In the past few months there has been a noticeable increase in media and Parliament attention over the current legislation ruling on the matter of prescribing medical Cannabis.

This year we have seen the cases of Alfie Dingley and Billy Caldwell grabbing headline attention, both young children suffering from rare and severe conditions of epilepsy. Alfie Dingley is said to of been having up to thirty seizures a day, whilst Billy Caldwell was having up to ten. This was unsustainable, distressing to everyone involved and the children’s lives were seriously at risk.

During recent weeks there has been a huge breakthrough in laws regarding legalisation of prescription medical Cannabis and both children were finally granted special licenses for the prescription of the necessary treatments they each need, which differ from the legal CBD products widely available in the UK.

What is the difference between the CBD Oil I can buy legally in the UK and the Cannabis Oil that can only be prescribed?

  • Legal CBD Oil (and other variants such as Vape liquids and capsules) contain less than 0.2% THC (THC is one of the psychoactive compounds found within the Cannabis Sativa plant).
  • Medicinal Cannabis contains higher levels of THC, which is illegal unless found in counts lower than 0.2%.
  • There are many psychoactive compounds found within the Cannabis plant such as THC, THCa and CBN to name a few. CBD Oil has much lower content of these compounds.
  • The medication Alfie and Billy’s parents have fought so hard to finally receive will have a more even ratio of THC to CBD than the CBD Oil you can buy legally in the UK.

The Government have now stated that they will be reviewing the ban on Cannabis based medicines over the next few months. This is a huge step forward, and probably the hardest step, into reforming the law on Cannabis being consumed both medicinally and recreationally.

Cannabis has been fully legalised in Canada this month – will this happen in the UK?

It’s a strong possibility. I can’t say when, but this latest breakthrough will add more pace to the process.

Is it a good idea to legalise a drug in the UK that has been tainted for so long over most parts of the globe?

Looking at it objectively, the pros appear to outweigh the cons. The stigma associated with Cannabis seems unwarranted – In April 2018 the Huffington Post compiled a list of everyone who has ever died solely from a Cannabis overdose and determined that “There are no recorded instances of anyone dying from a fatal dose of marijuana alone”. It was also reported that you would need to consume around 1500 pounds of Cannabis within about 15 minutes to cause an incident resulting in death. To put that into perspective, that’s the same weight of an average female giraffe.

Cannabis flowers, leaves and their accompanying THC content are illegal in the UK. Supply is unregulated and THC levels consumed from certain strains can be abnormally high, not only this but unflushed chemicals are often used in the growing process and can cause harm to humans. If Cannabis were to be legalised for recreational use, this could mean not only better control and safer handling of the plant, but also more information would be available. As stated in The Guardian in January 2018, “legalisation would take the market out of the hands of criminals”.

The European Cannabis market is predicted to become a £49 billion market within a decade. If the UK were to be a part of that market, how much revenue would be brought in through taxation? In addition, decriminalisation of the drug would save the government an estimated £5 million pounds a year in prosecution and sentencing.

In some states within the US that have fully legalised the consumption of Cannabis, alcohol consumption levels have decreased. A recent study, published in Scientific Reports journal, has reported that you are 114 times more likely to die from overdosing on alcohol than you are from Cannabis.

Only time will tell if, and when, we will see a reform of current UK law regarding Cannabis, but one thing seems clear – the future is looking bright (and green for that matter).

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