An estimated thirty thousand people in the UK use cannabis – including cannabis seeds – for medicinal reasons every day. Until recently, none of this was recognised officially by the National Health Service (NHS).
But changes are coming, and scientists throughout the world are researching the cannabis strains that can most effectively treat a wide range of health issues.
Professor Val Curran, a professor of Psychopharmacology at University College London, was recently interviewed by the BBC and referred to cannabis as a “locked medicine chest”.
She explained that current legislation in the UK is hampering efforts to fully exploit the medical potential of cannabis seeds, plants and by-products. Professor Curran said that “more than anything” what is needed is “a lot more research to tease apart this potential medicine chest that is the cannabis plant.”
This respected academic also told the BBC that the sort of pain which doesn’t respond to regularly used opioids may well be relieved by using cannabis. She added that cannabis has the potential to treat nerve pain, epilepsy and psychiatric disorders – possibly even addiction.
First NHS Prescription for Cannabis
Another major step forward happened recently. An 11-year-old boy – Billy Caldwell – is believed to be the first person in Britain to be prescribed medical marijuana. The boy suffers from a serious form of epilepsy.
Billy’s mother, Charlotte, had been taking him to the USA to get cannabis oil, as she felt it substantially reduced the 100 potentially life-threatening fits he experienced each day.
When the journey becomes too costly and stressful, Charlotte approached Billy’s GP, who agreed to prescribe CBD oil – a substance produced from cannabis. Under the UK’s current guidelines from the Medicines & Healthcare products Regulatory Agency, this derivative of cannabis is permissible for medical use in special circumstances.
It means that Billy has access to a medication that can treat his epilepsy with a journey no further than his local pharmacy.
This could clear the way for much more people in the UK to receive this cannabis derivative that relieves the symptoms of long-standing health problems.
Research into medical uses of Cannabis
The cannabis oil that Billy Caldwell has been prescribed does not contain tetrahydrocannabinol – or THC as it is known. This is the psychoactive part of cannabis and the component that makes it illegal under the UK’s Misuse of Drugs Act.
The research underway in the UK and globally is seeking to find ways to modify cannabis to make it effective without unnecessary side-effects.
A study some years ago found that cannabidiol could potentially halt the spread of breast cancer cells. According to another report in the British Journal of Cancer on 2009, active components of cannabis may also slow down or stop the growth of prostate cancer cells. This was uncovered by researchers at a university in Madrid.
It is important to stress that these studies show that cannabis has the potential to be a building block for effective treatments. They are not exhaustive studies, and there appears to have been no hard evidence produced yet by clinical trials.
The popular media sometimes exaggerates the claims about medical cannabis, raising false hope and distorting the reality of the research. This brings this field of study into disrepute.
The healing power of Cannabis
However, it is clear that the centuries-old respect for the healing powers of cannabis does have some basis in fact. A great deal more research is needed to unlock the mysteries of cannabis, and bring it even further into mainstream medical use.
Meanwhile, the British Seed Company will continue to offer the highest possible quality strains of cannabis seeds. By upholding quality standards and ensuring the curation of only the finest seeds, we can ensure a reliable product. We operate within current UK legislation.