While the DEA has been busy reclassifying cannabidiol (CBD) as a Schedule I drug—right up there with heroin—our friends across the pond are rightly classifying it as a medicine.
The decision made on Monday by Britain’s Medicines & Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) was based on credible claims that CBD successfully treats serious diseases.
The new classification means products containing CBD can now be legally distributed across the United Kingdom.
“We have come to the opinion that products containing cannabidiol (CBD) used for medical purposes are a medicine,” said an MHRA spokesperson on the agency’s website. “MHRA will now work with individual companies and trade bodies in relation to making sure products containing CBD, used for a medical purpose, which can be classified as medicines, satisfy the legal requirements of the Human Medicines Regulations 2012.”
Throughout 2016, an increasing number of British Parliament members called for reform of Britain’s “failing drug laws,” arguing that an “evidence-based approach” should be central to effective drugs policies.
Alas, the government listened and acted accordingly.
Gerald Heddell, director of inspection and enforcement at MHRA, told Sky News: “The change really came about with us offering an opinion that CBD is in fact a medicine, and that opinion was based on the fact that we noted that people were making some quite stark claims about serious diseases that could be treated with CBD.”
This decision on the part of the MHRA comes only several months after the agency sent cease and desist orders to vendors and producers, ordering it to be “removed from sale in the UK.”
Although the UK does not recognize weed as having medical benefits, promoting the classification of CBD as a medicine is a step in the right direction.
In view of the fact that UK-based GW Pharmaceuticals has made huge strides recently with its CBD-based Epidiolex for rare, treatment-resistant epilepsy, the MHRA’s decision makes perfect sense.
So, what are we waiting for here in the U.S.?
It is not like we haven’t been exposed to the information. Indeed, U.S. researchers, including the American Epilepsy Society, have encouraged and/or undertaken relevant research.
In early December, researchers from the University of Alabama found that CBD oil reduces both the frequency and severity of seizures in children and adults with with severe, intractable epilepsy. In two-thirds of the 81 participants, the severity was reduced by at least 50 percent.