We use cookies to make your experience of our website better. Some of these are set by third party Google Analytics to help us analyse website traffic. To comply with privacy regulations, we require your consent to set these cookies. If you continue to use the site without selecting an option we will assume you are happy for us to use cookies.

Scotland could be set to cash in on growth of CBD products

Scotland could be set to cash in on growth of CBD products

A year ago, I found myself in ‘Cosmic Coffee’, a hole in the wall coffee shop in Burlington Vermont, U.S.A.  Amongst the myriad of choices, I was surprised to find a “cannabis coffee” with the opportunity to add a shot of "CBD oil” to my long black.  A prominent board above the baristas made many claims of the benefits of said CBD ranging from anti-inflammatory to calming.  I was confused.  Cannabis in my coffee, was that even legal?  Maybe in Vermont but what about Scotland?  Although tempted I ordered a regular Americano, but the criminal lawyer in me was intrigued. I took a photo of the board and resolved to find out more.

I did not have to look very far. A quick search of the internet advised that CBD would not get me high but claimed to have the potential to do so much more. CBD – or cannabidiol to give it its full name - is a natural constituent of cannabis (that comprises around 200 different compounds). CBD is non-psychoactive as compared to tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), one of the other larger compounds also found in cannabis plants. So, CBD will not get you high, as it does not disrupt the central nervous system. However, according to a report issued in 2017 by the World Health Organisation, CBD may help successfully treat symptoms relations to Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, MS, and pain, anxiety, depression, cancer and diabetic implications. Bold claims.

It is no surprise then that interest in CBD containing products, fuelled by the claims of its benefits, like the puns in the headlines accompanying the stories, is high. Opportunities abound for producers, developers, suppliers and customers. Suddenly it is everywhere with options for using CBD including oils, topical creams, capsules, edibles and vapes. Drinks giant Coca Cola announced is was in talks for a cannabis infused drink. A Kardashian held a CBD themed baby shower and lifestyle guru Martha Stewart has joined the board of Canopy Growth (one of the largest marijuana producers in America) as she looks to develop her own line of CBD products.

It is not just overseas. There are currently cannabis-based products available to buy on the UK market, many of which claim to be CBD based. On 1 November 2018, the UK government legalised medicinal cannabis; last month Europe’s largest cannabis producer struck a £5M deal with a Scottish company to distribute its products across the UK; and as recently as this weekend the press reported that talks were underway for the building of the first legal cannabis farm in Scotland.

So what is the legal position? If medicinal cannabis is legal, why do we still see headlines of those who are ill having their cannabis oil seized? Why are farmers across Scotland not casting aside cattle in favour of hemp plants?

Cannabis and cannabis resin are controlled drugs under the Misuse of Drugs Regulations 2001.  Designated as “Class B” drugs under Schedule 1 of the Regulations they are subject to the greatest restrictions around the extent to which it is lawful to import, export, produce, possess, supply and administer. The cultivation, production, supply and possession of Schedule 1 drugs requires a Home Office licence. It may therefore come as a surprise to hear that the UK already has a seat at the table as a global player in the emerging legal cannabis market. It is one of the largest legal cannabis producers in the world, in 2016 growing half of the world’s legal cannabis, under licence at a farm in East Anglia owned by British Sugar.

It was always possible to license fully tested medicinal cannabis products for sale in the UK. Sativex, a cannabis based spray has been able to be legally prescribed since 2006. However, the relaxation of the rules in 2018 allows a legal route for prescriptions of cannabis based products for medicinal use without the requirement for a Home Office licence. That change only came about after a very high profile campaign by parents of two epilepsy suffers struggling to gain access to the relevant drugs.  

To be legal, doctors on the General Medical Council special register must prescribe them under strictly controlled circumstances.  It is therefore still unlawful to import cannabis-based products for medicinal use to the UK without such a prescription, and recent reports suggest that less than 100 people in the UK have had such prescriptions. The Home Office is, however, open to further applications and companies are operating under licence focussed on researching, developing and licensing cannabinoid-based compounds and therapies.

Products containing CBD are legal as they only contain trace amounts of the psychoactive THC.  However, there are complex regulatory regimes that apply depending on whether the product is a controlled substance, a medicine, a novel food or food/ food supplement. Any product, which contains CBD and claims medicinal benefits, is a medicine and must be licensed with the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA). The complexity of regulation is doing little to halt the influx of products hitting the shelves and predictions are that the desire for cannaboids culinary or otherwise will only increase.

The growing global shift in attitudes and moves towards legalisation of medicinal cannabis is opening doors for investment from fund managers and institutional investors alike. Although reputational issues and legalities require consideration, the prospect of high returns may be the draw. Figures quoted from consultants Prohibition Partners suggest the European cannabis market could be worth in excess of £100bn by 2028 and licensing and selling cannabis could net the UK government up to £3.5bn. 

Such figures are hard to ignore and growth to date is happening faster than anticipated. It remains to be seen how far that can go, but Scotland is well-placed to take advantage of the opportunities presented by this emerging market from providing an opportunity to grow and supply legal cannabis under licence to develop and supply products.

Lynne Gray 
Director 

Click here to set up your preferences so we can send you the insight you need to stay precisely informed

A year ago, I found myself in ‘Cosmic Coffee’, a hole in the wall coffee shop in Burlington Vermont, U.S.A.  Amongst the myriad of choices, I was surprised to find a “cannabis coffee” with the opportunity to add a shot of” CBD oil” to my long black.  A prominent board above the baristas made many claims of the benefits of said CBD ranging from anti-inflammatory to calming.  I was confused.  Cannabis in my coffee, was that even legal?  Maybe in Vermont but what about Scotland?  Although tempted I ordered a regular Americano, but the criminal lawyer in me was intrigued. I took a photo of the board and resolved to find out more.
I did not have to look very far. A quick search of the internet advised that CBD would not get me high but claimed to have the potential to do so much more. CBD – or cannabidiol to give it its full name - is a natural constituent of cannabis (that comprises around 200 different compounds). CBD is non-psychoactive as compared to tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), one of the other larger compounds also found in cannabis plants. So, CBD will not get you high, as it does not disrupt the central nervous system. However, according to a report issued in 2017 by the World Health Organisation, CBD may help successfully treat symptoms relations to Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, MS, and pain, anxiety, depression, cancer and diabetic implications. Bold claims.
It is no surprise then that interest in CBD containing products, fuelled by the claims of its benefits, like the puns in the headlines accompanying the stories, is high. Opportunities abound for producers, developers, suppliers and customers. Suddenly it is everywhere with options for using CBD including oils, topical creams, capsules, edibles and vapes. Drinks giant Coca Cola announced is was in talks for a cannabis infused drink. A Kardashian held a CBD themed baby shower and lifestyle guru Martha Stewart has joined the board of Canopy Growth (one of the largest marijuana producers in America) as she looks to develop her own line of CBD products.
It is not just overseas. There are currently cannabis-based products available to buy on the UK market, many of which claim to be CBD based. On 1 November 2018, the UK government legalised medicinal cannabis; last month Europe’s largest cannabis producer struck a £5M deal with a Scottish company to distribute its products across the UK; and as recently as this weekend the press reported that talks were underway for the building of the first legal cannabis farm in Scotland.
So what is the legal position? If medicinal cannabis is legal, why do we still see headlines of those who are ill having their cannabis oil seized? Why are farmers across Scotland not casting aside cattle in favour of hemp plants?
Cannabis and cannabis resin are controlled drugs under the Misuse of Drugs Regulations 2001.  Designated as “Class B” drugs under Schedule 1 of the Regulations they are subject to the greatest restrictions around the extent to which it is lawful to import, export, produce, possess, supply and administer. The cultivation, production, supply and possession of Schedule 1 drugs requires a Home Office licence. It may therefore come as a surprise to hear that the UK already has a seat at the table as a global player in the emerging legal cannabis market. It is one of the largest legal cannabis producers in the world, in 2016 growing half of the world’s legal cannabis, under licence at a farm in East Anglia owned by British Sugar.
It was always possible to license fully tested medicinal cannabis products sale in the UK. Sativex, a cannabis based spray has been able to be legally prescribed since 2006. However, the relaxation of the rules in 2018 allows a legal route for prescriptions of cannabis based products for medicinal use without the requirement for a Home Office licence. That change only came about after a very high profile campaign by parents of two epilepsy suffers struggling to gain access to the relevant drugs.  
To be legal, doctors on the General Medical Council special register must prescribe them under strictly controlled circumstances.  It is therefore still unlawful to import cannabis-based products for medicinal use to the UK without such a prescription, and recent reports suggest that less than 100 people in the UK have had such prescriptions. The Home Office is, however, open to further applications and companies are operating under licence focussed on researching, developing and licensing cannabinoid-based compounds and therapies.
Products containing CBD are legal as they only contain trace amounts of the psychoactive THC.  However, there are complex regulatory regimes that apply depending on whether the product is a controlled substance, a medicine, a novel food or food/ food supplement. Any product, which contains CBD and claims medicinal benefits, is a medicine and must be licensed with the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA). The complexity of regulation is doing little to halt the influx of products hitting the shelves and predictions are that the desire for cannaboids culinary or otherwise will only increase.
The growing global shift in attitudes and moves towards legalisation of medicinal cannabis is opening doors for investment from fund managers and institutional investors alike. Although reputational issues and legalities require consideration, the prospect of high returns may be the draw. Figures quoted from consultants Prohibition Partners suggest the European cannabis market could be worth in excess of £100bn by 2028 and licensing and selling cannabis could net the UK government up to £3.5bn. 
Such figures are hard to ignore and growth to date is happening faster than anticipated. It remains to be seen how far that can go, but Scotland is well-placed to take advantage of the opportunities presented by this emerging market from providing an opportunity to grow and supply legal cannabis under licence to develop and supply products.
LChalmers