One of the main ingredients in cannabis, cannabidiol (CBD), is to be classed as a medicine in the UK. The decision by the Medicines & Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) stems from claims that the drug successfully treats serious diseases.
The new classification means products containing CBD can now be legally distributed across the UK. Gerald Heddel from MHRA told Sky News that the change came about “based on the fact that we noted that people were making some quite stark claims about serious diseases that could be treated with CBD.”
Alongside Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), CBD is one of the main components of cannabis, accounting for 40 percent of the marijuana plant’s extract. Unlike THC, which is psychoactive, CBD is non-psychoactive, antipsychotic and does not cause anxiety.
The compound’s lack of a high makes it less appealing to recreational users but of particular interest to the medical community, with campaigners claiming it aids in easing pain related to diseases including cancer, depression, Crohn’s disease, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
“It was clear that people are using this product with the understandable belief that it will actually help,” Heddel said.