This update follows several recent questions from people contacting us via our MEA Facebook page.
We know that a small but significant minority of people with ME/CFS use cannabidiol (CBD) or cannabis to help with their ME/CFS symptoms – pain relief in particular.
Towards the end of 2016, The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency declared that:
“Products containing cannabidiol (CBD) used for medical purposes are a medicine. Medicinal products must have a product licence (marketing authorisation) before they can be legally sold, supplied or advertised in the UK, unless exempt. Licensed medicinal products have to meet safety, quality and efficacy standards to protect public health.”
“The MHRA will now work with individual companies and trade bodies in relation to making sure products containing CBD, used for a medical purpose, which can be classified as medicines, satisfy the legal requirements of the Human Medicines Regulations 2012.”
Given the quantity of CBD products available – particularly on the internet – we are concerned that people will not always be able to tell if a product has the relevant licence and would urge caution when making any purchase.
It is always worth discussing pain relief and other problems with your GP in the first instance who should also be able to advise on CBD use and potential side-effects (note the link takes you to a US site).
The use of self-purchased cannabis for medicinal purposes in the UK is still illegal and the potency and content of ‘street life' cannabis varies considerably.
We last commented on cannabis on the MEA website last year:
The ME Association has today welcomed the publication of a new report that supports the wider use of cannabis for medicinal reasons.
Our medical adviser, Dr Charles Shepherd, said that further research needs to be carried out into the use of cannabis for pain relief but this was being held back by the current government classification of cannabis as being of no medical benefit.
The report – from the All Party Parliamentary Group on Drug Policy Reform at Westminster – was highlighted in various news items this morning, including this one on BBC News.