It is well known that CBD products provide relief for people that suffer from a variety of health problems. In the UK, very much like in any other country, people relied on this type of products as an alternative and effective treatment that was not giving them any unwanted side-effects. But, recently, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency or MHRA, requested manufacturers of CBD products to stop selling these products on the market.
The change is triggered by the fact that CBD products will be considered a medicine and may only be prescribed by doctors in a restricted number of cases and will stop being available as an over-the-counter legal treatment. Many people are worried that the only treatment that provides them the relief they need, will soon disappear, leaving them to struggle against pain and discomfort.
They also ask themselves if they will be seen as criminals if they continue to purchase CBD products without a license from the authorities.
How do the affected react to this?
The reaction of people of social media did not fail to appear once this news became public. One person stated that the news is terrible because her mother is using CBD products to keep under control the symptoms caused by fibromyalgia. This is an illness that affects more than 30,000 people in the United Kingdom alone.
Yes, there is another treatment than CBD products for fibromyalgia, called Amyltriptaline, but no one wants to take it due to the list of unwanted and unpleasant side-effects this drug brings along. These side-effects are not present at all in the case of using CBD products, which is understandable why people prefer these instead of the usually prescribed drug.
Another CBD user said that together with her friend, they are treating her friend’s dog, which suffers from neural problems and occasional fits, CBD helping the dog lead a normal and pain-free life. The treatment with CBD helped the dog a lot, changing its behavior completely, so these two are extremely worried of not being able to find CBD products anytime soon on the market.
The vet is way too expensive when it comes to treating such a disorder and they are worried about whether they will be able to keep the traditional treatment, which may not provide the same results.
Until this news came up and turn everybody’s world upside down, the CBD industry in the UK seemed to be doing very well and constantly growing. Thus, it is only normal for both CBD users and activists to wonder what may have created this completely unexpected turn of situation. Is it possible that everything connected to CBD to actually disappear completely?
Are people that suffer from various health conditions condemned to live stressful, uncomfortable, and more restricted lives?
It was proven through numerous studies that CBD has no psychoactive effects and that it is very effective in relieving the symptoms of a high number of health conditions, so why it is desired to remove this product from the market? Perhaps looking at what happens at an international level will help us understand this phenomenon better.
Back in the days, where it started
Back in 2012, a strain of cannabis that was free of any THC content but rich in CBD was used, with a lot of success, to treat seizures in children.
A number of children were part of this experimental treatment and we all know that children cannot fake feeling better, which made the results even more convincing. It was the ideal scenario to prove to the world that CBD actually works and has no dangerous side-effects.
In fact, Dr. Sanjay Gupta released a TV series, in collaboration with CNN, which was meant to show the incredible results of CBD treatment. Dr. Gupta is an assistant professor of neurosurgery at the Emory University School of Medicine, associate chief of neurosurgery at Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta, and the chief medical corresponded for CNN. The show stirred proceedings among those that were already involved in making products with pharmaceutical cannabis.
Thus, Epidiolex appeared, a product made with CBD and released by GW Pharmaceuticals, which was destined to treat children that suffered from epilepsy and seizures. In the US, the FDA classified this product as having an Orphan Drug Designation, which meant that the product was following the fastest way toward being approved to be officially launched on the market.
So, in the summer of 2016, Epidiolex was announced to be approved very soon, due to the positive results it provided in several trials.
In the UK, it was used to treat children with Dravets Syndrome, while in the US it was used for the Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome. There is a chance that many people are more familiar with Sativex, rather than Epidiolex, which is an oral spray created for MS and cancer patients. But, in comparison with Epidiolex, which has CBD only in its composition, Sativex has half CBD and half THC.
Epidiolex is practically a CBD tincture, which may also contain other cannabinoids, flavonoids, and terpenes in the whole plant extract. GW Pharmaceuticals, the manufacturing company, is the one that grows the cannabis plants and bottles the extract as well, proving in clinical trials that CBD provides the desired results.
The downside when CBD is officially recognized as a medicine
There are also many states in the US that accept as legal only the Cannabis Products, which contains only CBD. Thus, in 13 states, the only chance to get THC & CBD products is if you are a child suffering from epilepsy and having countless seizures per day or if you get the support of a University. This kind of product is highly regulated in the US and is treated with maximum security. The product lies locked in a safe where only one single person has access, the treatment being provided to a number of 2 or 3 patients in the entire state.
People may not realize it, but this may be happening due to their demands. Very many people want CBD to be prescribed to them, which may come with a cost. CBD products will start becoming more expensive to import from abroad and, in case it will become a drug provided with prescription only, then their condition may not be suitable to receive such a prescription.
In order for CBD to be declared suitable for a particular health condition, numerous clinical trials must be unrolled, and that will take years.
But, if we think about it, not all of this is all that bad. Maybe these changes are about making sellers release more accurate claims concerning the CBD products they sell and making them provide precisely the kind of products they advertise. If they want to stay on the market, these providers will have to test every product they put on the market, which is not a negative aspect at all, considering just how many fake and unreliable CBD products can be currently found.
But, until the MHRA comes up with a statement that presents the situation in a clearer manner, both legal distributors and patients are kept on an expectative.
Black sheeps of the current CBD oil market
The FDA published, for two years already, what they found about the CBD products that are sold in several states across the US. The results showed that many products do not provide what the label and the marketing of the product claim to offer. This is a situation that makes CBD users extremely vulnerable because, due to their health conditions and desire to get rid of the symptoms that are giving them a tough time, they may end up buying unreliable CBD products.
The current state of the law allows anyone to sell so-called CBD products on reputable marketplaces, such as Amazon, which means that scammers can do their job without being bothered.
In case there is the concern that the products found on store shelves are no tested and therefore they have wrongful claims on their label, then a system that allows the products to be tested by a third party is a viable solution. This scenario is much better than tossing CBD in the group of chemicals regulated by UK’s Psychoactive Substances Act and removed off the shelves in less than 30 days. If this happens, what are the many people that rely on this treatment going to do?
The local authorities should seriously consider opening up a testing facility in the UK, which will also provide a number of legal jobs in the cannabis industry.
Will in future CBD oil only be available with prescription?
Still, it appears that not everybody producing CBD products will be affected by this change. GW Pharmaceuticals, for instance, which ships its products all over the world, is far from being affected by this scary scenario for so many. Also, a number of CBD providers continued to sell their products and did not do anything to announce other sellers, even if they received the letter from MHRA more than one year ago.
This leads to many CBD retailers to find out about the 28-day product removal measure without having the time to do something about it, like raise awareness and support the movement, users, and manufacturers alike. In fact, a CBD provider from Glasgow contacted the local police and asked if he was going to be locked away if he continues to sell his CBD products after the 28-day term expires.
Luckily, the police answered that Scotland is not affected by the drug policy released in the UK, so he will not face any charges. However, the provider said that he is ready to start a protest if anyone will keep him from selling his CBD products.
And maybe protests are needed to counter these thoughtless and tragic actions, which were adopted by people who have no idea what is like to have your life governed by an incurable illness.
Is there cause for concern?
While people are rather worried and panicked, the UK Cannabis Social Clubs are not that worried by the new measures. They believe that the measures are not taken out of ill intentions or out of the desire to get CBD providers out of business. They are more convinced that this is the first steps toward a regulation of this market.
Both business owners and consumers should come together and unite their forces for opposing any measures that will drastically change the availability of CBD products.
Also, the united community should propose a set of solutions that will keep the conversation going until common ground is reached, rather than stopping the entire process. We should all look for the UKCSC community petition that will be available online, meant to stop the pharmaceutical giants to take over this market.
Even if we won’t be able to do so, at least we can fight to raise awareness and make the authorities listen to our side of the story as well. Anything that moves in this cannabis reform can be used for our benefit, turning the odds in our favor.
It is the best moment for everybody to remember why and how medicinal cannabis started to be used and widely provided. Perhaps watching the Dallas Buyers Club will help you go back to the roots and understand this aspect better. The film presents the story of a man that contacted the HIV/AIDS virus and found out that all the solutions that will help his health stay in a better shape for a longer period did not have FDA approval.
These were supplements that were not toxic at all, but due to the mere fact that they had not been tested, to see whether their claims were valid, the authorities ordered for the supplements to be completely removed from the market. The scenario is similar to what is happening in the UK, where people paid for a monthly subscription, their own Buyers Club, which guaranteed the fact that they will receive the medicine they need.
Thus, measures need to be taken to make sure that the ones that are most vulnerable will still be able to access high-quality products for their treatment. So, as a precaution method, the UKCSC contacted a few CBD providers to come up with the needed measures.
Everybody is prepared to fight. If it comes to it, then tearing apart a CBD Co-Op will mean to take to court and prosecute anywhere between 30 to 100 patients, with the charge that they are doing everything in their power to lead a normal and pain-free life.