On Oct. 11, the U.K. government conceded that cannabis has a medicinal effect on prescribed users.
The U.K. government’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency found that cannabidiol has a “restoring, correcting or modifying” effect on “physiological functions” when administered to humans, qualifying the plant to satisfy the legal definition of a "medicinal product," the Independent reports.
The MHRA’s findings followed a review of the use of CBD -- a cannabinoid accounting for 40 percent of the marijuana plant’s extract without the psychoactive properties of THC -- by CBD vaporizer company MediPen.
The company prompted Britain's National Health Service to review the drug in 2016 following a year of extremely positive results among its patients, relieving the pain of those with everything from depression and anxiety to arthritis and fibromyalgia.
“Since our inception we’ve worked hard to obtain our goal of breaking down the negative connotations surrounding cannabis to lead to a reform in the law for medicinal use,” MediPen Managing Director Jordan Owen told the Independent at the start of the review. “Now this is finally becoming a reality, which will provide ground-breaking results.”
The U.K. government has consistently blocked medical marijuana legislation, a noteworthy example being a 2015 petition to legalize the drug signed by 230,000 citizens and dismissed by the country's parliament. In its assessment, the legal body stated cannabis “can unquestionably cause harm to individuals and society,” contradicting the MHRA report.
Findings by the MHRA mirror similar beneficial properties of the cannabis plant discovered by the U.S. National Institute on Drug Abuse in 2015, which revealed drugs developed from the plant can “slow the growth of cancer cells from one of the most serious types of brain tumours” and increase “cancer-killing effects” when coupled with radiation, reports the Daily Mail.
The U.S. medical research organization has since called on researchers to study varieties of cannabis products not currently available to the scientific community, according to a notice published July 2016.
Nine measures to legalize marijuana will appear on the November 2016 ballot in the U.S., Forbes reports. The most highly anticipated bill is California’s Proposition 64.
The California initiative would allow adults over 21 to possess up to 1 ounce of recreational marijuana and grow up to six plants in a secure area, with a 10 percent tax on all adult-use products that would not impact medical marijuana sales.
Polls indicate roughly 60 percent of the California population is in favor, according to the Los Angeles Times, making its passage look likely.