Ever since the 70’s, “hippies” have been trying to prove to the government that cannabis is not a dangerous drug.
Of course, the ultimate goal is to decriminalize the plant entirely.
However, running head-to-head with the government is not exactly easy.
The smart ones started to strategize the legalization process of cannabis.
Instead of waving the flag that says “It’s my body, you have no right to tell what I put into it,” the cannabis enthusiast shifted their attack to something like “It’s medicine! And, you have no right to deny me anything to cure or help my body.”
Admittedly, it is the smarter move.
Now it seems that the authorities are starting to shift their grounds.
However, not everything is all and good.
When it comes to changes in regulations and laws, it’s usually a double-edged sword.
First of all, cannabidiol, or CBD, is not the same as the cannabis plant.
It’s a chemical compound derived from the plant.
It’s non-psychotropic, which means it won’t get anyone “high.” The therapeutic benefits of CBD have been well-documented in the past.
In the UK, the US, and other big player nations, CBD has been documented to be a great treatment for a plethora of ailments, including anxiety, inflammation, pain and epileptic seizures.
CBD is usually taken in extract form, like tincture or oil.
The extraction process is meant to isolate the cannabinoids from the cannabis plant.
According to UK Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), they have looked into the case, and the evidence is very compelling that CBD can actually help.
However, there is just one problem.
Within the UK, a lot of users obtain their CBD products from sources that are largely unregulated.
This proposes a healthcare problem as these producers may be selling products that are “faulty” or simply bad.
One good example is when producers sell CBD products that are derived from industrial hemp.
The composition of an industrial hemp is drastically different from the whole plant cannabis.
For starters, industrial hemp lacks critical terpenes, or also known as the aromatic molecules, which works harmoniously with other cannabinoids.
Another problem with industrial hemp is that it’s a “bio-accumulator,” which means it absorbs whatever contaminants in the soil on which it is grown upon.
For the MHRA, the decision to re-label the CBD as medicine was largely based on ensuring the consumers get a product that is up to efficacy, quality and safety standards.
At the surface level, this might sound like a small win and a big leap towards total legalization of the plant.
However, if you truly look at all the angles, the win comes at a very high cost.
As of the moment, MHRA ordered all known, acknowledged producers of CBD products to stop production and distribution.
This is because the changing of the CBD as medicine means that a CBD product must also be subject to the same rigorous testing and scrutiny of other medicines.
The change technically means that a legal CBD product must go through market authorization or traditional herb registration.
Market approval is basically obtaining a license, and it’s very difficult.
The application fee alone will cost £103,000 pounds.
After that, clinical data is required.
Most CBD producers may think a traditional herbal registration is the path, but is it?
For now, before a traditional herbal registration is granted, evidence must be provided that the plant has been used as an herbal medicine for at least 30 years.
That’s the thing with CBD; it’s relatively new and someone providing 30 years of CBD use as an herbal medicine is highly unlikely.
The cannabis enthusiast may call this battle a win.
If you look at the big picture, it is not hard to see the pattern – regulating authorities are slowly shifting their opinion about the cannabis plant.
The re-classifying of the CBD is a small proof of this.
If this is a battle, the cannabis enthusiast may call this a win.
However, the regulating authorities are not the loser.
The true losers in this battle are the CBD users.
For now, all of acknowledged CBD sources have been ordered seized production and distribution.
At this rate, there will be no legal CBD products in the near future because of the heavy requirements for market authorization or traditional herbal registration.
There is a looming hole in the market that seems only a black market can provide.
Unless the MHRA loosens the requirements or some big brand would take the leap, consumers are back to the era of the wild wild west of drug buying.