The government has no intention of legalising the use of cannabis for recreational (non-medical) use.
Nabilone can be prescribed by a specialist to help relieve these symptoms, but only when other treatments have not helped or are not suitable.
It will not get you high, because it does not contain THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), the chemical in cannabis that makes you high.
Will the laws on cannabis be relaxed?
Cannabis bought illegally off the street, where the quality, ingredients and strength are not known, is the most dangerous form to use.
Epidyolex is a highly purified liquid containing CBD (cannabidiol).
A prescription for medical cannabis would only be given when it was believed to be in your best interests, and when other treatments had not worked or were not suitable.
It’s likely most of these products – even those called “CBD oils” – will be illegal to possess or supply. There’s a good chance they will contain THC, and may not be safe to use.
Cannabis oil can only be sold legally in Britain if it contains less than 0.05% THC. But the nation’s medicines regulator, the MHRA, announced recently that even pure CBD could not be sold as a medicine without first going through the usual clinical testing and safety checks required for all new medicines. This month, the US Food and Drug Administration will consider the approval of Epidiolex, a CBD-based medicine from GW Pharmaceuticals, which has completed such clinical trials. The European Medicines Agency (EMA) will rule on the drug early next year. If the EMA approves Epidiolex, it could be available to prescribe to named patients in Britain next year, Brexit notwithstanding.
Other forms of cannabis are solid and are usually sold either as resin or dried plant material. In commercially-produced medical cannabis oils, the concentrations of CBD and THC tend to be well-controlled, which makes it easy to calculate doses.
Cannabis oils are extracts from cannabis plants. Unprocessed, they contain the same 100 or so active ingredients as the plants, but the balance of compounds depends on the specific plants the oil comes from. The two main active substances in cannabis plants are cannabidiol, or CBD, and delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC. Oil extracted from hemp plants can contain a lot of CBD, while oil from skunk plants will contain far more THC. THC produces the high that recreational cannabis users seek, while oils for medical use contain mostly CBD.
Is cannabis oil illegal?
Four drugs based on cannabis compounds are already on the market in Europe. Among them are Nabilone, a synthetic compound that mimics THC, is prescribed for nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy, and Sativex, an oil that contains equal parts THC and CBD, is used to treat muscle spasms in multiple sclerosis. Both contain too much THC to administer to children. “The only medicines that are approved in the UK would get children stoned,” said David Nutt, professor of neuropsychopharmacology at Imperial College, London.
CBD is an anticonvulsant, and some other compounds in the plant, including THC and cannabidivarin, may be too. There is good evidence from clinical trials in the US and Europe that pharmaceutical preparations of CBD can treat two severe forms of childhood epilepsy known as Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome. Both forms of epilepsy often fail to improve with existing epilepsy drugs. CBD is generally considered safe, but some trials have reported side effects including dry mouth, lightheadedness and altered liver enzyme activity.
Europe is a patchwork of cannabis legislation. In the Netherlands, doctors can prescribe cannabis and cannabis preparations for symptoms caused by multiple sclerosis, HIV/AIDS, cancer, long-term pain and the tics associated with Tourette’s syndrome. Other European nations are following suit. In the US, at least 29 states allow medical uses of cannabis, and earlier this year, California became the eighth state to permit recreational use of the drug, too.
Home or unregulated production can pose risks to patients who consume them. The exact composition of different available oils is frequently unknown. They are not checked for quality by external certified laboratories for the presence of residual solvents, or contaminants such as microbes, pesticides, heavy metals or mycotoxins. The lack of standardisation of both the cannabis starting material and oils makes it impossible to fully evaluate their therapeutic effects over time and, hence, their medicinal value.
The preparation of cannabis oil or cannabis concentrates at home, or the use of unregulated cannabis oils or concentrates is not advised.
Cannabis oils or concentrated extracts are obtained by the extraction of cannabinoids from the dried flowers (cannabis flos) of the cannabis plant. The purpose of producing cannabis oil is to make cannabinoids and other components (i.e. terpenes), available in a highly concentrated form.
Bedrocan does not produce nor sell oil for oral sublingual dosing. Please refer to our contact page for an overview of Dutch compounding pharmacists.
In most countries it is forbidden to create concentrates from cannabis, because cannabis is a controlled substance .. Nonetheless, the appearance of numerous CBD-rich extracts have appeared on the global market.
In recent years, a large, unregulated market for CBD (cannabidiol) oils has emerged. These products are typically derived from fibre-type cannabis strains (hemp), which contain large concentrations of CBD, but negligible of THC.
Medicinal cannabis oil extracted from Bedrocan’s standardised flos is currently available in the Netherlands and several other countries. It is extracted by pharmacies (as magistral preparations) or pharmaceutical companies using GMP-certified production methods.