The Emperor Wears Hemp Clothes
– Cannabis Acceptance into the UK Market
By Robert Sidebottom – Non-Executive Director, Hemp and CBD Media Ltd
In 1985 Jack Herer first published his contentious book ‘The Emperor Wears No Clothes’ – an authoritative historical record of the cannabis plant, marijuana prohibition & how hemp can still save the world. The book courted some controversy at the time but quickly became a must-read for the millions of dedicated converts of this contentious plant. Jack gathered fact upon fact and as he did so a bigger picture of cannabis hemp and its suppression came together.
Jack Herer wrote “What came together was a picture of a world being destroyed by a malicious conspiracy to suppress not a ‘killer-weed’ but the world’s premier renewable natural resource, for the benefit of a handful of wealthy and powerful individuals and corporations”
The handful of wealthy and powerful are clearly spreading their collective bets, in May for example, it emerged that the drugs minister, Victoria Atkins had ‘voluntarily recused herself’ from speaking on cannabis, as her husband runs a company that has been growing acres of the plant for GW Pharmaceuticals which developed and markets Sativex and has recently launched a new cannabis-based epilepsy drug.
2018, however will be viewed as a historic point in the progression of hemp cannabis to mainstream acceptability in the UK, the parents and supporters of Alfie Dingley and Billy Caldwell fought and won for the right to medically administer cannabis oil and in-turn highlighted one of the many benefits of the product. For their respective children who both suffer from rare and severe forms of epilepsy for which conventional medicines had little or no effect, cannabis oil was the only long term solution. Their high profile cases forced the Home Office to grant exceptional licenses and in November of 2018 medical cannabis on prescription was granted.
Almost simultaneously the Cannabidiol (CBD) industry began gaining significant traction, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) provided guidance on the legality of non-medical cannabis products, which must only have trace levels of the psychoactive element tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and the industry which was emerging began growing exponentially.
Manufactures and suppliers and of non-medical cannabis products which primarily contain CBD and no or very low THC (below 1mg in the final product) are unable to make medical claims, however, the raft of subjective evidential benefits from users of Hemp and CBD products is overwhelming. From oral drops and spray to capsules, creams, vapes, drinks etc. CBD and hemp is slowly but surely gaining mainstream consumer popularity and we the customers are reaping the many benefits.
The Hemp and CBD industry is now firmly entrenched within its own sector and is represented by formal trade bodies. To further demonstrate the rising acceptance and popularity of these products in the UK an entire hall at the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham has been filled with the myriad of companies offering every conceivable manifestation of the instantly recognisable 5 leaflet plant.
Tommy Prendergast, Event Manager of the Hemp and CBD Expo in Birmingham said “The March 2019 Expo unmistakably demonstrates the rapid growth of the Hemp and CBD industry which in turn proves the popularity of these incredibly versatile plant based products. The NEC hall filled very quickly and tickets for consumers are selling fast.”
Hemp and CBD products are not akin Snake Oil, (Snake Oil has Omega 3 fatty acids by the way!). The benefits of cannabis derived products, although primarily subjective at the moment will over time (as formal UK research is conducted and accepted) become as normalised as taking paracetamol and will increasingly become a life style product to relax and aid sleep for example.
Watch this hemp space, as this incredible plant moves from demon to hero (as it clearly is for Alfie Dingley and Billy Caldwell), visit the Hemp and CBD Expo next March (2019) to find out more and remember ‘minds are like parachutes, best when open’.
Robert Sidebottom is a Non-Executive Director for Hemp and CBD Media Ltd who are the organisers for the Hemp and CBD Expo from 2-3 March 2019. The Hemp and CBD Expo is the first national tradeshow in the UK for the cannabis hemp industry.