Cannabis and Hemp have been under prohibition across most of the world since the 1930s. But with legalization afoot in the US and some countries in Europe, some experts want it to be “embraced like Penicillin.”
As cannabis legalization sweeps across North America – with Canada being the latest country to permit cannabis for medical and recreational use – some countries in Europe apparently didn’t get the memo. The UK government, for example, has always been very conservative when it comes to the cannabis legalization issue, no matter who’s in power.
Other countries in Europe like Holland and Portugal are far more liberal when it comes to these matters, and that’s why the former UK’s chief drug advisor to the government – Professor David Nutt – wants the UK to follow suit. Nutt, a Neuropsychopharmacologist and highly intelligent and successful man, found himself in hot water some years ago after he openly criticized the government’s drug policies, urging them to “embrace cannabis like penicillin.” The Home Secretary at the time, Alan Johnson, fired him in 2009 for his stance on prohibited drugs.
According to Nutt, doctors at the time embraced Penicillin even before proper clinical trials were carried out on the controversial new drug. They did so as there was an urgent clinical need for it at the time, just like there is for cannabis in this day and age, according to Nutt.
According to a BMJ report, Nutt said the medical community is still overly suspicious about cannabis but that it mainly comes from ignorance. The first port of call for Professor Nutt is that the UK needs to open up research into medical cannabis, and specifically into CBD – the compound in cannabis that can be used to treat children with epilepsy. He also feels that doctors should embrace medical cannabis treatments, much like thousands of health professionals in the US have done.
In Nutt’s words: “About 70 years ago another natural medicine came into the medical arena,” he said about penicillin. “This was welcomed enthusiastically by UK doctors even though there had been no placebo-controlled trials of its efficacy because it was seen to fulfill a major clinical need,” he added.
What Nutt is saying seems logical and straightforward, as it’s known that cannabis and CBD can help with a range of issues in a safe and non-harmful way. Many people use CBD for anxiety, to manage pain, to encourage relaxation and to help with a good night’s sleep. However, many decades of prohibition have most certainly taken their toll, and the dogma surrounding cannabis is still very predominant in countries like the UK.
For the time being, there is little medical cannabis provision in the UK on a healthcare level. For now, anyone needing cannabis needs to buy it from the black market, and that means that the government there is foolishly missing out on what could be millions or even tens of millions of tax dollars. Even though new regulations were introduced in November 2018 enabling specialists to prescribe cannabis-based products for medical use, many have said this is not enough.
States in the US who legalized cannabis and put a tax on it have seen some significant revenue from it, and some boroughs even have a surplus of cash to spend. For whatever reasons though, the UK seems to be stuck in a quagmire of anti-cannabis sentiment, and that’s affecting many people in some very real ways.
Whether legal, decriminalized or none of the above, cannabis is used by hundreds of thousands of people across the world who prefer to take a non-toxic, non-addictive and highly safe natural herb that’s usually grown organically. It remains to be seen what way the cannabis policy will go in the UK, but if any expert who advises the government to legalize gets fired on the spot, it doesn’t bode well for the future of patients who wants access to this wonderful herb.