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While the U.K. CBD industry desperately seeks clarity on regulations, the politically time-consuming machinations of Brexit will prevent any serious progress until 2020, says a leading industry figure.
Blair Gibbs, Policy Lead for the Centre For Medical Cannabis (CMC) was speaking to CBD Testers at last week’s Europe CBD Expo in London. The key issues facing the U.K. CBD industry, right now, is whether the Government, and its regularity agency the Food Standards Agency (FSA), will press ahead with implementing the EU’s Novel Food directive.
“Discussions at senior level are taking place, at pace, across Whitehall – not just in the FSA – the discussions also involve the Home Office, The NHS (National Health Service) and Department for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), and there is clearly a recognition that the regulation is not where it should be.
“Will there be a single co-ordinated statement by all three departments? Will they send FSA into battle and give them the resources to do the job Well, the disappointing reality is that Brexit has so consumed the oxygen in the U.K. political realm, there is not the political attention to policy-making resources being devoted to this issue. And don’t expect any significant changes in the next six months.”
Mr Blair believes that if the U.K Government was to seek implementation of the European Union’s Novel Food directive it would suffer a backlash.
What Is A Proportionate Response?
“Personally I don’t think the Novel Food regime is workable for the U.K. CBD markets as it exists, today. Three years ago, then yes. Then it was less than one tenth of the size it is now,” says Mr Blair.
He continued, “You could have argued that a change like that backed up by proper, clear regulations, communicated to the industry and with enforcement, could have set the benchmark and helped companies achieve that standard, but we are, where we are – and it is now, very different.
“The FSA has said it will act in a proportionate way, and the discussions now are on the subject of what is proportionate? We currently have this grace period and if a proportionate response is to support a company making a Novel Food application during this period, then that it gives a clear pathway for companies who want to be compliant and we would support that.
“What the regulator is saying is that EU regulations are law in the U.K., and must be enforced and Trading Standards Officers are under a duty to seize and close down CBD businesses wherever they find them. But we are not seeing that happening, and if that is the intention then the regulator will need much more resources to do that job.
1.3m CBD Users Is A Large Block Of Voters
“Speaking frankly, it will also need a lot of political cover from politicians and minsters to take that course. There are 1.3m regular CBD users in the U.K. that is a very large base of consumers, and voters, who won’t necessarily take kindly to their products being outlawed. Quite apart from the economic impact on the companies creating revenues and jobs in the U.K.
“In reality, these regulations need to be complied with, but first of all we need the regulators to tell the industry – and ultimately consumers – what is lawful and what is proportionate in terms of Novel Food.”
He described the current European impasse on Novel foods as a ‘phoney war’. “What we have is a change in the law determined by a political vote in Brussels that has implications on the ground for companies in the U.K., in an industry which is now growing, is very important, and is relied upon by many consumers, but there is an apparent reticence to implement that law change by enforcement.
“If, and when, it does come it will create a shock for the CBD market. The best CBD companies are aware of what Novel Food means for them and there are companies actively pursuing a Novel Food application on the grounds that is the requirement, as it stands today, and even if it changes in the future they should ensure compliance with the law as it exists, today.”
Possible Brexit Bonus
Looking beyond Brexit Mr Gibbs sees immense potential for the British cannabis industry if the U.K. leaves the EU.
“There is a better way to proceed and devise something fit for the U.K. based on a less restrictive, more innovative third way for cannabinoid medication.
“At the moment there is not the appetite to do that, but outside the EU, like Switzerland, we would have the chance to go our own way.” He also hit out at the ‘archaic’ regulations which prevent domestic famers supplying the U.K. CBD market.
Archaic Regulations Stymie U.K Growers
“This is so important and such a simple thing to fix. The U.K. hemp rules are archaic and completely out of step with how this new agricultural commodity is being governed and regulated everywhere else in the world.
“The passage of U.S. Farm Bill, the recent changes in New Zealand around the cultivation of hemp, changes closer to home in British Isles such as Jersey and Guernsey, what Canada has done to allow its hemp farmers to supply CBD into its market.
“They all put enormous pressure on countries like the U.K. to justify why we have such an old fashioned and retrograde approach to the cultivation of a plant.
“We have the perverse situation where farmers must pay the Home Office – the national security department of the British state – for a licence to grow hemp from a list of approved hemp seeds all of which have guarantees to certify they will produce no more than 0.2% THC.
“Once licensed, however, they are mandated to remove and destroy the most valuable part of the plant. That isn’t sustainable, and explains why the U.K. hemp sector is so small in stark contrast to the boom on the Continent.
“In practical terms there is nothing more radical that needs to happen than DEFRA and the Home Office jointly agreeing changes to the licensing conditions for hemp. A small change at a stroke would give the U.K. the ability to have a domestic hemp industry supplying CBD in to the U.K.”
Mr Blair said the CMC’s main aim is to advocate for the development of responsible industry for U.K. cannabis medicines.
However he went on to say that CBD is important to the CMC and it would encourage the ‘the adoption of a credible and robust system of voluntarily self-regulation’ for the sector, saying “I’m, not sue we quite have that yet.”
He added: “When we engage with Government and regulators the feedback we get is that they are not convinced the industry, that we have at the moment, is effectively self-regulating.”
While the Republican party has traditionally held an anti-cannabis stance, the Senate committee just scheduled a hearing to discuss business banking access for cannabis companies.
The powers that be on Capitol Hill seem to finally be coming around to the reality that cannabis legalization is happening. While there may still be a complex issue at the federal level, numerous states have legalized cannabis – both medically and recreationally – and that in itself has created a plethora of problems. One of the most significant of those problems is the lack of business banking access provided to those in the already thriving multi-billion dollar cannabis industry.
The drive to solve the unacceptable problems faced by cannabis companies and their employees is gaining support. The hearing, scheduled for next week by the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs will see discussions about a new house cannabis banking bill.
The bill, which has 206 cosponsors, cleared the chamber’s Financial Services Committee with a bipartisan vote back in March. Pressure has been brought to bear recently as banking associations from 50 states, as well as the National Association of State Treasurers and others, are calling on Congress to solve the issue.
The chief complaint from those spearheading the bill is that by preventing cannabis companies from engaging in banking services, they’re forced to deal only in cash. That’s a massive problem in terms of money laundering, paying taxes, and most of all, robberies. Due to the lack of business banking access for cannabis firms, they are often the target of violent and sometimes deadly armed robberies.
They’re primarily targeted as it’s known they hold large amounts of cash on their premises as they have no other choice. And that’s not to mention the inconvenience to customers who want to pay by check or credit/debit card for their medication.
While a vote on the bill ideally needs to come before the August recess, that doesn’t look likely at the moment. On the other hand, Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) spoke about the bipartisan support for the initiative. “There’s an issue when it comes to banking, making sure you’re able to having accountability within that,” he said.
“I’ve heard a lot of bipartisanship in there,” he added. A spending bill was also passed by the house, including a provision to stop federal institutions from penalizing banks who work with cannabis companies which are legal at the state level.
At the same time, representatives from the Credit Union National Association (CUNA), Citywide Banks, and prohibitionist group Smart Approaches to Marijuana will attend a conference to discuss the matter. CUNA President and CEO Jim Nussle said, according to the same report, “At its heart, cannabis banking is a public safety issue. It’s an $8.3 billion industry that’s currently being forced to operate almost entirely in cash.”
Nussle also spoke about the issues faced by states where cannabis is legal and the difficulties they face. “While 33 states, territories and DC have legalized cannabis, it’s been overwhelmingly difficult to provide these businesses financial services because handling transactions are currently considered money laundering,” he said.
“Credit unions have been leading the way in helping to get this money off the streets. We are dedicated to finding a solution to this ongoing challenge that impacts every community around the country, and look forward to working with Senate leaders during this hearing and with Congress at large.”
CEO of CTF, Neal Levine, also said he hoped the new cannabis policy reform would pass. “This hearing is yet another sign that Congress is taking the cannabis banking problem seriously and intends to take action to correct it,” he said. “Cannabis businesses operating legally under state and local laws should have the same access to banking and financial services as any other type of business.”
History is definitely in the making after the House Judiciary subcommittee held a meeting about a subject that was unthinkable just a decade ago. That subject discussed ending federal cannabis prohibition once and for all. It remains to be seen what the lawmakers on Capitol Hill will do when it comes to banking access for the industry and cannabis legalization in general. What’s for sure is that the winds of change are certainly blowing, as the world enters a new era of cannabis legalization.
With the legalization of cannabis across many states in the U.S., together with the 2018 Farm Bill, allowing the industrial cultivation of hemp, there’s a lot of confusion around when it comes to the differences between the two.
Some people call it pot, some call it weed, while others call it ganja. There are probably more than two dozen nicknames for this much loved and recently legalized plant, but some people don’t even know the striking differences between cannabis and hemp. However, probably the main reason it’s so important to know the differences between the two now is because of the rising popularity and rapidly ballooning market for CBD.
CBD, short for Cannabidiol, is a fairly recently isolated compound inside both cannabis and hemp plants which many people use medicinally. Unlike THC, the compound abundant in cannabis (but not hemp), CBD carries no psychoactive or disorienting (stoned) effects. It does, however, help many people suffering from anxiety, depression, sleeplessness, and chronic pain, to name a few conditions CBD is considered effective for.
Cannabis is a flowering plant (although technically it’s a herb according to some) from the Cannabaceae family. This family consists of three main species: Cannabis sativa, Cannabis indica, and Cannabis ruderalis. Due to decades of prohibition, the terminology became warped, and general terms were given to “weed” whether cannabis or hemp. As the era of legalization moves forward in leaps and bounds, patients, recreational users, doctors, and police officers are all equally confused as to which is which.
Let’s take a closer look at cannabis and hemp and understand the differences between them.
Industrial hemp growing outdoors
The reality is that hemp is essentially just a variety of the plant that grows wild, almost always outdoors. According to the strict definition, hemp is cannabis that contains around 0.3% of THC (when dried). This represents only a tiny trace amount of the THC compound that makes you feel high. As such, hemp does not get you high, and it’s not such a pleasure to smoke or vaporize when it comes to taste. It is, however, a fantastic herb from Mother Nature which contains CBD and other cannabinoids.
Hemp is usually cultivated mainly for the industrial use of its derived products. These include hemp seed oil, which is used as a food additive and is considered to be very healthy. Hemp seed oil contains a bunch of minerals and also has the perfect ratio or Omegas 3.6 and 9. Hemp has also been used for more than 10,000 years to make clothes, rope, paper, and building materials.
The main difference that needs to be made clear is that CBD products derived from hemp are legal (as long as they contain <0.3% THC). CBD products that derived from cannabis are not always legal and could contain >0.3% THC, meaning they could make you feel high or fail a drug test.
Cannabis is also called “marijuana” – although we in the industry consider that derogatory – among several other names. Cannabis contains more than 0.3% THC in general, and usually a lot more. Cannabis is different from hemp as the mature flowers on a female plant can contain up to 25% THC. This means that smoking or ingesting it will get you high, and in some cases, very high.
Detailed view of a flowering cannabis plant – A Cola
To expand on what I mentioned above, many people feel that the word Marijuana is racist. During one mass migration of Mexicans to the US between 1910 and 1920, they brought cannabis with them to cultivate, and the word Marijuana started being used as a racist word against them. By the 1930s, US authorities had all but totally prohibited cannabis cultivation, possession and use in most states.
In short, cannabis is hemp that contains high or relatively high amounts of the THC compound. The issue, especially for law enforcement, is that it’s almost impossible to tell the difference between cannabis and hemp visually. That’s no surprise after so many decades of brutally enforced prohibition, but now it’s time for people to get reeducated about cannabis and hemp, and the what the right and wrong terms are to use for them.
Main Differences Between Cannabis and Hemp
Both cannabis and hemp contain high amounts of CBD in general. There are, however, many specially cultivated cannabis strains which are grown to include a lot of THC but only small amounts of CBD.
The Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018 (also known as the Farm Bill 2018) made the cultivation of low THC hemp legal for the first time in decades. Cannabis is still classed as totally illegal on the federal level.
Cannabis and hemp are cultivated differently. While cannabis is usually grown indoors under a carefully controlled environment, hemp is generally grown outdoors in large fields or on farms.
Cannabis is used recreationally and medicinally for different things. THC is useful for pain, and other symptoms and CBD is also thought to have several health benefits (just without the high). Cannabis is grown for people who want THC in general. Hemp is grown for industrial uses more commonly.
Cannabis Vs. Hemp Derivatives
Terminology is important when it comes to cannabis and hemp based products
The issue surrounding terminology is one thing, but when it comes to the derivatives of the two, it’s even more vital to have five finger clarity. CBD used to make CBD oil tinctures, CBD vape juices and CBD topicals can be extracted from either cannabis or hemp as previously mentioned.
While the CBD itself is the same – whether from hemp or cannabis as the structure of the molecule doesn’t change – it matters in terms of legality which plant it was extracted from. The Farm Act in the states permitted hemp and derived products from it, but not for CBD that comes from cannabis. As long as the CBD from the hemp contains less than 0.3% THC, it’s legal even federally.
Researchers in Israel identified more than 100 different chemical compounds in the cannabis plant. While THC and CBD are the two most popular and best known, other cannabinoids such as CBG and CBN are also considered to offer therapeutic effects.
The other main factor here is something called the “Entourage Effect“. This effect is to with the intricate, symbiotic relationship that exists between the various cannabinoids as well flavonoids and terpenes also present in the plant. Some people like to benefit from the unique qualities of CBD by itself.
There are others who are more interested in what’s called “full spectrum extract,” which includes those other cannabinoids and terpenes which are reintroduced when it comes to the final part of the manufacturing process.
When it comes to the words used to describe cannabis and hemp, there remains a lot of confusion in most countries in the world. It will, no doubt, take time for people to become educated about the terminology more accurately.
Until then, people possessing hemp and not cannabis could still find themselves in a fix with the long arm of the law. Take Canada as a prime example; having fully legalized cannabis and hemp recently. The tax authorities in Canada are thrilled with legalization as it’s proved so far to be a highly lucrative source of income.
A massive chunk of that tax revenue is being plowed into educational programs on cannabis. These are intended to teach people – both young and old – that neither cannabis nor hemp are harmful plants, even if taken in high doses. It may take a generation, or even two before a proper and well-rounded understanding of the various aspects of cannabis and hemp are understood thoroughly and in a clear way.
The theory that CBD can possibly interact with various medications has been thrown around for a while now, but as it turns out, some recently completed studies indicate this is actually true.
It’s a commonly held belief that because CBD is natural, it doesn’t have side effects or any negative drug interactions, but that’s a dangerous belief to have. Take the grapefruit for example, a delicious fruit with numerous benefits including weight loss and a reduced risk of heart disease. Despite how healthy it is, eating grapefruit or drinking grapefruit juice can be very risky if you’re on certain medications.
This is because grapefruit contains compounds known as furanocoumarins, which bind to and neutralize various gut enzymes, the most important being the Cytochrome P450 enzymes. CYP450 is a group of liver enzymes that help break down and eliminate drugs from the body.
Just like the furanocoumarins in grapefruit, CBD binds to the CYP450 enzymes as well, but research suggests that it may be even more potent because it attaches in multiple parts of the gut and liver, whereas grapefruit mainly affects just the small intestine. Because of this, CBD can raise levels of certain drugs in the blood stream.
Of particular concern is the combination of CBD with anticoagulants like coumadin and Eliquis, and chemotherapy medication such as Abraxane and Cytoxan. For both of these classes of drugs, the dosage must be precise, and they’re formulated with the understanding that they will be metabolized at a certain rate. It can be detrimental if the body is getting more than what’s recommended.
What’s more, the enzymes don’t immediately go back to normal after being inhibited. It can take days, even weeks, for enzyme function to regulate after it’s been affected. It’s also worth noting that when observed in rats, CBD only inhibited CPY450 for a short period of time, but induced them after repeated use. How that plays out in the long-term remains to be seen.
There is a silver lining to this study, however, which is CBD’s affect on CYP1A1. Cannabidiol induces this enzyme, which is responsible for the degradation of carcinogenic substances. As per the publication, “CYP1A1 can be found in the intestine and CBD-induced higher activity could therefore prevent absorption of cancerogenic substances into the bloodstream and thereby help to protect DNA.”
So, this is clearly a new area of research, but it really drives home the point that CBD – being a health supplement or medication – will NOT have the same effects on everyone. It can work flawlessly for some, and for others, well, not so much. Side effects and drug interactions are possible with CBD.
Before making any changes to your health regimen, make sure to speak to a health care professional that you trust and one who knows your medical history.
The Novel Food classification may well become the accepted legal position for European CBD industry.
Many ‘smart’ companies are already going through the process of securing compliance. However, at a cost of upwards of £250,000 such a certification is not coming cheap.
January’s decree by The European Union decision to classify CBD as a Novel Food was the topic of much debate at the Europe CBD Expo event at the ExCel Centre in East London.
CBD Genie Out Of The Bottle
Mark Taylor, a compliance and regulatory journalist, described the industry as being in a ‘pretty weird state of stasis at the moment’.
“Blame Austria! They initially questioned status of CBD, and now its being kicked back and forward. The genie has been taken out of the bottle with Novel Food and I don’t think it can be put back; at the moment we’re still waiting for a ruling from the EU.”
Novel Food ‘Grace Period’
Tim Phillips, Managing Director of CBD-Intel, a U.K. company providing market and regulatory analysis, believes that CBD will become a Novel Food and ‘smart companies are already taking measures to ensure compliance’.
One leading industry figure, involved in regulatory issues for a CBD product developer, said he believed the EU is currently allowing the industry a ‘period of grace of a year-or-so’ before insisting on implementation of the Novel Food directive.
“The governments are learning with the industry as we go along, there is massive uncertainty everywhere. In some parts of Europe – take Spain for example the Novel Food directive is being pursued, so at the moment our company is focusing on the U.K. as there is more leeway.
“Lobby groups are working together to put pressure on Brussels. This is multi-billion Euro industry and it’s not that easy to just draw a line and say this is not legal; there is too much financial interest to just shut this down.”
£300,000 to 400,000 Euro Application
He said it is working with an extract company which is submitting a Novel Food application, saying it’s a lengthy and costly business. “It’s like a pharmaceutical process requiring clinical data, and it is one which can take up to two years. It is also expensive costing upward of 300,000 to 400,000 Euros.
“We are finding that companies are investing in this together. There are not that many companies who are purely extractors but there are a lot of customers of the extractors and they are being asked to make a contribution towards to cost of the Novel Food application.
“Us, and companies like us, are being told ‘I’m the guy with extract and I’m asking you for a contribution toward the cost’.”
Other industry figures speculated on what the market will look like under Novel Food with one saying there may be just over a handful of European extractors with authorizations, and this may cause prices to rise.
While cannabis typically works well for most people, there’s also such thing as getting too high. It usually comes when you’re least expecting it and can make you take a serious turn for the worse.
It’s no secret that cannabis offers psychedelic effects and that’s the reason that many people use it, at least recreationally. THC is the compound inside cannabis which is responsible for the high and stoned sensations. CBD is another compound in the plant which is thought to contain medicinal value and make you feel relaxed and comfortable but without any high or cerebral effects.
There are different situations in which cannabis can make you feel a little shaky, but that depends on several factors. Before we go any further though, we need to be clear that cannabis – even in high doses – is non-lethal and does not cause serious harm. For example, there is no known clear case of a person dying from a cannabis overdose ever, and this is considered by most to be impossible. However, getting too high is unpleasant, and it often comes from eating cannabis edibles or from smoking too much.
What Makes Someone Get “Too High”?
The obvious culprits here to mention are novice users, and especially young teenagers or the elderly (not to mention other people with underlying medical conditions). The people in these groups are probably the most likely to feel too high. That also goes for first-time users. It also often depends on the circumstances or situation where cannabis is used.
Cannabis edibles often get novice users too intoxicated
Cannabis edibles are another big culprit here, and that’s to do with the way they enter the system via the stomach. It’s also harder to dose accurately when taking edibles, as opposed to smoking or vaping. When cannabis is taken via the stomach, it takes a while to work itself through the digestive tract and into the bloodstream. It also gets filtered by the liver when consumed, and this is an additional factor. It takes up to three hours for the effects of cannabis edibles to be felt by some people, and that’s not always a good thing in terms of timeframe.
Then, there are those people who abuse cannabis by overly smoking, vaping, or eating it even though they already feel the full effects. It could be a party where a pipe or bong is going around, or a novice smoker wants to impress the crowd. If that newbie also consumed alcohol, that could also have an effect on how the cannabis affects them.
These days, there are also highly potent cannabis concentrates, extracts, and tinctures that can get you 15 or even 30 times higher than smoking conventional cannabis. Even a veteran cannabis user can feel some wobbly effects from “dabbing” (the process of heating cannabis concentrates to a high temperature), and that’s also something to bear in mind.
What To Do When You Get Too High
The first piece of advice you need is – DON’T PANIC – everything is going to be just dandy, soon. For now, try and sit down quietly in a cool, comfortable room, concentrate on your breathing and relax, nothing bad is going to happen to you. You may feel sweaty, confused, and even have a headache for a while but usually, a few hours sleep will have you feeling right as rain.
A snack and some water can help tremendously if you’re feeling to high
The next thing to do is to sip some water (or even soda as the sugar could make you feel better even if it’s not so healthy). The more hydrated you are, the better, and it could be that you were dehydrated in the first place and that’s why you were affected badly.
A snack is also a good idea to give you something else to focus on, other than how bad you’re feeling. Some people swear by bananas when they encounter adverse effects from cannabis, but you can choose other food as well. The last thing you’ll be thinking about is calories at this time.
When things have calmed down a little, even if you aren’t feeling 100%, try to go for a relaxing stroll around the block or take the dog for a walk. The more you distract your mind from the negative feelings, the better. When you get back from the walk and if you’re feeling up to it, take a lukewarm-to-cold shower or bath and relax further. No, you don’t need an ambulance, and you don’t need a 3 am visit to the emergency room, no matter how bad you think you feel.
Take Some CBD Oil or Vape Juice
CBD, as mentioned at the beginning of this article, is a compound inside cannabis that, according to some, offers numerous health benefits but doesn’t make you feel high. CBD also works directly against THC to reduce anxiety or paranoia that some people feel when cannabis hits them badly.
As Martin Lee, author of Smoke Signals famously wrote, “Cannabidiol (CBD) balances the buzz and softens the euphoria–or, in some cases, the dysphoria–induced by THC, which can make people feel very loopy and weird. CBD is the yin of THC’s yang.” As such, there’s a unique, symbiotic relationship between THC and CBD. CBD enhances the pain-numbing effects of THC and also reduces the paranoia that it can cause in some people.
If you ever find yourself becoming too high, just pop a few drops of highly concentrated CBD Oil under your tongue. You can also vape or smoke CBD flowers (hemp buds) or take some CBD in the form of E-liquid in a vape pen. Many people find that CBD helps to calm things down and causes the enhanced or overwhelming sensations to dissipate naturally.
Knowing Your Limits
When all is said and done, you can avoid getting too high by understanding and gauging your tolerance level to cannabis. If consuming edibles, for example, start low with a 5 or 10mg dose and taper up from there. Patience is the key as it takes up to a few hours for the full effects of edibles to be felt.
If smoking or vaping THC-heavy cannabis start with one or two small puffs, wait for ten minutes and see how you’re feeling. You’ll know by then if you’ve reached your desired level or need a little top up.
When CBD regulations arrive they will be product specific, argued a leading ‘Magic Circle’ lawyer at the Europe CBD Expo in London.
Eveline Van Keymeule of International law firm Allen & Overy said there is currently huge uncertainty in the global CBD market with ‘regulators struggling to keep up with fast pace of the industry’.
“There are few harmonized rules with huge variations between geographies and product types and this is a challenge for businesses, investors and banks. When the regulations are formulated they will be product specific – different rules for the wide variety of CBD products; take, for example food and cosmetics – the rules cannot be harmonized.”
Oliver Zugel, founder and CEO of Colombian producer Foliumed, likened the current CBD market to the Gold Rush in the Klondike at the end of the 19th Century, with the industry attracting people from a variety of different backgrounds.
He believes that ‘within two years the CBD industry will be regulated‘ and once this happens many of the players in today’s market will have been ‘blown out of the water’, by the multinationals and the pharmaceutical industry.
However he argued that fleet-footed players will still be able operate in the area between these intensive, research-based pharma companies and the market-leading, consumer, packaged goods companies such as Coca-Cola.
He believes neither of these two types of businesses have the skills to operate effectively in the space between the two. Both were speaking on the first day of the two-day event at the ExCel Centre in East London.
Also speaking was Housam Nasr, COO of the London Canna Group, and he pushed back at suggestions that the cannabis market is already ‘saturated’. He said: “There are over 150 cannabinoids and the research into how they can help with various medical conditions has only just started. We are only just beginning, and there will be plenty of opportunities for new businesses and industry to flourish.”
Compliance and regulatory journalist Mark Taylor likened the cannabis industry to the on-line gambling industry of 15 years ago in the way regulators are trying to play catch-up.
He believes four possible market models will develop with free market or Government supply being two, permissive home-grow a third, and cannabis clubs such as in Spain the fourth; although the latter may prove less attractive as it will generate no tax revenues for authorities.
In Europe the vast majority of production will be in the sunnier Southern counties of Spain, Greece and Portugal, with the Northern European counties leading the way in capital markets and medical expertise, he said.
While most of the attention when it comes to cannabis legalization is focused on North America these days, some people have an eye on Southeast Asia where medical cannabis, decriminalization, and even legalization are a hot topic.
Thailand legalized medical cannabis for certain conditions back at the beginning of this year, and that caught the attention of investors from around the world. And while traditionally, many Asian countries have been extremely tough on cannabis in the past, that attitude seems to be changing.
It’s little wonder, especially as the global cannabis market is allegedly worth in the order of $13.8 billion, with projections of it reaching more than $66 billion within five years. That research, carried out by Grand View Research turned many heads, and some of those were in the direction of Asia.
All of this has left many people asking whether Thailand and other countries in the region might legalize cannabis along the lines of the Canadian and Uruguayan models. Others think Southeast Asian countries might follow countries like Australia and Israel who only have a legal cannabis provision for medical purposes and not for recreational.
For the time being, Thailand and South Korea are the only countries in the region to legalize cannabis for medical purposes. As Jim Plamondon, head of marketing at Thai Cannabis Corporation told reporters, according to a Reuters report, “The attitude is that it’s already a part of traditional medicine,” he said. “We should ensure that Thais can control their own industry.” Many people were shocked last year when South Korea legalized medical cannabis to treat conditions like epilepsy, chronic pain, and other conditions, as well as more minor conditions.
Another voice against the prohibition of cannabis and the war on drugs, in general, is Malaysia’s Health Minister Dzulkefly Ahmad. He spoke to reporters recently, saying “Drugs have destroyed many lives, but wrongheaded governmental policies have destroyed many more. I think it’s obvious that after 40 years of war on drugs, it has not worked. There should be the decriminalization of drugs.” Ahmad makes a good point, and that certainly rings true also for countries like the USA and the UK.
All of this leads to investments, and many keen players are looking at the Southeast Asian markets with interest. This is no surprise after Prohibition Partners commissioned a report which found that the legal, medical cannabis market in Asia could top $6 billion by 2024. Prohibition Partners said at the time of the publishing of the report, “In Western markets, recreational cannabis is expected to outperform medicinal cannabis in market forecasts, but in Asia, the opposite is likely to be true.”
The report also focused on Japan as a potentially massive option for medical cannabis. “Japan currently has the largest population of elderly people at 33.1%, and this is set to bring about an unprecedented rise in healthcare costs in the long term,” the report noted. “The region’s spending on healthcare is estimated to reach US$2.7 trillion by 2020.”
However, there’s another huge, untapped market which exists and that’s in China. As the report noted, “Chinese investors are warming up to the cannabis market.“ Furthermore, many inside the Chinese government have encouraged government-sponsored medical cannabis research programs. That’s no surprise as China is currently responsible for growing around 50% of the world’s industrial hemp.
Hanma Investment Group (HMI) is a company in China who have permission to extract CBD from hemp. The company’s president, Tan Xi, explained to reporters”(Chinese) people’s perception of cannabis is no longer as negative as before. We have been reiterating the uses cannabis can be utilized in the medical and health sector,” he said.
It’s not a foregone conclusion that Asian countries will move to legalize cannabis, although many are hopeful for that. Infrastructure costs, distribution, and other factors make this a tricky path for the continent. With that said, the prospect of economic growth and job opportunities, many hope the winds of change will continue to blow in the lands of the rising sun.
After a week of turmoil Canadian firm CannTrust Holdings has ceased cannabis sales as it launches a full internal investigation into its own ‘illegal grow rooms’.
The crisis started on Monday when Health Canada announced it had discovered the company was growing in unlicensed rooms at its Pelham facility in Ontario. Canadian newspaper The Globe and Mail reported the company used fake walls to ‘hide’ its cannabis from Health Canada.
It later emerged that CannTrust’s Danish partner Stenocare A/S said it had sold some of the illegal pot to its patients.
Unlicensed Exporters Face Jail
The Canadian Cannabis Act forbids the export of unlicensed cannabis and anyone found guilty could face jail, reported BNN Bloomberg. On Thursday CannTrust Holdings said in a statement that it has ceased sale and shipment of all cannabis products.
The company also said it planned to form an independent special committee to investigate the illegal grow rooms ‘in its entirety’.
Sherry Boodram, CEO of Toronto-based regulatory consulting firm CannDelta and a former Health Canada Inspector, told BNN Bloomberg the company had applied for licences to for the crop and the quality of the product was not an issue – just that it had been grown illegally.
Licence Suspension Threat
She said there had been previous examples on non-compliance by CannTrust and it could face a growing licence suspension. BNN Bloomberg’s David George-Cosh later reported that from April 2015 to March 2018, CannTrust was cited with 15 major, or critical observations made by Health Canada during site inspections at CannTrust locations.
It reported that some of the other infractions the company was found to be in violation of between 2015 and 2018 included security issues with storage vaults and mold in grow rooms.
Health Canada’s initial announcement said the Pelham facility had produced cannabis in five unlicensed rooms for a period of six months – from October 2018 to March 2019 – and as a result was found to be non-compliant under its regulations. It said it had seized more than five metric tons of CannTrust’s inventory.
CannTrust, which is listed on both the Toronto and New York Stock Exchanges, has seen its stock price plummet by almost 40% over the last week.
With CBD growing in popularity all across the world, the spread of misinformation has been rampant.
This week, we’ll take a look at some of the most commonly believed CBD myths and finally get down to the truth of the matter. Also, did you know THC can help the older generations with memory and ability to focus by regenerating brain cells? Plus, learn how CBD can help people struggling with opioid addiction. All that and more in this week’s Medical Cannabis Weekly Newsletter and Review.
CBD, short for Cannabidiol, is an active compound inside cannabis and hemp. Unlike THC, CBD offers many therapeutic benefits without the psychoactive effects. With all the talk surrounding this cannabinoid lately, it can be difficult to separate the real from the fake. Let’s take a look at some of the most common myths and dispel them once and for all.
It’s pretty common knowledge that regular cannabis use during teen years can cause a lack of focus and short-term memory loss. While the effects are typically not permanent, it’s still not ideal. However, when it comes to the older generations, the exact opposite is true. That’s right, cannabis can help older people improve their focus, memory, and cognition.
A new clinical trial revealed that CBD can help tremendously with anxiety and depression related to opioid addiction – which has reached epidemic levels in the United States. With an average of 130 overdose deaths every single day, President Trump declared it a national emergency and launched an initiative to battle the widespread crisis. Research indicates that cannabis an overall positive effect on opioid addiction.
Although it’s been years since Israel legalized medical cannabis for certain qualifying patients, the sad reality is that this haven of cannabis research has always been littered with red tape, inconsistent regulations, and frequent price increases. However, this is finally about to change fore the better. According to Deputy Health Minister Ya’acov Litzman, “We are attentive to criticism and to improving in order to ease the suffering of patients and will continue to promote further activities on the matter,” ‘
Following a public meeting on May 31st regarding CBD regulations, many were expecting guidance by now but they claim the FDA continues to drag their feet. Lawmakers are now turning up the heat in an attempt to get the FDA to draft some official regulations regarding the sale of CBD-infused food, supplements and cosmetics.
According to Mike Harlington from The Cannabis Trades Association, “The CMC issued a report a few days ago, and in true CMC form (and UPA and everything else connected with Liebling and Moore) it’s fatally flawed. Anyone who has ever been involved with these people know that they have always gotten entangled with CBD products and medicinal cannabis with an aim to control them.”