Cannabis, also known as marijuana or pot, among other names, has a long history for medical, recreational and religious use. Most ancient cultures didn’t grow the plant to get high, but as herbal medicine, likely starting in Asia around 500 BC. The main psychoactive part of cannabis is tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). It is one of 483 known compounds in the plant. 'THC', the bit which gives the "high" or "stoned" feeling - in other words the 'psychoactive effect' - is taken out of the products now appearing for sale in UK shops under different brand names.
Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of the most prevalent chemical compounds found inside the resin glands (trichomes) of the female cannabis plant. These chemical compounds are known as cannabinoids.
Although cannabis use is not recent, the call to legalise it, beginning in the 1970s has grown in popularity. For a long time it has been subject to legal restrictions. However, to date several U.S. states have legalised it for recreational or medical use and in the UK the organisation responsible for health legislation, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), has supposedly made a decision. Recently the MHRA has found that Cannabidiol (CBD) has a “restoring, correcting or modifying” effect on “physiological functions” when administered to humans. This is a major step forward in a potential move to legalise cannabis and bring about evidence-based laws regarding drugs. However the MHRA only allows the sale of cannabidiol products because they are consumed as a food. As long as suppliers retail them as a food supplement based on the hemp plant, make no medical claims suggesting they have physiological effects, then they can be legally sold.
Cannabidiol taps into the body’s own endocannabinoid system that many consider the master controller for many functions in the body - including nerve, immune, hormone and metabolism.These products contains all the vital cannabinoids and compounds of the plant.In fact, if the MHRA were to act on its powers, whether to permit or ban sales of cannabidiol products they would have to consider each product on a case by case basis, and all the characteristics of the product, in particular its composition, its pharmacological properties (to the extent scientifically known), the manner in which it is used, the extent of distribution, its familiarity to consumers and the risks which its use may entail. In other words they would have to review each product in terms of its efficacy and safety within the framework of the Medicines Act. As yet, they have not announced any decision to do so. They may do in the future as they have done with many safe herbal products, such as St John's Wort and Black Cohosh, previously sold as food supplements.
CBD is the major non psychoactive component of Cannabis sativa. According to a 2013 study published in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, CBD's benefits include acting in some experimental models as an anti-inflammatory, anticonvulsant, antioxidant, antiemetic, anxiolytic and antipsychotic agent, and is therefore a potential medicine for the treatment of neuroinflammation, epilepsy, oxidative injury, vomiting and nausea, anxiety and schizophrenia.
The claims made about CBD oil, in practice, cannot be proven in the UK until the MHRA issues a license for each and every product sold on the UK market, despite the fact they have said it has medical benefits. The license would define the benefits associated with the CBD products as part of traditional use. However, in theory, in the absence of this official piece of paper, there are many anecdotal claims we read about every day. Accepting that CBD products are safe, it is left to each user to make their own minds up whether to try them or not, and to hope for the best they experience similar improvements to their health and wellbeing as others say they have.
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