So, for those who are unaware, the UK legalised medicinal cannabis in 2018. This was after a long, emotional battle from the parents of Alfie Dingley & Billy Caldwell, 2 very sick boys who suffered from rare epilepsy conditions respectively in which cannabis provided the only relief. There was a lot of press around these stories, and as a result the home office granted them both permission to access this life-saving medicine, and changed the law forthwith. There is a whole heap of issues surrounding this, but this isn’t really what this is post is about.
What i’d like to touch upon, is the recent CBD boom that’s happening in the UK. All over the country, a plethora or different outlets are suddenly selling CBD products, one of the non-psychoactive compounds found in the cannabis plant. The reason for this, is the aforementioned change in the law, despite the fact that non-THC cannabis-derived products have never really been illegal here. Hemp is a perfectly legal crop to grow, so long as the plant contains less than 0.2% THC. It’s the permissions and the space needed for a worthy crop that restrict many from growing. Now that the general public have the backing of the law, and the education surrounding CBD is increasing, we’re seeing lot’s of different products popping up on the market. This is definitely a good thing, however I fear that the agenda being pushed is trying to separate CBD and CBD-derived products from the cannabis plant itself.
An example of this are recent education programmes cropping up throughout the country, with the aim of educating kids on the dangers of cannabis. Whilst I agree that kids should get an education on the subject, their agenda appears dangerously one-sided. There needs to be a well-rounded, informed & honest discussion on the plant, including the dangers on the developing brain but also the many positives it has, not just on people but on the planet itself. Besides, let’s not forget, cannabis has never killed anybody, and the dangers are grossly over-represented and over-generalised. Aspirin kills around 3,000 people a year in the UK, yet because it was so widely used before its official classification, clinical trials were bypassed due to the abundance of anecdotal evidence. Sound familiar? Where’s the education surrounding Aspirin use? I digress, but you get my point.
Right now, people are only getting a small part of the picture. Yes it’s great that CBD is becoming a common phrase in the public’s lexicon, but what about the rest of the plant? The only information the general public have regarding THC is that it gets you high and is overall negative. You see tabloid newspapers citing the high content of THC found in recently tested ‘street’ cannabis, which gives everyone the impression that CBD is good, and THC is bad. This is vastly incorrect, and does a real disservice to those who need this plant for medicine. Most people don’t realise that whilst THC is psychoactive , it also has great medicinal value, and in fact some epilepsy conditions are treated best with a mixture of CBD & THC.
Because of this separation of cannabis-derived products & the cannabis plant itself, there is no mention of the using the flower in its rawest form. Again, most people don’t realise that the cannabis plant has thousands of compounds with medicinal value, some of which are only extracted at super-high temperatures. Even so, the failure to mention the synergy created between these compounds from burning the plant or ingesting it in its rawest form is also doing a massive disservice to those who’ve been medicating like this for years. It also suggests that there is no benefit from medicating in this way, something which hundreds of thousands of cannabists across the world would argue against.
My point here is that you can’t talk about one thing without talking about the other. Besides, all this education makes no difference with regards to teenage use if kids can still get access to cannabis via a street dealer selling indiscriminately. There needs to be proper legalisation and regulation, with measures in place to restrict access to under-18s whilst still providing them with an honest education. ‘Just Say No’ or ‘All Drugs Are Bad’ is untrue and just plain patronising. Young people and adults have and always will want to experiment with drugs and alter their consciousness, it’s ours as a society’s responsibility to ensure people can do this safely and with the correct information available to them.
So much energy is wasted in perpetuating theoretic & pseudo-scientific evidence in order to demonise a plant to push an outdated and dying agenda. Let's change the conversation and ‘Just Say No’ to false information and outdated stereotypes.