It was recently brought to our attention, not once, not twice, but three times that soe people are under the impression that both cannabis oil and extract is a class A drug in the United Kingdom. This is categorically incorrect.
The extract of cannabis is something which has gained a lot of press recently due to cannabis oil being used by cancer sufferers and extracts and flowers being used by hundreds of thousands of medical cannabis patients worldwide. However, cannabis extract is nothing new (although widespread recreational and even medical use of it is).
When the Misuse of Drugs Act came into effect in 1971 to overwrite the Dangerous Drugs Act of the 60’s, cannabis and cannabis resin were listed as Class B.
Cannabinol, then taken under the old definition to mean a solution of cannabis (containing cannabinoids) rather than CBN (an actual cannabinoid found in cannabis) and it’s derivatives were listed as a class A drug. So, yes – at one point, you probably could have been prosecuted under these laws if caught with cannabinol or its derivatives (this could literally mean a full-spectrum CBD oil in today’s terms, so long as it is not defined from the separately listed hemp strains).
This all changed with the relaxation of cannabis laws in 2003 in the United Kingdom, after a report from the previous year when the Advisory Council for the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) recommended cannabis be lowered to class C. At this point, cannabinol (again, old definition) and its derivates were lowered to Class C in line with the other forms of cannabis including flower and resin (hash).
Then, back in 2007 there was a fear-mongering campaign led by our nation’s tabloids, which led to cannabis being put back up to class B under the Labour Government in 2008 in the United Kingdom. Cannabinol (including cannabis oil and extract) was also lifted in line with this and remains there today.
In 2018 the Home Secretary Sajid Javid announced a review on cannabis, which culminated in “Cannabis Based Medicinal Products For Use in Humans” being moved down to schedule 2 under the Misuse of Drugs Regulations 2001. This allows doctors to prescribe certain “approved” products while keeping the plant itself schedule 1.
“The Government has defined a cannabis-based product for medicinal use in humans as: “a preparation or other product, other than one to which paragraph 5 of part 1 of Schedule 4 applies, which— (a) Is or contains cannabis, cannabis resin, cannabinol or a cannabinol derivative (not being dronabinol or its stereoisomers)3 ; (b) Is produced for medicinal use in humans; and— (c) is— (i) a medicinal product, or (ii)a substance or preparation for use as an ingredient of, or in the production of an ingredient of, a medicinal product;” Under the proposed new regime, all cannabis-based products for medicinal use apart from Sativex® (listed in Schedule 4 of the MDR and which has a market authorisation) would be unlicensed medicines. “
Also in 2018 Jeff Ditchfield informed police of his intention to supply Cannabis Oil to a sick child and was arrested at the second Patient’s at Parliament Protest. The trial was later thrown out when the prosecution decided it was not in the public interest.
In the last year, at the time of writing (late Feb 2019), much has changed in public perception when it comes to cannabis oil. Highlighted in the stories of those like Billy Caldwell and Alfie Dingley.
The urgent need for access to cannabis medicine is something understood by a lot more people after the press widely reported stories in 2018 concerning patients who were being denied medicine they needed for survival because of our backwards cannabis laws. These days more than half of Brits think cannabis should be legalised, with a higher percentage believing it should be legalised for medical reasons, even if not made recreationally legal.
So to this date, cannabis oil and extract remains a schedule 1 class B drug in the United Kingdom.
What does this mean? This image taken from the .GOV website shows the maximum penalties for drugs in the United Kingdom:
This means the penalties for production, supply and possession remain in line with the rest of cannabis production, supply and possession, a law which is very difficult to enforce, particularly as police numbers and budgets have been repeatedly cut and they are reporting that they lack the resources to priorities less severe crimes.
We made a video talking about cannabis extract and its classification under UK Law. You can watch it via our YouTube channel or below: