The two friends making a living out of selling cannabis – and it’s all perfectly legal
It is entirely legal to buy and take CBD supplements in the UK
Confessing to making a living out of selling cannabis would normally result in a prison sentence, but two friends have boldly opened a shop to try and make it become even more of a lucrative business.
Purposely set back from the high street, the ‘lab’ can be found tucked away down a one-way street in Torquay.
A steady stream of customers can be seen coming through its door six days a week because nothing like it has opened in the South West before.
The police are aware of its existence, but it is allowed to continue trading because what Toby Murphy and Kierran Fairey are doing is perfectly legal.
That’s because what they are selling is Cannabidiol
oil (CBD) which is now widely accepted as offering health benefits which can be life-changing.
Those benefits have been witnessed first-hand by the friends who believe they have opened the first shop in the south west dedicated solely to selling CBD oil.
The inspiration for Toby, who also owns five vapes shops in Devon, was his younger brother who has a rare terminal illness but has seen his quality of life improve since taking CBD because he now does not have as many seizures.
For Kierran it was being free of joint pain from sporting injuries and combating his anxiety since taking the oil.
Together they saw the dream of opening CBD Lab become reality when the shop opened for the first time in Torquay last month. Already they have been surprised by how many customers have come through the door and how diverse they have been.
“I use it on a daily basis because it’s good for optimal health known as homestasis. It’s like a perfect balance within the body and makes me feel more focused at work. I ride motocross so I suffer from joint pains from crashes over the years. It relives that pain. I had also struggled with sleeping before as I had a bit of anxiety. It has helped me overcome all those things.
“Since the BBC reported earlier this year the story of 12-year-old Billy Caldwell who has severe epilepsy and was eventually given back medicinal cannabis oil that was confiscated from his mother at customs, the public seem to have started changing the view of CBD.”
Although many are now familiar with CBD, much of Toby and Kierran’s time is still spent dispelling misconceptions about the health supplement.
As CBD comes from cannabis, there is a common assumption that CBD oil makes you ‘high’. However, it doesn’t because it’s extracted from non-marijuana strains of the cannabis plant known as hemp.
What also confuses people is whether it is legal or not. As CBD does not contain the psychoactive ingredient tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) which is what makes people ‘high’, it is entirely legal to buy and take CBD supplements in the UK.
Kierran said: “As it’s related to cannabis, people think you will get high or stoned if you take it when in fact that’s completely wrong. We have laboratory reports to prove it. The other most common misconception is it’s illegal. It’s completely legal. People also ask if you can overdose but you can’t.
“Cannabis has always had bad press, but hemp is very different. Not only is it used in CBD oil, the fibers and stalks are used in hemp clothing, construction materials, paper, biofuel and plastic bottles whichbiodegradable.
“What people don’t know is it used to be used in 80 per cent of pharmaceutical drugs until it was banned 100 years ago. What’s also good about it is it’s a natural product, whereas when taking pharmaceutical drugs you often have to take another tablet to combat the side effects.”
It is advised people should make sure they know where they are buying CBD oil from because only selected companies meet the high quality trading standards that are required to sell CBD in the UK.
Although extensive scientific research has proven CBD offers several potential health benefits, such as reducing anxiety, boost sleep and relieve joint pain, Kierran and Toby are not allowed to state it will ‘cure’ anyone of their ailments.
Keirran explained: “We encourage people to do their own research and are there to help people choose the right products to suit them. The way you take it is often personal preference but we can also recommend the best way for what they need CBD for.
“We have a lot of youngsters come in with anxiety, but we don’t sell it to people aged under 18. It is fine for them to take it but it’s one of our rules.
When we started looking into CBD oil we found out it was not regulated. It means anybody can sell it. You can buy it on the internet and you are not guaranteed what the label says is in the bottle, but here you know for sure what you’re getting.
“The regulations set out by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) make it very tricky to help and advise people. As long as we abide by their guidelines we can advise people the right way about CBD.”
The CBD Lab, located in Unit 5, Magdalene Road, is open Monday to Saturday, 10am to 5pm.
CBD: The facts
What is CBD oil?
Government advisers at the MHRA made it legal to buy cannabidiol (CBD) oil in 2016 after they admitted that it has a ‘restoring, correcting or modifying’ effect on humans.
Suppliers in England and Wales have to obtain a licence to sell it as a medicine, following the decision in October two years ago.
Manufacturers are able to avoid the strict regulation by selling it as a food supplement – ignoring the lengthy process of gaining a medicinal licence.
CBD products comes in many forms, the most popular being an oil – which users spray under their tongue – or gel tablets which melt slowly in the mouth.
Cannabis oil, which is different to CBD oil because it contains THC – the compound that gives users a ‘high’ – is illegal under UK laws.
Billy Caldwell, from Castlederg, Northern Ireland, made headlines last April when he became the first Briton to be prescribed it on the NHS.
Cannabis oil, which reportedly has no side effects, influences the release and uptake of ‘feel good’ chemicals such as dopamine and serotonin.
Is it legal?
Yes. Because CBD does not contain the psychoactive ingredient THC, it is entirely legal to buy and take CBD supplements in the UK.
And because CBD is a legal ingredient, it is not tested for in drug tests used to detect illegal drugs.
Suppliers have to obtain a licence to sell it as a medicine. But manufacturers are able to avoid regulation by selling it as a food supplement – ignoring the lengthy process of gaining a medicinal licence.
However, cannabis oil, which contains THC – the compound that gives users a ‘high’ – is illegal under UK laws.
Home Secretary Sajid Javid’s announcement in July that medicinal cannabis will be available on prescription from this autumn opened the door for oils to be given the green light if approved by the drug regulator.
Sativex, a mouth spray which contains THC and CBD, is already approved for use in the UK by the MHRA as a treatment for multiple sclerosis.
Is it addictive?
No, CBD is not addictive. An addiction to marijuana can develop as a severe form of ‘marijuana use disorder’, which affects an estimated 30 per cent of marijuana users.
This develops out of a person’s dependence on the psychoactive effects of THC – the ingredient in the marijuana plant which causes a high and results in withdrawal symptoms.
CBD comes from an entirely different plant – the hemp plant – that contains only trace amounts of THC which are not enough to cause a high.
Instead, CBD works by enhancing the effects of other brain chemicals such as serotonin and anandamide.
It does not activate the receptors that make marijuana psychoactive and addictive.
In fact, the effects of cannabidiol are opposite to those of THC and can actually block some of the psychoactive effects of THC, which is why CBD is added to medical forms of marijuana prescribed to treat certain disorders.
Is CBD oil safe?
CBD oil is recognised as safe and well-tolerated in healthy people, with few side effects.
A World Health Organization report has confirmed it does not have any potential for abuse or to cause harm, and it is therefore not classed as a controlled substance.
The Cannabis Trades Association UK recommends that CBD should not be sold to anyone under the age of 18.