09 Jul Mischievous ‘Centre for Medicinal Cannabis’ Report Smears UK CBD Industry With Misleading Data
A new report from the Centre for Medicinal Cannabis (CMC) paints an appalling picture of the CBD market in the UK and has led to headlines and alarm everywhere that consumers are being ripped off and the whole industry is not to be trusted.
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It is true that there are some rogue businesses and fake products but the impression given by this report is false, misleading and wildly inaccurate. For nearly three years the leading CBD businesses in the UK have been engaged in serious, responsible self-regulation and consumers can be confident if they buy from members of the two trade associations Cannabis Professionals (CannaPro) or Cannabis Trades Association (CTA) they will be getting a quality product which is lab tested and contains exactly what is claimed.
The report is nothing but a market manipulation exercise by the authors. To understand why, it’s necessary to understand who is behind the ‘Centre for Medicinal Cannabis’ and examine their record.
The CMC is the latest front for Paul Birch, a multimillionaire, who since 2015 has been funding a series of ventures in the cannabis campaign. Mr Birch has brought one extremely valuable commodity to the campaign which it had been sorely lacking – money. He has hired a lot of people with the right connections, impressive letters after their name and has thrown a great deal of his cash into expensive PR which, to be fair, has proved very effective. In fact, as with this CBD report, it is characterised by just how much media coverage it has obtained. This, of course, has earned Birch’s cannabis ventures a reputation as leaders in their field. In fact, they are very much followers. The content of their work is either directly copied from others’ work or is just a repeat of what has been done before.
The most high profile success achieved with Birch’s money and PR was the campaign around Billy Caldwell and Alfie Dingley, two children with severe epilepsy, whose stories touched the heart of the nation and under enormous moral pressure forced the UK government into long-overdue reform of its blanket ban on cannabis as medicine. Birch’s money certainly made all the difference. Exactly the same stories and messages had been delivered to the media many times before but it is a fact of life that you only get on to the breakfast and daytime TV shows and in all the tabloids with a very expensive PR operation.
So Birch is at it again with the CMC. It describes itself as “the UK’s first and only industry membership body for businesses and investors operating in cannabis based medicinal products (CBMPs) and cannabidiol (CBD) wellness markets.“, which is as wholly false a claim as has ever been published about anything, anywhere.
The existing trade associations, CannaPro and the CTA, were formed years before the CMC and between them represent nearly 1,000 businesses operating in the legal cannabis sector. Neither of them were consulted before or since the CMC’s report and the fact of their existence and the work they do in regulating the industry has been excluded from the report.
Of course, the CMC won’t name the products which its report showed to be so deficient because this would show that they are not from members of CannaPro or CTA and are therefore not at all representative of what consumers are actually buying. The irony is that PhytoVista, the lab used by the CMC, is itself a member of the CTA and provides testing services to many CannaPro and CTA members.
So take the results of the CMC CBD report with a very large pinch of salt, or perhaps with a tablespoon of hempseed oil containing only a trace of CBD. It doesn’t tell the truth. It paints a false picture of an industry that is actually a model of self-regulation.