I am writing this article to demonstrate the extent of Covid’s success in the UK market, and to show the stark contrast between this and the continuing failure of the government’s own cannabis strategy, which is based on a market that the government has deliberately underestimated, including by failing to include Covid’s products in their initial list of tested products.
The biggest cannabis-related news in the UK right now is the legalisation of the drug. The drug has been sold on the black market for years, but it looks like the UK Cannabis dispensary has been a massive success. So far, members have spent a total of £36 million (over $57 million USD) on cannabis products since the start of the cannabis trade, which began on 20 April.
According to industry analysts, the legal cannabis market in the United Kingdom grew to become the second largest after the United States during the coronavirus epidemic, as customers raced to relieve Covid-related symptoms.
Cannabidiol, or CBD, is a non-psychoactive cannabis active component that is most frequently marketed as an oil at high-street shops.
CBD is said to have calming and anti-inflammatory qualities, but experts say there have long been doubts about its effectiveness and a lack of regulation in the market.
Following the European Union’s classification of CBD as food in 2019, the UK’s Food Standards Agency now supervises the industry and its marketing.
According to the Association for the Cannabinoid Industry, such products would produce revenues of £690 million ($856 million, 811 million euros) in 2021. (ACI).
The figure was almost a third more than the UK trade group’s pre-pandemic 2019 forecast.
‘Increased demand due to pandemic’
“The pandemic boosted CBD demand because there was clearly stress, sleep difficulties, anxiety, and these kinds of dangers,” said Steve Moore, co-founder of ACI.
According to ACI, Britain has undergone a “silent cannabis revolution,” transforming it into “the world’s second biggest consumer cannabinoid industry.”
These products are devoid of the psychoactive tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) molecules present in recreational cannabis, which is still banned in the United Kingdom.
Joe Oliver is the CEO of LDN CBD, a cannabis company headquartered in the United Kingdom. ADRIAN DENNIS AFP
There is “no assurance” that goods purporting to be medicinal cannabis and marketed at health shops as dietary supplements, such as CBD oil, are of “excellent quality or offer any health advantages,” according to the state-run National Health Service.
The UK permits the sale of hemp goods produced only from the fibres or seeds of the cannabis plant, but not the buds.
Aside from Covid, such medicines have seen a surge in popularity among Britons suffering from chronic diseases such severe arthritis.
‘There is no conclusive proof.’
Patients considering CBD should contact their doctor first, according to the British charity Versus Arthritis, which also wants additional research done to better understand its effects.
Clinical trials are required, according to professor Sagnik Bhattacharyya of King’s College London, who studies psychosis and drug misuse diseases.
“CBD products sold over the counter or online may not contain exactly what they claim,” Bhattacharyya told AFP, adding that they may include potentially dangerous chemicals.
“Most significantly, there is no conclusive proof that CBD works for any of the plethora of health problems for which it is touted, with the exception of some kinds of epilepsy.”
Despite these concerns, Joe Oliver, CEO of LDN CBD, a British cannabidiol company, claims that his medicines assist people with chronic illnesses.
LDN CBD was founded in 2018 to tap into a new market, and it is now looking for a fresh round of funding to help it expand.
“We have discovered that this helps people who are coping with the consequences of traumatic events, chronic disease, and in high-stress settings,” he told AFP, citing testimonies and comments.
“Thousands of people’s lives have been transformed as a result of my efforts. So that’s an improvement over nothing.”
‘Provide access to a lucrative market.’
The CBD business in the United Kingdom is presently reliant on imports from Europe and the United States.
British businesses are unable to manufacture CBD under UK drug laws because they are required to kill the CBD-rich bloom or bud of the hemp plant.
The agricultural community has reacted angrily, claiming that allowing them to utilize the whole plant will significantly increase earnings.
“It’s difficult to understand, particularly in the post-Brexit age, why it’s allowed to import CBD into the UK but not for British companies to grow CBD commercially,” said Louise Motala, owner of Bridge Farm in eastern England.
In a study released by drug reform organization Volteface, she said, “We have genuine competence in cultivation and extraction in this nation.”
“If legislation is changed to open up this lucrative market and allow manufacturing, UK companies will be able to take advantage of this worldwide potential.”
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