The number of CBD users in the U.K. has doubled over the past year, despite the uncertain legality of the drug. Official regulatory data reports that there are currently around 250,000 users in the U.K., double the 125,000 reported this time last year. The Cannabis Trades Association UK confirmed the increase in the drug's popularity, reporting that there are around 1,000 new CBD users every month. Mike Harlington, chairman of the CTA UK, told the Daily Mail that around 65% of these users are women seeking relief for anxiety, back pain, or epilepsy.
Last October, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency made the sale of CBD oil legal, noting that it has a "restoring, correcting, or modifying" effect. Within weeks, the agency backtracked on its decision, and announced that suppliers would need to obtain a license to sell the cannabinoid. Acquiring a medicinal license to sell CBD in the U.K. is a lengthy, involved process, one which many manufacturers are circumventing by marketing their CBD products as food supplements rather than medicine.
Harlington believes that spreading knowledge about CBD will help erase the negative stigma associated with marijuana after decades of prohibition. "In a lot of cases, as soon as you mention 'cannabis' the stigma is obvious," he told the Daily Mail. "Products like CBD, because of where it comes from, are stigmatized despite the fact that every mammal has an endocannabinoid system and is therefore designed to use cannabinoids naturally."
"We've known about the endocannabinoid system for 40 years or so but it has been ignored to a greater or lesser degree," Harlington continued. "Cannabinoid deficiencies are starting to become understood by the medical world, and it is slowly becoming obvious that cannabinoids like CBD are actually essential for general health and wellbeing."
Pharmacist Shamir Patel, who sells CBD products online, told the Daily Mail that he has seen the popularity of CBD "rise dramatically" in a short period of time. "We are hoping that by selling this product through a registered pharmacy we can add to the legitimacy surrounding its use," he said.