07 Oct Professor Mike Barnes Speaks Out On the CBD Ban.

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Professor Mike Barnes, Scientific and Medical Advisor to CLEAR

Professor Mike Barnes, neurologist, scientific and medical advisor to CLEAR Cannabis Law Reform, has issued the following statement.

“It is encouraging that the MRHA is recognising that CBD has medicinal value but it is concerning that many people benefitting from CBD now will suffer in the short term as good quality manufacturers have to stop production pending MRHA approval” 

A redacted copy of the letter now being sent to all CBD suppliers can be seen here.

For some weeks, rumours and half stories have been swirling around about the MHRA taking action on CBD.

Initially a number of suppliers were warned about making medicinal claims, even testimonials from satisfied customers were ruled as unlawful.  Anything which suggested that CBD was a medicine or provided therapeutic effects was ruled out under UK medicines legislation.

Responsible CBD suppliers have known this for some time and were scrupulous in ensuring no such claims were made, even including disclaimers explicitly stating that their products were not for medical use. But as CLEAR has reported many times before, the CBD market is full of cowboys, get-rich-quick scam artists that tell bare faced lies about their products as well as making outlandish claims for the medicinal benefits.  The crackdown from the MHRA was inevitable when these fools put their short term gain ahead of developing a responsible and self-regulating market in which CBD could continue to be sold as a food supplement.

We have seen every sort of bad practice it is possible to imagine.  Some suppliers have attacked all of their competitors, stating that they are the only ‘ethical’ supplier and everyone else is telling lies.  MediPen put all its resources and efforts into marketing and PR without providing proper information to customers about what its product contained.  It achieved great coverage in tabloids like the Metro and the Mirror and even managed to spin a wholly misleading story that the NHS was “trialling” its product (In fact it was at last using an NHS accredited laboratory to test its product contents, that is all).  Another supplier called Sacred Kana was rebranding cheap and nasty Romanian hemp extract and selling a bottle for just over £50, claiming it contained 10,000 mg of CBD.  Testing showed that it actually contained less than 200 mg. Wrapped up in a warm, cuddly hippy-style marketing campaign, they were trying to pass themselves off as the Rick Simpson of CBD when all they are is conmen.

Responsible suppliers did include CBD information on their websites and often linked to scientific studies and research.  Clearly, even this has become too much for the MHRA and now the market is being closed down.  You can thank the greedy idiots, the conmen and the barrow boy salesmen trying to pretend they were scientists.

Of course the truth is that CBD is medicine, so the MHRA isn’t wrong.  Most CBD products are, in fact, low-THC, whole plant extracts, so they were, effectively, a legal form of cannabis.  The therapeutic benefits they offered were not just from CBD but from the ‘entourage effect’, recognised by science as the synergy between all the different components of cannabis.  Unfortunately, we even had some companies promoting the fact that their so-called ‘CBD oil’ actually contained significant proportions of THC and CBN, both ‘controlled drugs’ under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971.

The crackdown was inevitable but it may leave tens of thousands of people with real health problems as they are no longer able to obtain what they were legitimately using as a food supplement.

Crispin Blunt MP, Political Advisor to CLEAR

Crispin Blunt MP, Political Advisor to CLEAR

Of course, designating CBD as a medicine is inconsistent with the UK government’s position that cannabis has “no medicinal value” but it’s been common knowledge that this is untrue for many years.  The only good news coming out of this debacle is that this could be the beginning of proper, honest regulation of cannabis as medicine. But if we’re looking at clinical trials before CBD can be marketed again, it could be many years away and that’s after someone or some company decides to invest the £250,000 or more that could cost.

CBD products will still be available offshore and you probably will be able to order online and have them delivered by post.  The price is bound to go up and you will be committing a criminal offence by importing an unlicensed medicine but no doubt may will choose to take this risk.

CLEAR is working with the UK Cannabis Trade Association and our Advisory Board members Professor Mike Barnes and Crispin Blunt MP, to try and persuade the MHRA to enter a consultation process and allow CBD to remain available as a food supplement in the short term.

In the longer term, as we know far too well, the only solution is for a proper system of regulation for cannabis. including its use as medicine.

  • Dan

    Does this mean a doctor can now prescribe CBD but they can’t supply the product? Will SATIVEX and EPIDIOLEX be withdrawn in 28 days because they contain CBD?

    • Sativex already has a marketing authorisation fom the MHRA. Epidiolex is currently in clinical trials.

  • Pádráig O’Gáirmléadháigh

    Only to be expected from Tessie Maye, the Harridan of Downing street whose only concerns are for Big Pharma and their loss of revenue if Cannabis were given free reign, no matter how much people suffer in the meantime.

  • Diana Linaker

    what rot! I buy from nsukcbd.com/vgoil.html and my oil does not make me high!!!!! if it does contain THC it’s minimal. These products contain little if any THC and help many people so where’s the harm? Many countries have legalized the smoking of cannabis for medicinal benefit….. come on UK let’s not lag behind especially now with Brexit hot on our heels.

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  • RebelYogi

    How can the MHRA do this? surely they need to provide evidence to support their claim that it is medicinal? When did we start living under a dictatorship?

  • ZoeCBD
  • Rob Atkinson

    From: T. Saunders.
    Sent: 27 October 2016 15:20
    To: MHRA Customer Services
    Subject: CBD Legality

    Hi,
    I called to speak to someone regarding the current situation with CBD
    products in the U.K. As a customer, I was introduced to a company called
    Medipen who have a CBD based vape device.

    I have recently seen that CBD is now classified as a medicinal product so asked medipen
    directly if they have any more information about it as their website
    isn’t quite clear. They responded with some information about their
    product but also went on to say they were working with the NHS who are
    testing their product and after having discussions with the MHRA it was
    those conversations which led to the reclassification of the compound.

    The only information I was given to back up those facts were two links
    to an articles in the independent newspaper. I find this very strange as
    surely if such events occurred there would be an official statement
    from either Medipen themselves or from the NHS & MHRA?
    The person I spoke to on the phone when I contacted the number from your
    website couldn’t clarify any more information for me so I was told to
    email and ask. I want to be sure that this product is legal and after
    November 1st I will not be liable for any change in legislation which
    would render me with a lot of products that were now illegal. I asked
    Medipen directly and they only said they will make an announcement soon.
    When I spoke to them on the phone I was told by a lady called Sarah
    Walker that their product is fine as a medicinal aid and many of their
    customers have replaced their medication with their vape device as it is
    highly effective.

    Please see below for the email conversation I
    had with Medipen recently. Could you confirm any of this information
    regarding the matters in this email and in the conversation I had with
    Medipen as I am really confused as to what is going on.

    Thank you and hope to hear from you very soon,
    T. Saunders……

    From: MHRA Customer Services
    Date: 22 November 2016 at 12:49:30 GMT
    To: T.Saunders.
    Subject: GCEP-00116309 – CBD Legality

    Dear T. Saunders
    Thank you for your email.

    The product in question currently does not have a Marketing
    Authorisation granted for it and therefore, we cannot comment on its
    safety, efficacy or quality.

    Please contact us again if you need further assistance with any other queries.
    Kind Regards, Yvonne Smith.
    Customer Services
    Communications division
    Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency
    151 Buckingham Palace Road, London, SW1W 9SZ
    Telephone: 020 3080 6000
    Email: [email protected]

  • Michael Lewis

    Strange! Recently I heard that CBD is legal for pharmacy use only. In this way, I can’t understand way he wanted to ban this medicine. Really strange. https://pluscbdoil.com/

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