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Cannabis as Medicine? Overview

It is utterly mind-blowing that people have no idea that Cannabis has been part of the medical prescription landscape for over 20 years. That’s right T. G. A (Therapeutic Goods Administration) trialled and approved cannabis based medicines have been available as an option to alleviate, if only in small ways, some of the symptoms of a couple of diseases or help with recovery from treatment. However, the claims of this plant being a ‘miracle cure’ for just about everything, have existed for of 100 years… yet in no credible and advanced research has any of the properties of the Cannabis plant ‘cured’ anything, ever!

There is no argument that some components of this incredibly complex plant can have some therapeutic benefit, be it ever so small, but deriving such from the plant with out co-opting some of the more detrimental components has proven incredibly difficult. On top of that, the evidence emerging from latest science, sees that some of these therapies, do more harm than good, with the temporary alleviating of a symptom on one hand, and incurring along term genetic harm on the other!

Again if facts and evidence matter to your best-practice health care, then this is the space for you. Make informed decisions based on science, and not quackery!

 Published Online:19 Apr 2022


Introduction: Over-the-counter cannabidiol (CBD) products have seen unprecedented recent growth in the United Kingdom. However, analysis of these predominantly unregulated products from other countries tells us that they are often mislabeled or contain unlabeled and potentially dangerous chemicals. Thus, the aim of the present study was to analyze CBD oils available in the United Kingdom.

Materials and Methods: Phytocannabinoids, residual solvent, and heavy metals were measured blinded in 29 widely available CBD products by an independent testing facility using high-performance liquid chromatography with diode-array detection for cannabinoids, Headspace-gas chromatography-flame ionization detector and gas chromatography–mass spectrometry for residual solvents, and inductively coupled plasma–mass spectrometry for heavy metals.

Results: The mean advertised CBD content was 4.5%, and the actual mean measured CBD content of products was 3.2% (p=0.053, Mann–Whitney test). Only 11/29 (38%) products were within 10% of the advertised CBD content. Fifty five percent of products had measurable levels of the controlled substances Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (mean content 0.04%) or cannabinol (mean content 0.01%), as well as most other phytocannabinoid compounds including cannabidiolic acid (CBDA), cannabidivarin (CBDV), and cannabidivarin acid (CBDVA). Detectable levels of N-pentane, ethanol, isopropanol, heptane, lead, and arsenic were found in many of the CBD products, but these were within acceptable levels.

Conclusions: As demonstrated in other countries, the quality of over-the-counter CBD products in the United Kingdom can be substandard, particularly with regard to CBD content, and often contains levels of controlled substances. We recommend that these products be more strictly regulated for consumer welfare.

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