Cannabis has been used as an illegal drug for many years and is classified as a Controlled Drug (Class B). Cannabis plants contain >100 cannabinoids, which have different effects on the body. The most well-known are delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). CBD is not controlled under the Misuse of Drugs Act.
An industrial strain of Cannabis sativa, which has a low delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) content (below 0.2%), is commonly known as hemp. It has many industrial uses but has been consumed as hemp tea or hemp oil as foods for many years as a source of omega fatty acids. No health claims can be made for these food sources.
In June 2010, Sativex Oromucosal Spray was authorized to GW Pharmaceuticals as a UK medicine. The product is derived from Cannabis sativa, each dose contains 2.7 mg THC and 2.5 mg CBD. Sativex is used as a treatment for symptom improvement in adult patients with moderate to severe spasticity due to multiple sclerosis (MS).
On 25 June 2018 the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved EPIDIOLEX® (cannabidiol) oral solution for the treatment of seizures associated with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome (LGS) or Dravet syndrome in patients two years of age or older. EPIDIOLEX is the first prescription pharmaceutical formulation of highly-purified, plant-derived cannabidiol (CBD). This medicine is currently under review by the European Medicines Agency (EMA): a decision on whether to recommend approval is expected in the first quarter of 2019.
These medicinal treatment claims are heavily regulated. These claims relate to the product and the evidence generated in clinical studies to support them.