Pharmaceutical cannabis


Cannabis-based products or the ‘medical marijuana’ has orchestrated new avenues in the pharmaceuticals industry. Pharmaceutical companies, small and big, have plowed investments in cannabidiol (CBD), particularly. The inroad made by CBD and CBD-based products is unarguably daunting, riding on the wave of staggered legalization of marijuana. The game-changing potential of cannabis has made pharma companies nurse new aspirations by setting their sights on the cannabis pharmaceuticals market.

Unsurprisingly, some pharma companies, for instance, Insys Therapeutics, put robust opposition to the legalization of marijuana. The regulatory status on the CBD is markedly unclear and lacks worldwide consensus, for instance, laws and regulations differ from state to state in the U.S., and from nation to nation in Europe and the rest of the world. Nonetheless, over the years there is a clear surge in interest of pharma companies in medical marijuana, given the medical conditions where cannabis holds incredible potential.

FDA-approved CBD-based drugs are stridently seeing an increase, expanding the horizon in the CBD market.

The marijuana plant contains more than 100 different chemicals called cannabinoids. Each one has a different effect on the body. Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) are the main chemicals used in medicine. The psychoactive ingredient THC produces the “high” people feel when they smoke marijuana or eat foods containing it, hence its illegal status in the United Kingdom.

Cannabis was made illegal in the United Kingdom on 28 September 1928 as an addition to the Dangerous Drugs Act of 1920. However, doctors were able to prescribe cannabis for medical use in the UK until 1971 when the Misuse of Drugs Act came into force, creating the Class A, B, and C classification system and making even more drugs-controlled substances.

In November 2018 it was passed into law that cannabis could, once again, be medically prescribed in the UK by clinicians listed on the Specialist Register of the General Medical Council. Cannabidiol – also known as CBD – on the other hand, is a non-intoxicating extract of cannabis that is legal to sell and purchase within the UK.



  • High THC (5-35%)
  • 60-90 days growth cycle
  • Psychoactive (‘high’ sensation)
  • Carefully grown
  • Medical and recreational use
  • Illegal chemical


  • Low THC (<0.3%)
  • 108-120 days growth cycle
  • Non-psychoactive
  • Adaptable growing
  • Clothing, Creams, Oils
  • Legal chemical

Medical Cannabis, Am I Eligible? 

A quick look on the NHS website reveals that trying to get a prescription from the NHS for medical cannabis is almost impossible. Unless you are suffering from the following:

  • Rare and severe forms of epilepsy
  • Adults with vomiting or nausea caused by chemotherapy
  • People with muscle stiffness and spasms caused by multiple sclerosis (MS)

Currently, the only medical cannabis drug available in the UK is Epidyolex, a CBD based oral spray that was approved as a schedule 2 controlled drug in the United Kingdom from the 1st of October 2019.

What is next for The Medical Cannabis Sector? 

Medicinal cannabis and hemp healthcare company Bod Australia Limited has been given authorisation in the UK to trial a cannabis-based medicine with long-COVID patients.

Bod Australia’s MediCabilis 5% product is to be used in an open-label clinical trial in association with Drug Science UK to determine the effects of MediCabilis on symptoms associated with the long-term impact of SARS-CoV-2. Bod entered into an agreement with Drug Science UK in relation to the proposed trial in March 2021.

After receiving Clinical Trial Authorisation from the UK’s Medicines & Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency, Bod and Drug Science are now in the process of recruiting patients and seeking to enlist up to 30 long-COVID sufferers over the age of 18. Participants will be administered MediCabilis 5% on a daily basis over a six-month period, with patients undertaking monthly and daily self-reporting.

Countries that Legally Prescribe Medical Cannabis 

Argentina, Australia, Barbados, Bermuda, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Ecuador, Finland, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Lebanon, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malawi, Malta, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, North Macedonia, Norway, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, San Marino, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Switzerland, Thailand, Uruguay, Vanuatu, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

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