plant’s extract that doesn’t contain its psychoactive THC, but maintains an enormous amount of health benefits.
CBD can now be used for medicinal purposes in the United Kingdom. The governmental branch (MHRA) that regulates these medications says:
“We have come to the opinion that products containing cannabidiol (CBD) are a medicine,” a spokesman for the U.K.’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency
CBD, one of dozens of chemical compounds found in cannabis, is nonpsychoactive so it doesn’t produce the high sensation associated with THC. And a growing body of research has shown significant promise for using CBD to treat a wide range of medical conditions, including some forms of cancer, irritable bowel diseases,depression, multiple sclerosis and post-traumatic stress disorder.
“Products will have to meet safety, quality and effectiveness standards to protect public health,” said the MHRA
Whole-plant cannabis is a class-B drug not recognized to have medical value in the U.K., and people found in possession of it can still face prison time.
“It’s definitely a positive development,” said Michael Collins, deputy director for the Drug Policy Alliance, but he cautioned that measures pertaining only to CBD can be too limiting for patients.
“CBD-only legislation can be detrimental overall for the medical marijuana movement because it leaves behind too many patients,” Collins told HuffPost. “The majority of medical marijuana patients are not CBD patients. We want people to have access to CBD but not at the cost of getting access to broader medical marijuana.”
More than a dozen states in the U.S. have enacted very narrow legalization of CBD for limited medical use. Because these states generally don’t allow for regulated sales or cultivation of the plant, patients are forced to seek out cannabis from sources like the black market, or from a state that allows out-of-state patients to purchase medical marijuana. Even so, transporting cannabis across state lines remains illegal, leaving patients in a bind. Twenty-five other states, and the District of Columbia, currently have broader laws that allow for the cultivation, production and distribution of medical cannabis.
Cannabis remains banned at the federal level and is still considered to have no “accepted medical use,” after the Food and Drug Administration and the Drug Enforcement Administration recently decided to keep the plant on the U.S. government’s list of “most dangerous” narcotics, along with heroin and LSD.