Cannabis is once again in the news with the publication of two reports regarding the use of ‘medical marijuana’ for epilepsy and ME. Both NICE and NHS England have published reports on their respective position on the use of cannabis as a medicine, fair to say one is more forward looking than the other. For the sake of balance this is the response from Medical Cannabis Clinicians Society (MCCS).
It is beyond doubt that cannabis has therapeutic properties, the problem is more to do with the lack of clinical knowledge of what and how to prescribe.
Whenever cannabis hits the headlines it is usually with a negative bias and little explanation of the different strains of this complex plant. For years we have been force fed that cannabis is a malevolent plant causing untold damage and forcing people to carry out crazy acts. But is that all about to change as more and more people educate themselves and turn to it for it’s therapeutic properties?
It is true many people have suffered mental illness from regular use of marijuana but not all cannabis is the same. As with most plant families there are various strains, over 1500, all with different properties. The main element which determines whether the plant is ‘legal’ or not is THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), it has psychotic properties and taken in high doses has been known to lead to mental health issues in regular users.
However, the dichotomy is the other major element found in cannabis, CBD, has anti-psychotic properties as reported by King’s College London. Therefore, as a treatment, cannabis can be highly effective without leading to mental health issues, providing the ratio of CBD to THC is managed. They work very effectively together, having a synergistic effect when reacting with our endocannabinoid system.
The levels of CBD and THC are determined at the seed stage and, as a generalisation, hemp plants produce flowers with a high concentration of CBD and trace elements of THC, whereas marijuana has higher levels of THC and lower levels of CBD. Balancing the strengths of these two and in what dosage is where clinicians knowledge base needs to improve and this can only be done through research and training, which can only be undertaken without suppression from government.
Where does this leave us right now? For those who really need ‘medical marijuana’ there is no good news on the immediate horizon. Although the Government legalised it in 2018, practitioners are still reluctant to issue prescriptions, in the main because they do not have the knowledge base, although this is being addressed in the private sector with the help of MCCS
For those of us with more everyday needs such as assistance with pain management, insomnia, stress relief, anxiety there is CBD Oil which is now widely available in the UK and legal, just make sure you buy from a reputable source such as MediVita .
CBD oil is made from the resin of the hemp flower and is, therefore, high in CDB and only has traces of THC, some producers strip out the THC altogether, but we found this does reduce the effectiveness of the oil and why we are strong advocates of whole plant, 100% natural cbd oil. If you are taking any medication, please seek medical advice prior to using any cbd products.