- Medical Cannabis
Cannabis, as we know it has been in use all over the world for over 4000 years and the UK, is no stranger to its use and the controversy that follows this drug. From being administered as a pain medication to being used as a form of treatment for seizures, the history between the UK and cannabis can be dated as far back as the 1800s.
19th century – Britain is leading the global cannabis research.
Most information available in Britain before the nineteenth century was taken from observations made in India. By the 1840s British scientists were leading modern medicine’s experiments with cannabis medicines and were recommending their use for the treatment of a range of ailments including hydrophobia, tetanus, cholera and delirium treatments. In 1843 was when it was first reported in a medical article from the Provincial Medical and Surgical Journal regarding its effect on several conditions. In that same year, despite the report of it being a wonder drug, another report was given stating that a medical student had experienced hallucinations after using cannabis oil.
20th century – researchers cannot agree and the opinions are divided.
These conflicting studies did not stop the push and use of cannabis in the UK until 1928 when it was prohibited. This prohibition was said to be due to its effect on the social behavior of people. Even though in the year 1894 an Indian study has shown no links between mental health or the social behavior of people and the use of cannabis, this did not stop the UK government from pushing through with the ban. Still, in the year 1928, the League of Nations placed an international ban on cannabis. This was mainly due to the cry of the UK government with its claims of moral misconduct being caused by the drug.
In the 60s, a wave of cannabis-related arrests swept through the UK and most of the perpetrators where white youths of the middle class. At this time, cannabis was viewed as a symbol of rebellion against British society. It was said that people who wanted to upset the stiff norms of the British society took to smoking cannabis and this greatly upset the government.
However, in the year 1971, cannabis was changed in the Misuse of Drugs Act to a Class B drug. This controversy between the UK and cannabis continued and in the year 2004, it was made a Class C drug and was being encouraged for research purposes in the treatment of multiple sclerosis.
21st century – Epilepsy shifts mindsets
Surprisingly, in the year 2009, it was moved back to being a Class B drug under the claims of mental health reasons. This move was said to be a message to the general public, letting them know that the UK would not be seen as soft and this decision was made regardless of the effect that it would have on crime, medical research and even the mental health of people.
Despite the medical breakthroughs taking place all over the world with the help of cannabis, it has remained under prohibition by the UK government and this has caused an outrage over the status from a medical standpoint.
This changed however in the year 2018 because of 2 epileptic children who were not allowed access to cannabis to help ease their symptoms. When the families of Alfie Dingley and Billy Caldwell caused a PR storm for the UK government at the refusal of the children being allowed a license to the purchase and use of cannabis for their symptoms, the UK government reclassified cannabis in November 2018 as a schedule 2 drug. This reclassification now allows it to be prescribed by doctors to help with the treatment of several conditions.
Making medicinal cannabis available on prescription will benefit the lives of ill patients currently suffering in silence. There is nothing harder than seeing your loved ones in pain – which is why I have taken this decision https://t.co/ZFmGgWdJgE
— Sajid Javid (@sajidjavid) July 26, 2018
Since then till now, more people have begun to explore the use of cannabis legally in the treatment of medical conditions even though this is mostly seen in the private sector.
While in the UK today the war against the use of recreational cannabis is still on, its license for medicinal use is a great win for medicine.