Does UK Legislation Around Cannabis Require A Revisit with Its Rising Medical Use?

Due to its growing use in medicinal purposes, Cannabis has gained huge popularity among all major markets. Experts believe that a lot of investment is expected in the coming years with reference to the development of medicinal Cannabis.

According to the data released by Market Data Forecast, the global market for medical Cannabis is expected to grow from US$ 13.4 billion in 2020 to US$ 44.4 billion by 2025, recording a CAGR of 22.9 per cent.

The growth rate of the market is being boosted by the rise in use of Cannabis in the medical sector. The demand of the market is solely leveraged by the soaring investments in the expansion of medical infrastructure and encouraging healthcare services. The growth is backed by the rise in the research and development activities and also growing support from the government organisations in some countries.

Global Market For Cannabis

North America ranks at the top with a maximum market share of medical marijuana, generating a revenue of US$ 5,994.9 million in 2018. It is estimated to climb to US$ 24,578.3 million by the end of 2026. Presence of major sellers and the number of legalisations of marijuana for the medical purpose has mainly contributed towards the growth.

Europe is in the second position with respect to the cultivation of Cannabis and the rise in investments for R&D activities by many entities. The new few years can be crucial as it may see significant investment.

Further, in the years to come, it is forecasted that the markets in Latin America and other countries around the globe would witness profitable business opportunities in Medical Cannabis space. This is mainly driven by the rise in the number of diseases and the increasing clarity about the medicinal properties of Cannabis.

Medical Benefits

The use of Cannabis has proven to be beneficial in relieving several kinds of acute pain, enhancing the immune response, lowering blood pressure, reducing inflammation, and stabilising blood sugar. It can also be used for slowing Alzheimer’s disease, mitigating the side effects of other medical treatments, and moderating the effects of Crohn’s and Parkinson’s disease.

Cannabis is also widely used to cure mental health issues. Cannabis oil works as a mood stabiliser, addresses depression and anxiety. It has also been brought to use in managing conditions such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and schizophrenia.

Side Effects of Cannabis

Like a coin has two faces, Cannabis also has some drawbacks besides having medicinal benefits. It can cause dizziness, hallucinations, low blood pressure, if the medicines are taken beyond the required dose. In the long run, this point may be debated by the experts, activists and stand as a prime opposition.

The use of marijuana has also been linked with the increasing risk of evolving into a mental health disorder in a person. Studies claim that schizophrenia patients who use marijuana as medicines can face psychotic episodes. Psychotic episodes can result in homelessness, involuntary hospitalization, or suicides.

UK Market

Market growth of medical marijuana has been mainly driven by the rise in demand for legalisation of medical Cannabis in many countries. Recently, it was revealed that National Health Services has plans to undertake a clinical trial of Cannabis oil. Given the innumerable benefits of this multifaceted treatment, this news has been welcomed by researchers and experts. Though research is still on, the preliminary evidence of the study recommends that non-psychoactive cannabinoids such as CBD (cannabidiol) and THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) are effective in treating emotional, mental and physical health conditions.

Legislation in the UK

Though the global market for Cannabis is growing, the existing UK legislation has yet to catch up with other nations such as Canada, Lesotho, South Africa, the Netherlands, and many US states.

Cannabis was included in the Dangerous Drugs Act of 1920, and later in 1928; it was declared illegal in the UK. As per NHS research, only about 10 per cent of users develop an addiction in comparison with the 32 per cent of smokers and 15 per cent of alcohol users.

The main concern behind the legalisation is Cannabis could act as an entry gate for more addictive materials. Cannabis, especially those that are high in THC, can have an adverse effect on the mood of the user, encouraging paranoia and anxiety. These concerns could be addressed as legalisation allows regulation of quality and access.

After a long discussion, Cannabis used for medical purposes got acceptance in November 2018. However, it requires a prescription from the doctors. The ongoing two-year NHS study will observe 20,000 patients, who are being given medical Cannabis. If the study proves successful, the results could be used to convince the lawmakers and activists to reconsider widespread legalisation and use by doctors.

The growing and importing of Cannabis would need a licence. In the past, very few licences have been granted by the government. The next five to ten years could witness legalisation in many countries, and that would also make way taxation and other regulations.