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UK: Breaking News: MRHA CBD Products To Be Removed From Sale in UK


Thursday 06 Oct 2016

The Pharmaceuticalisation of CBD Products?

Today news swept across the internet and social media that Cannabidiol, CBD, the non psychoactive cannabinoid from cannabis is going to be scheduled as a medicine.

A number of CBD companies have received letters from MHRA notifying them that they will have to cease selling CBD Products in 28 days time, November 1st 2016.

Many patients across the UK have been struck with worry that the only legal access to cannabis products which do provide them with relief is going to be taken away from them. They wonder, will this make them a CBD criminal if they continue to buy these products off licence?

Craig Swiftson, a Social Media Marketing Consultant said “This is terrible. I need to know if it is going to be legal to access. It is currently the only thing keeping my mother off of Amyltryptaline for her Fibromyalgia” a condition that affects around 30,000 people in the UK. Amyltriptaline has a number of unpleasant and unwanted side effects that CBD just doesn’t have.

Another CBD Product buyer, Linda Ferguson reaction to the news was this. “Me and my friend are treating her dog (who has neuro problems and fits) with CBD. This dog is a new dog since being treated with CBD oil bought from Holland & Barrett mixed with coconut and hemp oil. The Vet is too expensive. “

Because we all know dogs just want to get high…on non psychoactive CBD. Bloody hypochondriacs.

Taken by shock, there has been a real wonder among patients and activists as to what has instigated this turn of events in what seemed to be a thriving and ever growing CBD industry taking off in the UK. Could all of this suddenly come to an end? Are the lives of patients about to become all that more stressful, restricted and tougher all round? CBD is non psychoactive and has no recorded negative health effects, so why is it being removed from the market place? Study after study shows its efficacy?

Well, you have to look at the bigger international picture to gather a wider understanding.

In 2012 Realm of Caring’s, “Charlottes Webb“, a strain of cannabis with virtually no THC and mainly CBD was being spread around as the most effective treatment for childhood seizures – more patients that cannot fake getting better. A perfect test case to prove it works. It showed such effect that Dr Sanjay Gupta the TV Doctor of America released a TV series investigating the medical benefits of cannabis and covered CBD. This ultimate initiated some US proceedings for those with their fingers already firmly in the pharmaceutical cannabis pie.

GW Pharmaceuticals have a new product called Epidiolex. It has received a special status in the US from the FDA. This is as an Orphan Drug Designation – a system designed to speed up the approval process for drugs that look to meet the requirements to treat conditions where a limited number of patients (under 200,000) are affected and there is no other drug available to treat their condition, in a safe and effective way.

In June 2016 it was announced that Epidiolex the CBD preparation produced for pediatric patients with sever Epilepsy conditions and seizure disorders is in the process of being approved after it showed positive results in it’s stage 3 trials this year in both the UK this March for Dravets Syndrome and the US in June for Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome.

Many will be familiar with GW’s Sativex, an approved cannabis mouth spray for MS patients and some cancer pain sufferers, that has equal parts of THC whole plant extract and CBD whole plant extract. Epidiolex just has the CBD whole plant extract in a tincture – but whole plant extract means it contains traces of other cannabinoids, terpenes and flavinoids. In its standardized form, GW Pharmaceuticals who grow the cannabis and bottle it up were able to carry out clinical trials and that has shown that CBD does have a medical benefit.

You also have to look at the growing number of Medical Marijuana legal States in the US that are CBD only bills, a whopping 13 States where you can only get medical cannabis if you are a epileptic child having 100 seizures a day or more, through a University. They regulate this product so tightly that it is kept in a safe where only one person has access to it and only 2 or 3 patients in the whole state are being treated. They are bills sponsored by corporate cannabis who are able to provide a standardized CBD only product.

What does this mean?

So, while patients have been claiming “CBD is my medicine” and “I want CBD on prescription” they might have just got what they wished for…they just didn’t realise it might come at a cost; financially because CBD could become more expensive to order overseas and/or to the point where they might be not be legally access it for their medical condition if it does become a prescription drug. For that, clinical trials may need to be carried out which could take years.

It might not be that bad though…it might be as simple as sellers have to abide be rules about the claims they make about the CBD products they sell, they might just have to have all products tested.

Until the MHRA make a clear statement, patients – as well as up until now legal distributors are left in the dark.

The FDA for two years running have published the test results of products claiming to sell CBD across a number of States, only to show that the claims made about the CBD content were not what the label and marketing stated. This highlights some of the issues that consumers, who are mostly vulnerable due to their health condition are exposed to when buying medical products on the open market place. It’s almost given a free reign to cannabis oil scammers to sell through reputable sites like Amazon.

Headshops across the UK thought that CBD products were going to be one of their new flagship products a wonderful refreshing change after the Psychoactive Substances Act forced their hand to stop selling “legal highs” which were putting hundreds of people trying to avoid the harms of drug laws (not the drugs themselves) in hospital or worse, a grave. Already worried that they were going to see Cannabidiol lumped in with all these weird chemicals of the Psychoactive Substances Act they just didn’t see this one coming.

If there is concern that products are not tested and could be labelled incorrectly then providing a system to allow products to be 3rd party tested before they are sold would be a sensible option – rather than removing all products from the shelves in 28 days where it leaves so many in need of the medicine that works for them? And hey, opening a cannabis testing facility in the UK would provide legal cannabis jobs…

Could Cannabidiol’s recent press coverage have given it too much good attention? Nate Diaz takes a CBD vape blast after his UFC match.

What about those producing CBD?

By all accounts GW Pharmaceuticals who ship their CBD products grown in England will be unaffected by the news, we doubt very much they received a letter.

It turns out after many discussions through out the day that *some* CBD retailers were informed of this up to a year ago, and continued to sell the products without making any other CBD sellers aware. This has resulted in the bulk remaining sellers learning their 28 day fate with all but no time to face any well planned opposition or chance to gather awareness and support from the industry, consumers and supporters of the movement.

There are over 30 UK based CBD companies. Some employ up to 20 staff. These people could potentially be out of work within a month.

Chris MacKenzie who runs CBD Tardis in Glasgow has contacted his local police and asked if he will be arrested for selling CBD Products after the 28 days is up to which they replied ”

He is now waiting to see if he recieves the same letter as otehr CBD distributors. If he does he has said he will be holding a protest outside his CBD Tardis and continue to sell CBD products “will they arrest me and make me the first #CBDCriminal?” we will have to see.

A protest is needed in any case, we cannot let these tragic decisions be made without repercussions for the thoughtlessness that they have been executed with.

CBD Brothers, a brand consistently receiving high praise for their products in our CBD Product Review group on Facebook were contacted by MHRA a couple of months ago asking them to remove claims of any medical properties of cannabis and the history of its medical use. At this time however, numerous companies had already been informed of a cease of sale date, Novermber 1st 2016. On Tuesday they recieved official confirmation from MHRA with a number of other companies hammering the final nail to the coffin before some even knew the lid was coming down.

“This means it [cannabis] is considered to have medicinal value and as such will be given the same status as other mainstream medicines, it will also mean there is more regulation within the industry, something we know the UK Cannabis industry is in desperate need of plus the recognition of cannabis as having medicinal properties is a big step in the right direction.”

” We are well into the process of applying for the license and as soon as the MHRA have worked out the final details of the reclassification we will be ready to go.” – CBD Brothers

Roo & Co seem only minorly phased by the hurdle that has popped up seeing it as potentially only and expensive licencing issue. It could cost anything between £6,000 and £103,000 if it turns out that there is already an existing available licence in place that it could fall into such as, Traditional Herbal Registration where hemp can be claimed to be used therapeutically for minor conditions for over 30 years. Or, it might be full marketing authorisation with clinical trials…expensive stuff!

Love CBD said, ” If you’re unhappy about this I’d suggest contacting your local paper and MP about it.”

What should people do?

The UK Cannabis Social Clubs do not think this decision has been made in malice, to screw over patients or sellers of CBD. We believe this is a natural progression of getting cannabis regulated, lead by those who got their first with protected corporate interest. It is fundamentally down to us as individuals and as a united community (consumers and business owners) to come together to oppose drastic measures to the change in sale of CBD products and offer practical solutions to help further the conversation rather than shutting all doors.

We have been in contact with 38 Degrees who have given us advice on how best we can move forward with the aim of getting their membership on side of our campaign. The UKCSC will be posting up links to a community petition that we hope everyone can get behind and gain the support of one for the largest membership campaigning organisation in the UK and Europe. Even if we cannot stop the pharmaceutical giants, we must do all we can to raise awareness and use any movement in cannabis reform as leverage to get our side of the story heard.

It would be wise, at this point to connect with your roots. I don’t mean put on some Bob Marley and chill out…NO! Go and find a copy of Dallas Buyers Club to watch. It’s the story of a man that contracts HIV AIDS and discovers that the only things that keep his health from declining so rapidly were not approved by the FDA. Many of them were non toxic supplements but because they had not been tested for the claims that were made about them were ordered to be removed from sale. This is not the only similarity that we need to draw on with CBD. We must look at how patients across the US took to starting up their own Buyers Clubs where patients paid a monthly subscription fee to get their medicine. It is going to take this kind of action to make sure the most vulnerable in our community are able to access the good quality medicine that they need. UKCSC have already been in touch with several CBD producers to prepare for these measures. If it comes to it – we are prepared to do it. If they want to bust a CBD Co-Op then they can take all 30-100 patients to court and prosecute them for doing everything they can to stay as healthy and pain free as they can.

For further updates and to find out how to sign the petition when it comes live, please sign up to the UKCSC newsletter.




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