The United kingdom’s Medicines and Healthcare Regulatory Agency announced on Monday that they were reclassifying CBD (cannabidiol) as a legal medical ingredient. The MHRA’s announcement means that CBD products will have to meet strict standards, but can now legally be distributed throughout the region.
The decision of the MHRA to reclassify CBD marks an important milestone for Western society. Canada plans to nationally legalize all chemical constituents of cannabis, while America recently confirmed CBD as a part of the cannabis plant covered by the same drug laws that laud over heroin, LSD, and other extreme narcotics.
The MHRA sent many cease and desist letters to manufacturers of CBD products earlier in 2016 due to the high rash of companies marketing their products as medicine. The positive result, however, is that the MHRA also conceded that CBD was medically-effective, thereby opening a path for legal medical CBD.
By taking an evidence-based approach, UK regulators have made a crucial decision for cannabis medicine, focusing on safe and reliable access instead of shying away from the situation.
Unfortunately, American medical regulators exist in a bloated and sometimes downright corrupt ecosystem, making it difficult for common sense approaches to reach action. US-based pharmaceutical companies have enjoyed immense profits over the past few decades due to the doctor-prescribed opioid epidemic. The actions of pharmaceutical regulators seem to be catered to the success of these biotech companies.
For instance, Insys Therapeutics, an Arizona-based manufacturer of the opioid derivative Fentanyl, has tried dipping into cannabis medicine, but not in any kind of positive way. Insys has spent millions on developing a synthesized marijuana medicine, which according to previous research by multiple countries is a path to failure; single-cannabinoid medicines are inherently less effective than whole plant extractions.
Still, despite the scientific research, Insys was so certain that whole plant cannabis would damage the fabric of Arizonan society that it donated half a million dollars to anti-cannabis organization during the past election. Arizona failed to pass the legalization bill, keeping access at a forced low. But Insys, despite their pleas of trying to help people, are under extreme federal and state prosecution right now. In fact, a chunk of their executive board was arrested based on hyper-aggressive marketing campaigns (that are very illegal).
Insys’ response was to publicly explore expansion of the brand in overseas markets. “If America won’t let us hook their citizens on opioids, let’s go abroad.” These are the pharmaceutical business tactics that have plagued our country, and that are directly keeping US policymakers from enacting sensible cannabis policies, especially for non-psychoactive substances such as CBD.
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