Once again, the debate over the legalisation of Cannabis has resurfaced and has received a lot of media attention. Last week, former Conservative leader William Hague urged the Prime Minster to revaluate the existing laws on Cannabis, as he claimed the war on the c-class drug had been “comprehensively and irreversibly lost”.
His statement follows increasing political noise over the UK’s legal standpoint of the use of medicinal Cannabis Oil. The Home Secretary Sajid Javid weighed in, advising the house of commons that a short-term license would be granted for a 6-yearold boy with severe epilepsy to receive treatment including Cannabis-based drugs.
This came days before a mother had her 12-year old’s medicinal Cannabis Oil confiscated at Heathrow Airport as she tried to bring it into the country from Canada. The mother had been using the oil to help her son regulate his seizures.
Health Secretary Jeremey Hunt requested for it to be returned to her. He said that “no one believes the law is working properly” and was hopeful that a Home Office review of the medical use of the oil, could be conducted in a matter of months.
Cannabis Oil is currently illegal in Britain but available elsewhere; however, with backing from senior members of the cabinet -who are clearly in favour, could the UK be on the brink of legislative change?
The difference between recreational and medical cannabis
The marijuana plant is comprised of over 100 compounds, known as cannabinoids, with each of these having different effects on your body when absorbed.
The most notable of these are found in marijuana variety; tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the psychoactive compound responsible for producing the feelings of relaxation. Cannabidiol, or CBD, is another prevalent compound and does not produce any psychoactive effects. It is however, thought to provide relief for symptoms of some chronic illnesses such as anxiety, seizures, joint pain and even promote cell death in cancer patients.
In regions where cannabis is legal, people smoke herbal cannabis, or ingest cannabis oil to alleviate their symptoms, both contain CBD, as well as THC.
Fairly new to the UK supplement industry is CBD Oil, which is an extract from the cannabis derivative, hemp, so it only contains very small traces of THC (in the UK there is a threshold of permitted THC in CBD oil of 0.2%). If you are taking CBD Oil, you won’t experience any psychoactive effect and if you were to be drug tested at work, you will not give a non-negative result, so long as you adhere to the recommended dose.
Where is cannabis legal?
Medical use of Marijuana is fully legal in countries such as Chile, Colombia, and Czech Republic, with many others leaning towards legalisation for medical purposes, while this month, Canada became the second country (after Uruguay) in the world to fully legalise marijuana. Senator Tony Dean stated: “It ends 90 years of needless criminalisation, it ends a prohibition model that inhibited and discouraged public health and community health in favour of just-say-no approaches that simply failed young people miserably.”
Should it be made Legal in the UK?
CBD oil is legal in the UK, and readily available on the high street. Sales of CBD oil at Holland and Barratt rose rapidly from 125k to 250k between April 2017 and ‘18, showing increasing awareness of CBD, and cannabis as a medicinal drug.
The jury is out on whether Herbal Cannabis or Cannabis Oil should be made available for medicinal purposes, especially as it has been shown to provide a plethora of health benefits. We strongly believe in good health and wellbeing for all and encourage sensible conversation about its future availability.
No matter what your view, Cannabis like any recreational drug, used to excess can be harmful both physically and mentally. If you’re worried about a colleague’s usage and how it’s affecting them at work, consider speaking in confidence to your HR department or your manager for advice.