UK Government Finally Admits That Cannabis Has Medicinal Value
After sending cease and desist letter to CBD companies across the UK, could the MHRA actually be plotting for a more legitimate medicinal market?
Published on October 13, 2016

Earlier this week, all top CBD producers and distributors in the UK received letters from the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), informing them that they had 28 days to cease the sale, supply, promotion, advertisement, or processing of orders for all CBD products. The move seemed like a major blow to the limited cannabis industry in the UK, which previously allowed only for the non-psychoactive CBD agent to be legally purchased.

But, recent findings show that their decision to shutdown CBD producers might not be as malicious as previously thought. The MHRA has discovered that CBDs have a “restoring, correcting or modifying” effect on the “physiological functions” of humans, marking the first time that the UK government has acknowledged the medicinal benefits of cannabis. So why exactly are they forcing these CBD producers to cease and desist?


Here’s what the MHRA assessment stated:

“The MHRA has now completed it's review and has considered all information available to it relating to Cannabidiol (CBD) and having taken into account all the scientific advice and evidence, it has come to an opinion that products containing Cannabidiol will satisfy the second limb of the definition of a 'medicinal product' because it may be used by or administered to human beings either with a view to restoring, correcting or modifying physiological functions by exerting a pharmacological, immunological or metabolic action, or to making a medical diagnosis."

Believe it or not, the assessment is a major upgrade to the government response from last year to a cannabis petition, which the Home Office retorted to by claiming that cannabis “can unquestionably cause harm to individuals and society”. The MHRA findings came about after discussions with the CBD vaporizer company MediPen, who contacted the association after they pointed out that there was no regulatory status for CBD, which then led to the cease and desist letters.

“Since our inception we’ve worked hard to obtain our goal of breaking down the negative connotations surrounding cannabis to lead to a reform in the law for medicinal use,” Jordan Owen, Managing Director of MediPen, told The Independent, “now this is finally becoming a reality, which will provide ground-breaking results.”

In addition, the British pharmaceutical company GW Pharmaceuticals also just concluded a clinical trial demonstrating the safety and efficacy of CBD consumption, and also found that it has helped people with a variety of illnesses. In reality, the MHRA isn’t making these CBD producers shut their doors for good. Instead, it seems to be preparing for a regulatory market for CBDs and possibly other forms of cannabis in the near future. However, these vendors will need licensing to sell these products from now on, or they will face a hefty fine or two-year prison sentence. 

Even though the MHRA is placing a major obstacle in the way of CBD producers at the moment, there is logical reasoning behind it. In order to get medical cannabis into a socially acceptable place in the UK, regulations and licensing are unfortunately a necessity. Still, it's critical that UK citizens who are dependent on CBDs still have access during the licensing process, which could prove to be a real problem as unlicensed producers are forced to shut down and become legitimized.    

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Tyler Koslow
Tyler Koslow is a Brooklyn-based freelance writer with an intensive focus on technology, music, pop culture, and of course, cannabis and its impending legalization.
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