The Growth of CBD in the UK

8.06.2018

Since the legalisation of CBD oil in the UK last year, the hemp-derived cannabinoid has been making waves across the country.

While CBD oil might be legal in the UK, there is currently a grey area when it comes to elaborating on the variety of medicinal claims that many cannabis enthusiasts believe to be true. We are not surprised by this grey area, as the introduction of CBD and other forms of cannabis worldwide remains in its infancy, and to make any outright medical claims in the absence of scientific evidence is irresponsible.

What is clear is that perceptions, as well as the persona of cannabis and cannabidiol, is slowly but surely changing. Groups of individuals in the public, private and celebrity spheres are beginning to speak openly about its medicinal benefits, while the look and feel of CBD are sporting a slick suit and tie.

As a CBD vape brand, we feel it’s important to highlight the various ways in which CBD oil and cannabis is manifesting itself within the UK, the EU and the rest of the world.

CBD Vape Shot 1000 mg
CBD Vape Shot 1000mg vape alternative

CBD in the UK

The economic applications of cannabidiol in the UK have already begun to produce notable returns. With retailer Holland & Barrett reporting a 37% increase in CBD oil sales in February 2018, one wonders what the growth will look like in a few years.

Although this is old news, there is a serious buzz surrounding the implications of CBD oil in the UK, the reported an increase in cannabidiol users from 125000 to 250000 in the past 12 months.

Legal CBD oil and its medicinal status

However, is this drastic increase a result of its introduction to retail or external factors? BBC news recently published a piece posing the question ‘Is the UK the world’s biggest exporter of legal cannabis?’ Politics aside, one of the most notable takeaways from this piece is the fact that the UK is overseeing the biggest government-licensed medicinal cannabis production and export market in the world.

Furthermore, the article reports that the majority of this medicinal cannabis is exported to the US in the form of a pharmaceutical drug known as ‘Sativex’. Despite the government’s denial of the medicinal uses of cannabis, Sativex is supplied to the public legally under the notion that it can be used to treat muscle stiffness and spasms in multiple sclerosis.

Sativex is produced with two of the cannabis plants most known compounds; CBD and THC. Even though Sativex contains the cannabis compound that produces psychoactive effects, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), it does not get users high at the prescribed dosage.

GW Pharmaceuticals medicinal cannabis growing facility
GW Pharmaceutical’s is the world’s biggest government-licensed medicinal cannabis growing facility. Image via Quartz.

 

With regards to the intersection between the medicinal properties of cannabidiol and its legal status in the UK, you might be familiar with the stories of two boys suffering from severe epilepsy. The government has denied the families of Alfie Dingley and Billy Caldwell permission to access the properties of the entire cannabis plant for treatment, and we believe it’s because of the following:

  1. The cannabis plant contains the psychoactive compound THC, which is known to produce sensations of ‘highness’ in the user. THC is thus a controlled substance, and possession of it can result in prosecution.
  2. Even though the UN’s International Narcotics Control Board define the whole cannabis plant as a treatment for a variety of illnesses such as MS or Epilepsy, the UK Home Office do not.

Despite this controversial dilemma that has risen from the aforementioned case, the legal and medicinal spotlight shines brightly on the CBD compound. Another drug developed on UK soil that is being reviewed for its application to uncontrollable epilepsy is Epidiolex.

The core cannabis compound in both Sativex and Epidiolex is cannabidiol. Furthermore, the extent to which one can elaborate on ‘medicinal properties of cannabis’ is governed by the Home Office’s acknowledgement of the effects of these specific drugs in the treatment of MS and epilepsy exclusively.

It’s safe to say that although outright medical claims or positing perceived medical benefits of CBD oil is out of the question, there is still progress being made with regards to the narrative surrounding its medical and legal status in the UK.

CBD and the UK Economy

While the most recent example of economic success pertaining to CBD oil in the UK is the case of health and wellness retailer Holland and Barrett, experts predict that cannabis could be legal in the UK five years from now.

Countries such as Canada, Australia, and multiple states in the US are beginning to loosen regulations on both a medicinal, as well as recreational perspective.

Following the topic of regulation, a plethora of investors and company officials attended the Cannabis Invest Conference in the UK at the Mayfair hotel. A variety of Canadian cannabis-related companies such as Premium Cannabis Flower Brand Emblem pitched their brands in the hope of securing investment.

Founder of Emblem Max Zevet believes that legalisation of cannabis in the UK will begin with its availability to the public for pain management from a medicinal standpoint, whereby recreational use will follow.

Max Zavet, Emblem Founder and CEO
Emblem CEO and Founder Max Zavet

What’s particularly interesting about this conference is that the majority who attended had never tried cannabis but find the potential return on investment particularly exciting.

While legal marijuana sales in California exceeded $9.7bn in 2017, and sales predicted to hit $24.5bn in 2021, it begs the question: to what extent can the applicational purposes of cannabis and CBD oil boost UK economic growth?

As a CBD Vape brand who has already begun applying the applicational uses of CBD oil in the currently £1bn vaping industry, we are excited about the synergy we have created between these industries.

The CBD Vape Shot is a CBD vape additive that is mixed with a vapers favourite e-juice. Although we are still in our infancy, the potential for growth is looking positive, and what is an important take away from the context of CBD in the UK economy is that the perception of a CBD oil user, as well as a cannabis user, has changed from long-haired hippy stoner to classy business man.

Things are changing!

The Future of CBD in the World

While CBD has seen commercial success in the UK since its introduction to Holland and Barrett as a food health & food supplement, developments and conversation surrounding ‘medicinal cannabis’ is progressing quickly in other countries, within the sports industry, and the celebrity sphere.

Since the legalisation of Cannabis in Uruguay in 2013, many countries have followed suite or have become more lenient with regulations. With Canada expected to legalise cannabis for recreational use in September 2018, other states in the USA such as Alaska, California, Colorado, Washington DC and more have already legalised it for both recreational, as well as medicinal use.

With regards to Canada’s date of legalisation, organisations such as Toronto based startup, Vapium Medical are maintaining a responsible position with regards to dosage of the cannabis compound. Vapium Medical are developing an app called SmartFlow which allow marijuana users to track the effects of various cannabis products with varying ratios of CBD and THC.

European countries such as Italy, Germany, Denmark and Finland have already begun to loosen regulations to accommodate consideration from a medical perspective, while considering the exiting investment properties.

Once again, it’s clear that the persona of CBD, THC, and cannabis in society is starting to look more like a business man or scientist, rather than that of a long-haired stoner or hippy.

Celebrities, CBD oil and Medicinal Cannabis

In April, the Daily Mail released a piece on celebrities who utilise cannabis oil for its perceived medical benefits. Jennifer Aniston claims that CBD oil assists her with pain management, stress and anxiety. Actress Olivia Wilde benefits from the topical application of CBD. Both actresses acknowledge the wormhole of dependency that painkillers can put individuals through and recognise CBD oil as an alternative health remedy.

Another advocate for CBD oil as a medicinal alternative for anxiety and stress management is super model Alessandra Ambrosio. The supermodel uses it to calm her nerves and get a restful night’s sleep before big runway shows.

Although there aren’t enough global scientific studies to support the medicinal claims surrounding cannabis oil, many celebrities use the cannabidiol to treat a variety of conditions. Some notable mentions are; Morgan Freeman who uses CBD oil to treat fibromyalgia, Michael J.Fox who used cannabis to prolong his acting career despite being a chronic sufferer of Parkinson’s Disease, and Sam Simon, creator of The Simpsons, who despite passing away from terminal colon cancer in 2012, managed to extend his remaining time on earth from 6 months to 3 years.

CBD prolongs actor, Michael Fox’s acting career
For Michael Fox, CBD instilled a hope for his acting career. Image via Piop.

An important take away from celebrities using CBD oil and cannabis to treat the aforementioned conditions is that despite the lack of medical research supporting the effectiveness of ‘medicinal cannabis’, these celebrities are using it for treatment and speaking openly about it.

WADA, Sports and Cannabidiol

With the World Doping Association recently lifting the ban on use of cannabidiol by professional athletes, the applicational uses of CBD for pain management and recovery within sport is becoming more common in a variety of sporting fields.

UFC fighter Nate Diaz vapes CBD to help with inflammation and rapid recovery. Furthermore, a variety of NFL players are using ‘medical marijuana’ as an alternative to the addictive opioid pain medication.

Nate Diaz is one of the athletes who use CBD
For Nate Diaz, using CBD over opioid pain medication was worth the legal risks. Image via Hempneeds.

The reality is that many athletes like Nate Diaz, and NFL player Rick Mease, will seek out alternative forms of treatment, as well as alternatives for quick recovery, regardless of regulations and the powers that be.

The growth of CBD in the UK and the rest of the world can be considered relatively drastic as people from formerly conservative walks of life begin to open up about it, while the perception of it being a stoner drug or something that gets you high begin to shift.

As a CBD Vape brand who has produced a quality CBD isolate cannabidiol vape alternative, we have already had a variety of users speak about how the CBD Vape Shot has changed their lives.

In terms of the future of CBD in the UK, the possibilities stretch as far as the cannabis enthusiasts mind can wonder and we are still left thinking – what’s next?