The UK is the world’s biggest producer of medical cannabis, new research reveals.
Britain produced 95 tonnes of legal marijuana in 2016, making up 44.9 per cent of the world’s total, according to figures from the UN’s International Narcotics Control Board.
This is more than double the UK’s 42-tonne cannabis production in 2015, the data adds.
Of the marijuana produced, 2.1 tonnes were exported from the UK in 2016, making up 67.7 per cent of the global total, the figures show.
Despite this, medical cannabis licensed in other countries remains illegal in the UK even if deemed appropriate by a doctor.
Pro-legislation campaigners have described patients’ denied access to medical marijuana as ‘unethical’ and ‘a violation of the fundamental right to health’.
Counterarguments state cannabis has no therapeutic value.
The issue of medical marijuana has recently been brought to light again after a six-year-old boy, whose parents want him to be given the drug to treat a rare form of epilepsy, was rushed to hospital for emergency treatment earlier this month.
The UK is the world’s biggest producer of medical cannabis, new research reveals (stock)
CAN CANNABIS MAKE YOU FEEL ALIENATED?
Cannabis users are more likely to experience negative emotions, particularly feeling alienated from others, research suggested in January 2018.
People who use marijuana are significantly more likely to feel that others wish them harm or are deceiving them, a study found.
Brain scans also reveal the class-B drug increases signal connectivity in regions of the brain that have previously been linked to psychosis, the research adds, which is associated with severe depression.
Teenage cannabis users are particularly affected as their brains are still developing, according to the researchers from the National Institute on Alcoholism and Alcohol Abuse in Bethesda.
The scientists analyzed 60 people, half of which were cannabis dependent.
The study’s participants completed a questionnaire that asked them about their feelings of stress, aggression, reactivity and alienation.
Brain scans were also taken of all of the participants.
In the US, 44 percent of those aged 12 or over have used cannabis at some point in their lives.
Around 2.1 million adults in the UK use marijuana every year.
‘Government’s cruel and misguided war on people who use drugs’
Steve Rolles, a senior policy analyst at drug-relation think tank Transform, said: ‘It is scandalous and untenable for the UK government to maintain that cannabis has no medical uses, at the same time as licensing the world’s biggest government-approved medical-cannabis production and export market.
‘It is profoundly unethical, and a violation of the fundamental right to health, to deny people access to medicines that are prescribed by their doctors.
‘[The Government] must allow access to cannabis-based medicines that serve patients needs – what they don’t need is the government’s cruel and misguided war on people who use drugs.’
A significant proportion of the UK’s cannabis production goes towards the medicine Sativex, which relieves MS-related spasticity.
Within the UK, this is only available on prescription in Wales.
Six-year-old’s mother pleads for medical-cannabis use
Epilepsy patient Alfie Dingle, six, has been hospitalised for the second time since returning from the Netherlands last month, where he was being treated with cannabis oil.
His condition causes him to suffer up to 30 seizures a day, prompting his parents to plead with the UK Government to allow him to use cannabis-based medication to help manage his symptoms.
Following his hospitalisation, Alfie’s mother Hannah Deacon appealed directly to the Home Office and Prime Minister Theresa May to ‘act to help my beloved son survive and have the best life he can’.
Ms Deacon, 38, from Kenilworth in Warwickshire, added medical-cannabis products are the ‘only ones which have worked’ to reduce Alfie’s seizures in number, duration and severity.
Alfie’s seizures, which occur up to 30 times a day, can be gradually controlled in UK hospitals, however, it is likely he will eventually be institutionalised with psychosis and die prematurely.
The Home Office has previously said it would consider a medical-cannabis trial as an option for Alfie.
Britain produced 95 tonnes of legal cannabis in 2016, making up 44.9% of the world’s total
Key ingredient in cannabis curbs epilepsy seizures by more than 50%
This comes after research released yesterday suggested a key ingredient in marijuana curbs epilepsy seizures by more than 50 per cent.
Taking the marijuana-derived supplement cannabidiol (CBD), alongside commonly-prescribed medications, can more than halve the frequency of epilepsy patients’ seizures, a study review found.
The dual treatment also causes nearly one in 10 patients to be seizure-free, while up to half report an improved quality of life after incorporating the supplement into their drug regimen, the research adds.
This comes after research released last month by Vanderbilt University supported similar outcomes.
CBD is a nutritional supplement that is thought to possess a range of medicinal benefits and has been reported to help people suffering from migraines, psoriasis, acne and depression.
It does not contain any THC, which is the psychoactive component of cannabis that makes users ‘high’.