Blues announce a partnership with Birmingham-based carbonated canned drink Green Monkey CBD.

In a world-first agreement, Birmingham City football club have become the first sports club in UK to start an official partnership with cannabis derived products.

The 12-month sponsorship deal between the championship club and carbonated CBD drink company, Green Monkey CBD, means that a range of products will be now be available at outlets throughout St Andrew’s stadium.

The signed deal will involve the club working on engagement events to promote the company’s products and advocate Green Monkey’s message of health and wellbeing.

Ian Dutton, Birmingham’s chief commercial officer, said: “We are delighted to be one of the first clubs to partner with a CBD drinks brand.

“As a club we are always looking to be innovative and create industry firsts with our partnerships programme.

“It was clear from the beginning that a partnership with Green Monkey CBD was going to give us the opportunity to deliver a new and unique offering for our fans on match days, so we look forward to having their very distinctive green cans available across our kiosk and hospitality areas.”

Green Monkey have sold over a million of their 250ml carbonated canned drink since its launch in November last year, which contains 10mg of broad-spectrum CBD.

This has contributed to the rapid growth of the CBD industry in the UK, which is set to reach £1billion this year.

Serge Davies, CEO of Green Monkey CBD told Hemp & CBD Media: “The deal between Birmingham City and Green Monkey is something we have been keen on for a while as it helps put CBD and Green Monkey Drinks on an International stage.

“It will hopefully open up the conversation surrounding CBD and we can begin to help educate people around the subject.

“Birmingham City have been brilliant opening up their routes to market and we have already seen great feedback come in from all of those who have tried it at the ground with many people then ordering more for when they are not at the game.

“As a health and wellbeing focussed brand, we think the sports market is opening up for CBD and as we always strive to be innovators in the market, we were delighted to be the first to do something of this nature.”

#greenmonkey #greenmonkeycbd #cbdgreenmonkey


Football fans are changing and progressive clubs such as Birmingham City are realising that their fans are searching for different products when at the game.

cbd green monkey will supply a range of CBD products and drinks to the Club which will be available on matchdays throughout the stadium.

Green Monkey CBD drinks will be available at outlets throughout the Blues ground as well as in the corporate areas and cocktails such as a “Monkey Mojito” and “Gin and Green”, will be available in the hospitality sectors.

Blues become first club in world to be sponsored by cannabis oil

In a world-first sports partnership agreement, Green Monkey CBD will supply a range of CBD products and drinks to the Club which will be available on matchdays throughout the St. Andrew’s Trillion Trophy Stadium.


Green Monkey CBD’s most prominent product is a 250ml carbonated canned drink which contains 10mg of broad-spectrum CBD, launched 10 months ago.

It has already reached one million cans sold, such is the demand in the market.

CBD has become far more prevalent in sports throughout the world as sportsmen and women around the globe have begun to use products that have been said to help with a variety of conditions, although the makers of Green Monkey CBD do not make such claims.

Superstars such as golfer Rickie Fowler, UFC’s Nate Diaz and Saracen’s rugby players George Kruis and Dom Day have all come out in support of the use of CBD in sports and both WADA and UKAD have no issue with CBD’s use as it is not on their banned list of substances.


Ian Dutton, Chief Commercial Officer at Blues, said: “We are delighted to be one of the first clubs to partner with a CBD Drinks brand. As a Club we are always looking to be innovative and create industry firsts with our partnerships programme.

Two bcfc legends @Devo72D John Gayle

“It was clear from the beginning that a partnership with Green Monkey CBD was going to give us the opportunity to deliver a new and unique offering for our fans on matchdays, so we look forward to having their very distinctive green cans available across our kiosk and hospitality areas.”

Serge Davies, CEO of Green Monkey CBD, explained the benefits of the tie-in with such a well-known football team as Blues by commenting: “With a big club, with a massive fan base right on our doorstep, it was a natural tie-in for us.

As part of the year-long agreement, the Club will work on a series of engagement events with Green Monkey CBD in order to co-promote the brand’s range. Green Monkey CBD will, in turn, use the Club’s advertising outlets to further spread their message.

The first game when Green Monkey CBD products will be stocked at St. Andrew’s Trillion Trophy Stadium is this Saturday, for the visit of Stoke City (3pm kick-off).

“What the Club have done in reinvigorating their fan base has been excellent and we wanted to be a part of that and introduce our brand to the fans. CBD is a growing market as people are becoming more concerned about their health and wellbeing and searching for something else.”

Speaking of the commercial opportunities, Mr Davies added: “Of course it will be great to see fans drinking our cocktails and cans at the game but the bigger issue is spreading the word about CBD and educating people on what it is. Obviously we can’t make any medical claims but the 250ml drink is designed as an entry-level product to the market so people can try for themselves.”

The UK market for CBD products is already set to be worth more than £1 billion this year and according to the Cannabis Trade Association, the number of users is doubling every year (current estimate of 250,000 users) with some forecasts predicting the global market could reach £17.5 billion ($22 billion) in the next five years (Brightfield 2018).

Blues announce a partnership with Birmingham-based carbonated canned drink Green Monkey CBD

If you’re at the #bcfc game today make sure you look out for these 4 who will handing out cans of #Greenmonkey #cbddrinks #cbd



A cannabis oil drink manufacturer which only started trading last year has secured a quartet of new European export contracts.

Birmingham-based Green Monkey produces a range of cannabidiol (CBD) products which it will now export to international markets after signing deals with distributors Food Link in Denmark, Triple A Gourmet in Spain, Jean Philippe Silva in France and Rocwell Water in Ireland.

Green Monkey started trading in November and has already celebrated a milestone by producing its one millionth can.

The Cannabis Trade Association, which has over 700 members across Europe, claims the number of CBD users is doubling every year and financial reports suggest the global market could be worth as much as £22 billion in the next decade.

Green Monkey’s chief executive Serge Davies said expansion into Europe was only the start of the journey for the company in its plans to go global.

“We are naturally delighted to sign these deals which means the Green Monkey brand will grow across the world and we can continue to expand,” he said.

“The demand for CBD is growing exponentially and more and more people are seeing the benefits through research that is coming through.

“We are very much a wellbeing brand and we are looking to expand not only our team but also our range of wellbeing products.”

René Boysen, marketing manager at Food Link, added: “We have had Green Monkey on our radar for a number of months and we are pleased to announce this deal which will mean that our customers in Denmark will be able to purchase the Green Monkey range.

“The demand for wellbeing products in Denmark is increasing and as such we need to make sure that we are always finding new products to satiate this.

“We are looking forward to working with Green Monkey over the coming years.”

CBD and UFC💯

Research on Use of Hemp-Derived CBD Products by MMA Athletes

Nate Diaz smokes a joint while working out 😂

Nate Diaz lit one up for the people at open workouts #UFC241

“I gotta smoke the weed after the fight,” he joked.

Nate Diaz lit up a joint and then passed it around the fans as he worked out ahead of his UFC return.

Nate Diaz: “I’m The Don of all this s***, anyone says otherwise… I beg to differ”

Diaz later revealed the joint was from his own line of CBD products and is perfectly legal💯

And he sparked controversy by lighting up at the open workouts before revealing it was a perfectly legal CBD joint from his own line of cannabis products.

“[The rise of CBD] is crazy. It’s real cool that everyone’s up on game now. They stuck their head in the bucket a bit after we brought it to their attention.

Nate Diaz says that the UFC told him that he didn’t need to show up at media day and why he recommends athletes use CBD and not PEDs.

Aurora Cannabis and UFC💯

Aurora Cannabis and UFC® Launch Clinical Research on Use of Hemp-Derived CBD Products by MMA Athletes

Aurora Cannabis the Canadian company that’s defining the future of cannabis worldwide, and UFC, the world’s premier mixed martial arts organization, are proud to announce the launch of a joint clinical research program that will produce multiple studies under the terms of their recently announced partnership.

The research will examine the use of hemp-derived CBD as an effective treatment for pain, inflammation, wound-healing, and recovery on MMA athletes.

The ground-breaking research partnership is aimed at understanding key health and recovery needs of elite athletes in such a highly physical and competitive sport as mixed martial arts. Research data will then be used to drive the development of science-backed, hemp-derived CBD topicals that will be safe and reliable. These new products will help combat the rapidly growing market of untested CBD treatments currently being used by high-performance and non-professional athletes.


Once research is complete, any resulting product will come to life in the U.S. under the new high-performance sports brand ROAR Sports, a portfolio of high-quality, hemp-derived CBD topical treatments scientifically formulated with elite athletes in mind. Through analysis of athlete needs and scientific data, ROAR Sports will challenge the status quo, seek to alleviate the stresses of competition, and earn designation as the “Official CBD product of UFC.”

The multi-phase clinical study at the UFC Performance Institute® in Las Vegas will be led by Dr. Jason Dyck, Chair of Aurora’s Global Scientific Oversight Committee; Dr. Kelly Narine, Aurora’s Vice President Global Research and Medical Affairs; and the team of sports performance experts at the UFC Performance Institute, led by Dr. Duncan French, UFC Vice President of Performance. Using active UFC athletes on a strictly voluntary basis, the study will help establish peer-reviewed, publishable research in this area. Products will be developed in full compliance with U.S. federal law and with UFC’s anti-doping program, which adheres to WADA and USADA regulations.

“Our partnership with UFC is about committing to the science that will educate and advocate,” said Aurora CEO Terry Booth. “We are going to work together to change the way people think, to change the industry, and to launch the first hemp-derived CBD products that are backed by scientific research. The brand-building and product development are all part of our move into the U.S., and in collaboration with UFC, and we intend to play a major role in that market.”


“We know anecdotally that professional athletes across sports disciplines are turning to hemp-derived CBD treatments to assist with physical recovery, with varying degrees of success,” added Jason Dyck, Chair of Aurora’s Global Scientific Oversight Committee. “The work we do in partnership with UFC will create an evidence-based, science-backed pipeline of consistent, and ‘clean’ hemp-derived CBD topicals that the high-performance athletes of UFC can rely on to treat the pain, inflammation, injury and other conditions associated with competing at such a high level.”

“Collaborating with Aurora is the best way to educate ourselves and our fighters about the impact of CBD on MMA athletes and our sport,” said Dr. Duncan French, UFC’s Vice President of Performance. “We want to apply science and see where it leads us.  Ideally, these studies will give us the clarity we need to determine n the effectiveness of hemp-derived CBD on athlete health and injury recovery.”  

“Although CBD is allowed under USADA and WADA regulations, we want to be the leaders on educating UFC athletes on CBD use,” said Jeff Novitzky, UFC Senior Vice President of Athlete Health & Performance.  “Athlete safety is a top priority for UFC, and we will collaborate with Aurora to ensure that any new products are third-party tested for all WADA-prohibited substances to make certain they meet WADA standards.” 

cbdMD announced that the reigning UFC heavyweight world champion, Daniel “DC” Cormier, has officially partnered with Team cbdMD


“Daniel Cormier is the epitome of a champion in and out of the cage,” said Hans Molenkamp, representative of cbdMD. “His devotion to the sport is unprecedented and his commitment to the companies he represents are superlative. The addition of DC to the elite cbdMD roster shows his commitment in utilizing the benefits and advancement of CBD.”


Mixed martial arts leads the way in pioneering CBD for fighters in a new sporting revolution 

Mixed martial arts has always been a pioneering sport, pushing the boundaries and now it is doing so again which could have an impact on the entire world of sport.

Cannabidiol – commonly referred to as CBD – is the non-psychoactive, pain-relieving cannabinoid found in cannabis. As well as pain relief, CBD beings many other health benefits, reduces inflammation, possesses anti-cancer properties, and perhaps most importantly, appears to have neuro-protective plusses for sportsmen and women more prone to traumatic brain injury, such as NFL players, rugby players and MMA fighters.

Since last year, sports people have been permitted to use CBD because the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) lifted it from its list of banned substances. But that is changing. Fast. And MMA is leading the way. Some fighters pioneered its use, in defiance of the authorities, even before the ban was lifted. The Diaz brothers – Nick and Nate – two UFC stars who are becoming icons for a new “greener” lifestyle by pioneering gluten free diets, daily jujitsu practice and a medical/recreational use of cannabis.  


Greater numbers of fighters are beginning to make the clear argument that taking cannabis for injuries and as pain killers through camps, training and after fights, is more effective than over the counter or administered pain killers.

In recent times, the two biggest MMA fight leagues in the world – Bellator and the UFC – have aligned with CBD companies. CBDMD, one such company, is now a sponsor of CBS-owned Bellator MMA, while Canadian Aurora Cannabis has teamed up with the UFC on a new research project. 


 Hans Molenkamp, a long-time influential pioneer in marketing in MMA, was the figure who brought CBDMD to Bellator MMA. Molenkamp has had sponsorship involvement with brands such as Monster, Triumph, along with many of the biggest stars in MMA, including Conor McGregor, Rampage Jackson and Daniel Cormier, the current UFC heavyweight champion and one of the most respected athletes in the sport, who now has personal sponsorship from CBDMD.


 “The CBD oil entering into this space for me was a personal thing because I am so injured myself,” explained Molenkamp, having once been a sportsman himself in motocross and surfing. 

“I had a spinal fusion, my shoulder has been fused, my femur has been broken, my jaw has been broken, my orbital socket was busted – I’m a banged up individual. I’ve been through more body harm than any fighter,” explained the 42-year-old American business entrepreneur.

“I’ve been on both sides. I’ve a motor cross and surfing background. I’ve had serious injuries. I started taking CBD years ago.” It changed his life.

Molenkamp also knows what fighters go through, though he has not fought professionally himself but is a black belt in jiu jitsu and has fought in Thai boxing.

“When the company CBDMD approached me and wanted me to help from a brand building side I saw how it could help the athletes and organisations. And that it would be a gateway for alternative healing for these athletes that they didn’t have access to before. Now that it’s way more open and legitimate, we’re seeing a radical shift. We’re seeing a new onslaught of healing that will help fighters.”

Controversy, of course, has always surrounded the drug. But that has changed. “I think it’s moving at a pace that it’s much more widely accepted than a year ago,”

“CBDMD is a publicly traded company. I’m trying to bring awareness to it. I’m out here marketing this product because I believe in it.”


But the stigma it once held has certainly faded.

“The stigma is this. Multiple governments for multiple years have put such a bad stigma on cannabis and THC and anything that has anything to do with marijuana industry.

Most of that was based around false information and political gain so they could continue to make money with the laws against it.”

“As the walls and barriers against it have broken down in the last five years, you’re seeing a huge shift in public perception. You can’t deny this is the future and has to happen to heal people. I think we’re going to see some major shifts and plans on what CBD can do.”

Within the fighter community, its use is already widespread (indeed, many know in the industry that it was being used prior to WADA lifting the CBD ban.

“I think fighters are very aware of the effects of painkillers and what they can do to you long-term,” added Molenkamp. “I’ve been in this industry for 20 years and I’m not going to name names, but there was a very long run of athletes that were heavily addicted to painkillers that only only ruined their careers, but their families and household income.”

For some time, there has been major concern about fighters having addiction to painkillers – and indeed their long term affects. This week, Nate Diaz openly smoked CBD (minus THC) at a fighter work out. The message, says Molenkamp, is clear. 

“We all saw Nate Diaz the other night. It’s very clear the stand he’s taking. If it’s going to help heal and it’s not going to kill, these supreme athletes are putting their lives on the line, their bodies are mangled, and we need to be able to help them to heal. This goes for all sports in general. We need to give them access to methods that can heal their bodies in a way that won’t destroy their lives.” The revolution is coming for sportsmen and women. And it is just getting started.


Green Monkey has signed distribution contracts to supply drink to four new markets


European export deals for cannabis oil drink💯

A cannabis oil drink manufacturer which only started trading last year has secured a quartet of new European export contracts.

Birmingham-based Green Monkey produces a range of cannabidiol (CBD) products which it will now export to international markets after signing deals with distributors Food Link in Denmark, Triple A Gourmet in Spain, Jean Philippe Silva in France and Rocwell Water in Ireland.

Green Monkey started trading in November and has already celebrated a milestone by producing its one millionth can.

The Cannabis Trade Association, which has over 700 members across Europe, claims the number of CBD users is doubling every year and financial reports suggest the global market could be worth as much as £22 billion in the next decade.

Green Monkey’s chief executive Serge Davies said expansion into Europe was only the start of the journey for the company in its plans to go global.

“We are naturally delighted to sign these deals which means the Green Monkey brand will grow across the world and we can continue to expand,” he said.

“The demand for CBD is growing exponentially and more and more people are seeing the benefits through research that is coming through.

“We are very much a wellbeing brand and we are looking to expand not only our team but also our range of wellbeing products.”

René Boysen, marketing manager at Food Link, added: “We have had Green Monkey on our radar for a number of months and we are pleased to announce this deal which will mean that our customers in Denmark will be able to purchase the Green Monkey range.

“The demand for wellbeing products in Denmark is increasing and as such we need to make sure that we are always finding new products to satiate this.

“We are looking forward to working with Green Monkey over the coming years.”


CBD Infused Ice Cream💚

Ben & Jerry’s


Ice-cream maker to add cannabidiol to its products

waiting isn’t working🌍

Usually people reach for the ice-cream after ingesting cannabis.

Now hippie-capitalist ice-cream maker Ben & Jerry’s is hoping to speed the whole process up by producing CBD-infused ice-cream.

You probably already know that we’re fans of all things groovy — think: Half Baked and Dave Matthews Band Magic Brownies. So it’s no surprise that we can’t wait to get into the latest food trend: cannabidiol, or CBD. We are committed to bringing CBD-infused ice cream to your freezer as soon as it’s legalized at the federal level.

On Trend

A recent National Restaurant Association survey found that three in four chefs named CBD – and cannabis-infused food as a hot trend in 2019. “We’re doing this for our fans,” said Ben & Jerry’s CEO Matthew McCarthy. “We’ve listened and brought them everything from Non-Dairy indulgences to on-the-go portions with our Pint Slices. We aspire to love our fans more than they love us and we want to give them what they’re looking for in a fun, Ben & Jerry’s way.”

But just chasing a trend isn’t quite enough for us. We want to use sustainably-sourced CBD from our home state of Vermont. After all, values-led sourcing is an important part of our process when we churn up new ice cream innovations. By using high-quality, sustainably-sourced ingredients, we support our linked prosperity model, ensuring that everyone involved with making our flavors — from the cocoa farmers to the Scoop Shop scoopers — is positively impacted. We source our brownies from Greyston Bakery, which has an innovative open-door hiring policy, and our cookie dough comes from Rhino Foods, which employs refugees and sources its dairy locally from the St. Albans Co-op.

Currently, the FDA prohibits adding CBD to food and beverages. But change is on the horizon: They’ve set a public hearing on the legalization of CBD-infused foods and beverages for May 31st, and we’ve submitted a comment to them in support of legalization.

Long known for stoner-hinting flavours such as Bonnaroo Buzz, Phish Food and Half Baked, the US company’s decision to add CBD to its products as soon as the plant extract is legalized at the federal level comes as the market of cannabinoids-infused products has exploded over the past several years.

As its stands, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) prohibits adding CBD to food and beverages, through the ordinance is lightly, if ever, enforced, and the regulatory body has announced a public hearing on the legalization on the issue for 31 May.

Ben & Jerry’s, which has submitted comment on the issue, is encouraging fans of its products to contact the FDA during a public consultation period on the use of CBD in food now through July.

The regulator has said it plans to use the public comments to inform a federal working group looking “to explore potential pathways for dietary supplements and/or conventional foods containing CBD to be lawfully marketed”.

The announcement steers Ben & Jerry’s firmly into the hottest trend in food. A recent survey published by the National Restaurant Association found that three in four chefs named CBD – and cannabis-infused food – as a hot trend in 2019.




Aurora and UFC, announce an exclusive, multi-year, multi-million dollar, global partnership

AURORA and UFC the future of cannabis worldwide.

Relationship between 100% hemp derived Cannabidiol (CBD) products and athlete wellness and recovery, with a view to accelerating CBD product development and education.

Aurora Cannabis Inc. (ACB) the Canadian company defining the future of cannabis worldwide, and UFC, the world’s premier mixed martial arts organization, are excited to announce an exclusive, multi-year, multi-million dollar, global partnership that is expected to significantly advance further clinical research on the relationship between 100% hemp derived Cannabidiol (CBD) products and athlete wellness and recovery, with a view to accelerating CBD product development and education.

UFC boasts more than 300 million fans worldwide, with programming that is broadcast to over 170 countries and territories, in 40 different languages, to over one billion TV households. 

The UFC Performance Institute, the world’s first mixed martial arts multi-disciplinary research, innovation, and training center, opened in Las Vegas in 2017  has served more than 400 athletes over the past two years.  The facility is a global leader in athletic performance research and provides support and educational services to athletes on health, well-being, nutrition, and injury prevention.

The research will be conducted at the UFC’s Performance Institute in Las Vegas, Nevada, in collaboration with UFC’s sports performance team, as well as with athletes who choose to participate in the studies.

“Since the day we opened the Performance Institute, our primary goal was to offer UFC athletes the best possible training, nutrition, and recovery services,” said UFC President Dana White.  “This partnership with Aurora is an extension of that goal, and we’re looking forward to collaborating with Aurora to find new ways to improve the health and safety of athletes who compete in UFC.”

Terry Booth, CEO of Aurora added, “This global partnership places focus squarely on the health and well-being of UFC’s talented and highly trained athletes. The Aurora-UFC research partnership creates a global platform to launch targeted educational and awareness campaigns, while creating numerous opportunities to accelerate our global CBD business.”

About Aurora


Headquartered in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada with funded capacity in excess of 625,000 kg per annum and sales and operations in 24 countries across five continents, Aurora is one of the world’s largest and leading cannabis companies. Aurora is vertically integrated and horizontally diversified across every key segment of the value chain, from facility engineering and design to cannabis breeding and genetics research, cannabis and hemp production, derivatives, high value-add product development, home cultivation, wholesale and retail distribution.

Highly differentiated from its peers, Aurora has established a uniquely advanced, consistent and efficient production strategy, based on purpose-built facilities that integrate leading-edge technologies across all processes, defined by extensive automation and customization, resulting in the massive scale production of high-quality consistent product. Intended to be replicable and scalable globally, our production facilities are designed to produce cannabis of significant scale, with high quality, industry-leading yields, and low per gram production costs.


Each of Aurora’s facilities is built to meet European Union Good Manufacturing Practices (“EU GMP”) standards. Certification has been granted to Aurora’s first production facility in Mountain View County, the MedReleaf Markham facility, and its wholly owned European medical cannabis distributor Aurora Deutschland. All Aurora facilities are designed and built to the EU GMP standard.

standards. Certification has been granted to Aurora’s first production facility in Mountain View County, the MedReleaf Markham facility, and its wholly owned European medical cannabis distributor Aurora Deutschland. All Aurora facilities are designed and built to the EU GMP standard.

In addition to the Company’s rapid organic growth and strong execution on strategic M&A, which to date includes 17 wholly owned subsidiary companies –

MedReleaf, CanvasRX, Peloton Pharmaceutical, Aurora Deutschland, H2 Biopharma, Urban Cultivator, BC Northern Lights, Larssen Greenhouses, CanniMed Therapeutics, Anandia, HotHouse Consulting, MED Colombia, Agropro, Borela, ICC Labs, Whistler, and Chemi Pharmaceutical

(TSXV: RTI), Hempco Food and Fiber Inc. (TSXV: HEMP), Cann Group Ltd. (ASX: CAN), Micron Waste Technologies Inc. (CSE: MWM), Choom Holdings Inc. (CSE: CHOO), CTT Pharmaceuticals (OTCC: CTTH), Alcanna Inc. (TSX: CLIQ), High Tide Inc. (CSE: HITI), EnWave Corporation (TSXV: ENW), Capcium Inc. (private), Evio Beauty Group (private), and Wagner Dimas (private).

Aurora’s Common Shares trade on the TSX and NYSE under the symbol “ACB”#


CBD UK💚Legalising Weed

Consumer interest in CBD

CBD & Cannabis Investment

The UK should make recreational weed legal. “It’s a no-brainer… It comes down to whether we want to be an early mover in what is the largest-growing industry in the world right now.”

The UK risks missing out on a lot of US and Canadian companies setting up their European bases here.

The shadow of recreational puts off deep-pocketed investors. The fact that recreational cannabis is not legal means many investors are reticent to invest

The big fear for potential investors in the UK is that they could break the Proceeds of Crime Act if they deal with firms involved in recreational cannabis.

Companies might have to contact the National Crime Agency to head off any possible legal issues if they suspect funds on deals come from the recreational sphere.

The NCA normally decline to either approve or block such deals, leaving the lawyers to ensure the necessary due diligence has been carried out.

In response, investors are considering setting up funds in the Cayman Islands or British Virgin Islands to provide a buffer zone between their funds and the investment company. legal quirks mean Britain risks being left behind.

This industry is here to stay and the potential is massive

Proceeds of crime???

UK investors do need to consider the engagement of the money laundering provisions in Part 7 of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 (POCA)

Changes to cannabis laws around the world are generating a raft of business and investment opportunities.


On 7 August 2019, Luxembourg confirmed that it had plans to be the first in the European Union to legalise consumption and production. The move follows Canada’s legalisation in October last year. The UK is also experiencing the beginning of reform in this area. Cannabis importation, production and supply is illegal under the Drugs Misuse Act 1971 but cannabis for medicinal use has been available to be prescribed since November 2018.

Impact of POCA 2002

This is because, subject to a small handful of exceptions that do not apply in the cannabis context,[1] ‘criminal conduct’ for the purposes of money laundering is judged solely according to English law irrespective of where it took place. Connecting the dots, ‘criminal property’, the key component in any money laundering offence, captures property connected to criminal conduct.

Although highly doubtful that lawmakers at the turn of the millennium when POCA was introduced ever intended to catch those legitimately investing in companies trading transparently in a country like Canada, the potential triggering of the offences and reporting provisions in Part 7 cannot be ignored when eyeing a cannabis-related investment.

That said, several factors will need to be taken into account. Whether an issue will arise can depend on the nature of the cannabis-related activity at the heart of the enterprise, scope for licensing of that activity by the Home Office (and therefore legality) under English law as well as territorial considerations.

Rise of CBD

Seen in this context, investing in the cannabidiol (CBD) market as opposed to the recreational cannabis market may seem more straightforward. Demand for CBD is growing, with recent reports that the CBD market in the UK is forecast to reach £16.5 billion in the next decade. CBD, a chemical compound extracted from parts of the cannabis plant but which lacks the psychoactive effect of other compounds, most notably tetrahydrocannabinol or THC, is not a scheduled drug under the Drugs Misuse Act 1971. It, as well as products that contain CBD, are therefore perfectly legal under English law. At first glance, Part 7 of POCA simply does not apply.

This, however, will not always be the case. The Home Office factsheet on cannabis and cannabis-related products which it issued after the change in the law on medicinal cannabis in 2018 states the following:

If a CBD ‘product’ contained any controlled cannabinoids, unintentionally or otherwise (e.g. THC or THC-V), then it is highly likely that the product would be controlled. It is our understanding that it is very difficult to isolate pure CBD, and in our experience many products in fact do not fully disclose their contents or provide a full spectrum analysis at an appropriate level of sensitivity to accurately and consistently determine their true content or control status.

It follows that if a CBD product also contained THC (or other controlled compound) then, in principle, a ‘criminal conduct’ and ‘criminal property’ issue could arise under Part 7 POCA. At its simplest, any return on the sale of a product which contained an identifiable controlled substance would fail to be considered property obtained in connection with criminal conduct ie., supply of a controlled substance assuming no Home Office permission had been given. In the context of evaluating CBD-related investment opportunities, it will be vital to understand the detail of the product and whether it solely contains CBD or other substances which are illegal under UK law. If they do contain such substances, it will then be important to know the amount. Whether or not a drug offence is made out can depend on a substance’s quantifiability.

In the light of the above, the position where CBD contains a small amount of THC arises for consideration. Contrary to some information the public domain, nothing in the Home Office’s factsheet on cannabis-related products or any other current guidance says that it is permissible for CBD products in the UK or CBD imported into the UK to contain 0.2% THC. Indeed, the Factsheet states, the “0.2% reference is used solely to identify varieties which may potentially be cultivated, within the scope of this policy…”. Accordingly, the limit only relates to plant cultivation. The confusion has attracted the attention of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society, the body responsible for supporting the pharmacy profession in the UK, which is concerned about products on the market in the UK sold through pharmacies which disclose that they contain minute amounts of THC. Very recently, it called on the Home Office to clarify the position in relation to CBD oils as the 0.2% limit in the Home Office factsheet applies to plant matter only suggesting that CBD oil even with small amounts of THC would appear to be illegal.[2]

As yet, the Home Office has not revised its factsheet or issued any further guidance. In the absence of clarification, where CBD is mixed with a controlled substance and supplied or imported into the UK issues of ‘criminal conduct’ and consequently, ‘criminal property’ can arise. As such, investors eyeing opportunities that appear to squarely fall in to the CBD as opposed to recreational cannabis category would be wise not to overlook the potential impact of POCA.

WHSmith will launch with the Ignite ONE device, a rechargeable vape pen compatible with Ignite CBD pods and Ignite branded tinctures. 

Ignite International Brands (U.K.), Ltd. (“Ignite”), a wholly owned subsidiary of Ignite International Brands, Ltd. (CSE:BILZ),

today announced that WHSmith, a worldwide retail market leader, has submitted a purchase order

and will begin to offer, under exclusive contract, Ignite’s leading CBD products at 276 retail travel stores in the United Kingdom starting August 2019.

Both WHSmith and Ignite will coordinate future product introductions, including additional vape and health and beauty applications, in concert with Ignite’s product roadmap.

Retail sites featuring the Ignite products include Heathrow Terminals 2 through 5, Gatwick North and South, Birmingham Airport, Liverpool Airport, London City Airport, Manchester Airport (Terminal 1), and Kings Cross Station.  These sites offer exposure to a total of approximately 192 million travel passengers per year.

With over 600 stores on the high street and another 800+ travel stores at airports, train stations, hospitals, workplaces and motorway services, WHSmith is one of the UK’s leading retail groups and a household name.  The first newsagent in the Smith family name opened in 1792, and the company, WHSmith, was created in 1828.

Boris Johnson’s Top Aides Want To Legalise Cannabis

Senior members of Boris Johnson’s Number 10 team want to legalise cannabis


Blair Gibbs, the prime minister’s new policy adviser, is joining Downing Street from the Centre for Medicinal Cannabis.


Gibbs, who was Johnson’s policing aide when he was mayor of London, is leaving his current job as the policy lead at the Centre for Medicinal Cannabis campaign group to take up the key role in Number 10.

Canada’s legalised it, so three MPs go on a weed trip to see if Britain could do the same.


A cross-party group of MPs predicted that the UK will allow recreational use of the drug within 5 to 10 years.


A group of MPs predicts cannabis will be legalised in the UK within the next five years after they went on a research trip to Canada.

‘I want the market legalised, regulated and taken away from crime gangs,’ says Labour MP David Lammy after trip to Canada

Labour’s David Lammy, the Liberal Democrats’ Sir Norman Lamb and Conservative MP Jonathan Djanogly visited the country to study the legal weed market, set up after the drug was decriminalised there last year.

The Tottenham MP said he had shifted his stance on the drug, deciding to back legalisation in a departure from his party’s official position.

“I want the market legalised, regulated and taken away from crime gangs,” the Tottenham MP told BBC’s Newsbeat. “I want to see the strength of the stuff reduced, labelled and properly organised in this country.”

His change of heart was welcomed by some within Mr Lammy’s party, including Jeff Smith MP, co-founder the Labour Campaign for Drug Policy Reform.

Cannabis to be ‘fully legal in UK within years’

Jonathan Djanogly, who served as an under-secretary for justice under David Cameron, said towns in Canada with declining manufacturing industries had reinvented themselves as hubs for the cannabis industry.

Cannabis factories could create jobs in deprived areas, says ex-minister

Mr Djanogly travelled to the country on a research trip to explore the possibility of legalising cannabis in the UK, which will be the subject of BBC documentary available today.  He told The Daily Telegraph: “We had a meeting with a mayor of a town. 

Building cannabis factories in Britain’s neglected post-industrial towns may be the solution to unemployment problems, a former Conservative justice minister has suggested.

“I would call it a post-industrial town, the likes of which we have many in this country, where the main employer, the only main employer in town, had moved out and closed down their factory, and there had been mass unemployment.”

“A cannabis factory had opened up,” he said. “[The Mayor said], ‘Look, this has provided us with jobs and better jobs than we had before’.”

While Mr Djanogly said legalising and regulating cannabis was “easier said than done”, he suggested that the cannabis industry could provide the UK with a solution to unemployment in formerly industrial northern cities.

“I don’t know about the scale involved, but cannabis is now roughly half a per cent of GDP, so it must be creating jobs somewhere,” he said.

Mr Djanogly acknowledged that any legalisation of cannabis in the UK would have to be accompanied by regulation that allowed market forces to operate without putting users at risk.

Sir Norman Lamb and David Lammy joined Mr Djanogly on the research trip, which was organised by the Volteface drugs think tank. Mr Lammy told the BBC: “I want the market legalised and regulated, taken away from criminal gangs, young people not criminalised by use and properly educated. 

“But I want to see the strength of the stuff reduced, labelled and properly organised in our country.” 

While Sir Norman added: “There does not appear to be the same level of debate about mental health and psychosis as there is in UK. I would have a cap on potency if legalised in the UK.” The BBC documentary, Legalising Weed – Canada’s Story, is available online today and follows the three MPs exploring cannabis legalisation policy in Canada. 

All three said they expected cannabis to be legalised in the UK in the next decade.  The documentary will also show Sir Norman, who does not usually use recreational drugs, taking a cannabis “capsule” bought in a legal dispensary. 

The Home Office has repeatedly stated that it has no intention to legalise cannabis for recreational use.

Cannabis will be legalised in UK within five years, say MPs after cross-party ‘research trip’ to Canada

Tory Jonathan Djanogly, Lib Dem Sir Norman Lamb and Labour’s David Lammy travelled to Canada, which legalised the drug last year, on the trip organised by UK pro-legalisation group Volte Face.

Cannabis is illegal for recreational use in the UK, although it can be prescribed for medicinal purposes.

But Mr Lammy and Sir Norman both said they believed the drug would be fully legalised in about five years.

Tottenham MP Mr Lammy shifted his stance on the drug, moving away from his party’s official position to backing legalisation.

He said: “I want the market legalised, regulated and taken away from crime gangs.

“I want to see the strength of the stuff reduced, labelled and properly organised in this country.”

Sir Norman had previously led the Lib Dems’ decision to back the legalisation of cannabis, and recently wrote in the Standard how “our current laws on cannabis are not working”.

Mr Djanogly, meanwhile, told BBC’s Newsbeat: “I think we have got a lot to learn before the legalisation of recreational cannabis, which I think will happen at some point.”

He added he thought legalisation would occur between 10 and 15 years in the future.

The MPs’ trip was partly sponsored by cannabis company MPX.

Sir Norman and Mr Lammy funded their own flights and accommodation.

Earlier this month, the Standard ran “The Cannabis Debate” series investigating whether selling the drug in a regulated way could encourage safe use.

Being the first major Western country to go fully legal

Newsbeat ask – has it worked? 

Labour’s David Lammy thinks the UK criminalises too many young black men because of cannabis laws, and wants to decide whether it should be legalised here.

Norman Lamb already wants legalisation – his Liberal Democrat party has made it official policy.

Conservative Jonathan Djanogly knows many of his young constituents use cannabis regularly, but he’s going to Canada with an open mind on what to do about it. 

The UK’s allowed limited use of cannabis-based medicines – and history shows that’s often the first step to much wider legalisation – including for recreational use.

But change rarely goes as planned… which maybe explains why around half of the weed in Canada is still bought illegally!

Norman Lamb: MP takes cannabis on film to point out ‘ludicrous’ law

Bill Clinton smoked it but never inhaled. Andrea Leadsom tried it at university. Now a Liberal Democrat has become the first MP to be filmed taking cannabis on British television.

Norman Lamb, 61, a mental health campaigner, tried a sleep remedy on an all-party fact-finding mission to Canada where the use of recreational cannabis was legalised in October.

Mr Lamb, a former care minister, visited a Nova store where items were labelled with the amount of CBD, a non-psychotropic constituent of the plant, and THC, a psychoactive compound. The MP for North Norfolk was filmed by BBC Newsbeat in his hotel room using a pipette to put four drops of Solei balance oil under his tongue. The footage will be on iPlayer today.

Taking the drug on TV “helps to take some of the mystery out of this,” Mr Lamb told The Times. “It just seems to me to be utterly ludicrous that what I was doing would have amounted to a criminal act in the UK.”

The experiment worked so well that he decided to bring the liquid cannabis on to his flight home. “You take it half an hour before you want to go to sleep,” he said. “It wouldn’t have been possible to take it in the airport beforehand.”

He added: “I had my science and technology select committee to chair the next day so I needed to get a good sleep. It helped me sleep really well on the plane home.”

Mr Lamb put the rest of the bottle in a bin in the aircraft toilet to avoid breaking the law once he landed in the UK. The MP supports legalising marijuana and says he may have tried it at a dinner party before he was an MP, when “something was passed around”.

David Lammy, Labour MP for Tottenham, and Jonathan Djanogly, Conservative MP for Huntingdon, were also on the mission.

CBD in the UK

CMC Confirms All its Member’s Products That Were Tested as Part of Their Groundbreaking UK CBD Market Study Had A CBD Content That Was Within 10% Of The Stated Content On The Label.

The Centre for Medicinal Cannabis (CMC) today reveals more details of the results from their blind-testing of 30 major UK CBD products that can be purchased from the UK high street or bought online the findings of which were widely reported in the UK press. 

All products were CBD oils and were anonymously tested

CMC can confirm that all CMC member’s CBD products were within 10% of the CBD content indicated on the label 

All products were tested for residual solvents and heavy metals. No results from any product tested from any manufacturer were found to be a hazard to public health

The following CMC members products were tested; DragonflyCBD, George Botanicals, and Charlotte’s Web 

For members of the public who are concerned as to the validity of CBD products they have purchased, the CMC advises them to contact the product seller for further details on their individual analysis if tested or their independent batch test results. It would help the manufacturer to assist you if you identify the batch number and/or sell by date of your product and have this to hand for reference. The batch number and/or the sell by date should be indicated on the packaging

Further analysis of these results is ongoing and we will be published as part of a fuller analysis of the data in a peer reviewed journal within three months 


The size of the UK CBD market is between 3-6
times larger than previous well quoted estimates
(£300M per year vs £100M (Brightfield report)
and 1.3 M users vs 250K users (CTA) depending
on which measure you take; value or users. This is
larger than the total UK Vitamin D (£145M) and
Vitamin C market (£119M) combined.

The analysis for this report suggests the prospects
for the UK’s CBD market are strong, with rising
demand and a willingness among British consumers
to try CBD products and spend significant sums on a
regular wellness routine that encompasses CBD.

There are a number of future trends for the CBD
sector in the UK and globally, and some fundamental
market developments that the British CBD sector
can expect to encounter in the next three years.

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The cbd brand helping you maintain an active lifestyle

Golfers and rugby players show cannabis is going mainstream in sport

Top golfers take CBD for calmness, while Saracens locks George Kruis and Dominic Day were so impressed with it they launched their own business

he first time I saw Charley Hoffman play, you would not have looked at him twice. That was at the Masters in 2015, where he stopped by the 1st tee box to beg autographs off Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus. He was 38 already, a little tubby, a little schlubby, in a hat that looked two sizes too big and a pair of wraparound sunglasses so tight they gave him tan lines. Then he went and shot a 67. Well, like the old salts say at Augusta, the bars of Chicago are full of people who led majors after one round and Charley finished up tied ninth. But still, after 15 years playing pro golf, it was his first top-20 finish in a major.

Hoffman has seemed to make a run up the leaderboard at almost every other major since, 65 at Augusta National, 67 at Royal Birkdale, 68 at Erin Hills. Usually he slips right back down it again but whatever he is going through he always seems to be wearing the same inscrutable expression. You never saw a sportsman give less away about how he is feeling. Which might be why even my friends who love golf don’t get why I have grown quite so fond of him in the past four years. I think it is because, for a man with such an exquisite iron game, he just seems so ordinary. You would never guess he was an elite athlete, until you saw him play.

Medicinal cannabis: the hype is strong

This is why it was a surprise that Hoffman has just been signed up to promote a new line of CBD products. If there was ever a sign cannabis is going mainstream in sport, it’s Charley, a 42-year-old journeyman pro from San Diego. He is one of a bunch of professional golfers who have signed endorsement deals with CBD manufacturers since the World Anti-Doping Agency took it off the prohibited list in 2018. Bubba Watson and Lucas Glover are promoting it, too. All three of them have spoken about how it helps their physical recovery. Interestingly, Glover has said it helps him cope with his anxiety, too. “For golfers,” Glover says, “the biggest benefit is calmness.”

CBD use is booming in Britain, too. The Saracens locks George Kruis and Dominic Day were so taken with it they have launched their own business, fourfivecbd. It was Day who first discovered it, when he was struggling to recover from an operation to remove torn cartilage from his right knee. “I was in that head space where I was willing to try anything that could help,” he says, “and I stumbled across the article online about how Wada had just taken CBD oil off the banned list, and I thought: ‘Shall I give this a go?’” He ended up buying a bottle of it from a vape shop.

“I’m very careful about the claims I make for it,” Day says, “but for me the effects were pretty instantaneous. Then when I came off it the symptoms came right back.”

When the club physio pointed out how well his recovery seemed to be going, Day sheepishly admitted he had been self-medicating with CBD oil. “A lot of eyebrows went up.” When Kruis was struggling with his own recovery from ankle surgery, Day turned him on to it, too. “He had a very similar experience.” Soon afterwards, they went into business together.

“The reason we use it is because it’s natural and organic,” Day says, “and the alternative is prescription medication.” Day has been playing professional rugby for 13 years. For most of that time, he was taking four or five lots of prescription anti-inflammatories and painkillers a week.

“We’re all trying to make a living and the only way to do that is to be putting in a shift for the club, so as players we will do anything to get on the pitch. It’s what you do, take an anti-inflammatory to help you through training, take a painkiller to help you out on the pitch, that’s just how it is. But it’s something we’d like to have an alternative to.”

Now, Day takes a CBD supplement every morning “much like someone else would use a multivitamin”. Kruis uses it differently. “George uses it when he needs a good night’s sleep because that’s when a lot of recovery happens.” But while prescription drugs have side‑effects, Day says, CBD has a stigma. “There’s a lot of education work to be done around it,” he says. He holds back from making any grand claims for his product. He knows CBD has become a fad and there are a lot of snake-oil salesmen working in the fledgling market. When it comes to whether CBD could have a positive impact on mental health, he will only say: “The key thing is getting more research done.”

Day adds: “For six months we held off giving it to any professional athletes because we wanted to make sure all our products had been laboratory tested to ensure there was no cross-contamination in them.” A lot of CBD products contain quantities of the psychoactive compound THC, which is still banned by Wada. “Now we have that certification, we’ve got around 400 professional athletes using it from a range of sports: rugby union and league, boxing, MMA, track and field, diving, and swimming.”

They have three full-time employees and are about to take on eight more to run two shopping-centre kiosks. Taking CBD may have helped Glover relax but selling it, Day says, “has been a real whirlwind”.

CBD OIL Simon Church⚽


Former Wales international Simon Church believes cannabis oil could have prolonged his career – now he hopes to help others with revolutionary product

Our mission is to bring you the best supplements that are not only natural but scientifically proven to help recovery and improve your general wellbeing and performance
The former Reading forward, who won 38 Wales caps, said: “I was taking painkillers with CBD oil then, eventually, I started weaning off the painkillers.

IT IS JANUARY 2018 and Simon Church is wide awake in the early hours of the morning, unable to sleep because of the excruciating pain in his hip.

“Cannabis oil could have saved my career”

“So we managed to come up with CBD Performance – infusing CBD into everyday products – protein shakes, bath salts, creams, hydration drinks. Anything and everything.”

The painkillers he pops three, four or five times a day are not working and worry over whether he will even be able to make training for Plymouth is sky-high.

This was a daily routine for the former Wales international for eight years from the age of 22, a problem that got worse following hip surgery in 2016.

Fast-forward to today and Church — who was forced to retire last summer — believes his career would have gone on longer had he tried cannabis oil a lot sooner.

He said: “When you’re struggling as a player, you have niggles and it’s not enough to stop you training or playing completely, then you’re just told to take painkillers to get through it.

“You do it because you don’t want to miss training, lose your place or show that you’re weak.

“It got to the stage where I became reliant on painkillers. I took them to get through a game, a training session, or even to get through a day.

“I wouldn’t even need them some days but I’d still be popping them, followed by sleeping tablets the night before a game.

“The lining of my stomach was being ruined and my body was in a bad way.”

Church, 30, began using a cannabis plant oil remedy — known as Cannabidiol (CBD) — which was removed from the World Anti-Doping Agency list in January 2018 and recommended by a pal.

“It was helping me recover, I didn’t feel the pain in the morning as much. Would it have prolonged my career? Most definitely — I’ve gone natural and it’s made a massive difference to my life and general wellbeing.

“When I retired I got told not to run, not to do anything.

“Yes, I’m not as active now but I’m able to sleep. I can relax and go to the gym — and I wouldn’t have been able to do that without CBD.”

The next step for Church is to make sure no player goes through the same torment.

After setting up a successful property and financial advisory company for former players, the ex-striker is now tackling problems players face while still in the game.

He added: “We looked into different products for athletes and there was just oil — which isn’t the nicest taste-wise.

It is the first of its kind in the world, and crucially, it is made without THC – the psychoactive component of cannabis – to prevent random drugs test failures.

Church is aiming for the product to go live this month and reels off the benefits as a man who has felt them first-hand.

He explained: “I know a lot of players whose careers would be saved by CBD — and it doesn’t just stop at athletes. My father-in-law has arthritis and it would benefit him hugely.

“In America they use them religiously for boxing and UFC and I know a lot of rugby guys use them. But we are looking to be the first fully regulated THC-free supplement infused providers.

“We aren’t saying we can cure physical and mental health problems. But there are enough benefits to prove it can significantly change your life.”

CBD a marijuana miracle or just another health fad?

cannabis-derived compound CBD is popping up in everything from mineral water to bath bombs.


Aaron Horn first came across cannabidiol, or CBD, about three years ago in Glastonbury – the town, not the festival. “I found it at this amazing hemp shop, Hemp in Avalon,” recalls Horn, a musician who is now 35. “It’s run by a guy called Free. His last name is Cannabis. He changed his name by deed poll to Free Cannabis.” Horn bought a tube of high-concentration CBD paste – “it comes out like a brown toothpaste, almost” – and it was recommended he put a tiny dot on his finger and pop it in his mouth.

Horn’s adult life had been spent in the shadow of a horrific accident that took place when he was 22. In June 2006, he had been shooting at a target with an air rifle in the garden of his family home; his parents are the music producers Jill Sinclair and Trevor Horn. Horn didn’t realise his mother was nearby, and a stray pellet lodged in her neck and severed an artery. Sinclair experienced hypoxia, which caused irreversible brain damage, and she spent years in a coma before dying in 2014.

After the accident, Horn did sessions of cognitive behavioural therapy, which he found helpful. He didn’t take antidepressants, because he was concerned about the side-effects; he did smoke cannabis, though he didn’t always like feeling stoned. “I suffered from some PTSD symptoms, flashbacks,” he says. “And some other issues.”

Almost immediately, Horn found using CBD lifted his mood. Cannabidiol is a non-psychoactive chemical found in marijuana and hemp plants. It will be present if you smoke a joint, but is often overwhelmed by one of the other 100-plus cannabinoids found in cannabis: THC (tetrahydrocannabinol). This is the ingredient that mainly has mind-altering properties, but also now has worrying links with mental illness and violence. CBD products are allowed to contain only traces of THC, which makes them legal, and devotees claim that they have many of the benefits of cannabis with none of the drawbacks.

“CBD has helped me across the spectrum,” says Horn. “It definitely helped in social situations, if I was finding it hard to be around people. It brings you more into the moment. I felt more relaxed.”

Horn is bouncy and enthusiastic; for someone who spends a fair amount of time meditating, he seems to have a hard time standing still. Our conversation takes place in his shop, LDN CBD, which he opened in Camden last July with a friend, Joe Oliver. CBD has been available to buy for a while – not only in independent shops such as Hemp in Avalon but also, since early 2018, in nationwide chains such as Holland & Barrett – but Horn contends that this is the elixir’s first dedicated boutique in the UK. It is certainly a long way from the traditional head shop: bongs and Rizlas have been swapped for white walls, reclaimed-wood floors and uncluttered shelves sparsely dotted with CBD oils, pastes and pills, and on-trend houseplants. A 10ml bottle of 3% CBD oil costs £25. Horn sees his target customer as anyone interested in wellness, more than counter-culture stoners. Downstairs are two studios for yoga, reiki and CBD massages.

If LDN CBD is the first, it certainly won’t be the last. Interest in CBD products is exploding: it is 2019’s avocado toast, this moment’s turmeric shot. Except there is a crucial difference. If CBD does what its advocates suggest – or even a fraction of it – this all-natural, side-effect-free, widely available chemical could genuinely be the wonder drug of our age. Adherents claim it is “adaptogenic” – that is, a natural, non-toxic substance that regulates your stress response – and it’s not hard to find people who will tell you it has helped with anxiety, acne, schizophrenia, menstrual pain, insomnia and even cancer. There are also dozens of CBD cosmetics products, CBD juices and coffees are now a thing, and some find it useful as a sexual lubricant. Bizarrely, it has taken off in pet products, too: everything from chews for anxious dogs to treating life-threatening ailments. New products include truffles, bath bombs, moisturisers, ice cream, CBD-infused spring water (available from Ocado) and, naturally, CBD turmeric oil. CBD doesn’t have an especially strong taste – fans call it “nutty”, others “boggy” – which means it can be added to food without overpowering it.

Much of this activity takes place online, so it’s hard to gauge the number of users, but one estimate, from the Cannabis Trades Association UK, suggested that there were 250,000 cannabidiol consumers in this country in 2017, double the number from the previous year. For Horn, CBD is simply the perfect drug for the way we live now. Something to take the edge off. Just as you might find a couple of off-licences on high streets now, Horn believes it won’t be long before there are two shops selling cannabis products.

“CBD will change culture,” he predicts. “People are less interested in drinking in bars, getting really drunk, feeling shit the next day, letting their body down, having issues with their body because of that. The shift is happening: more people are interested in eating healthier, living healthier, and this is part of that. It changes it a lot more than the new iPhone or another pair of trainers, or everything we’ve had since the 90s that’s just different versions.

“It will drastically affect the way the world looks in 20 or 30 years and the way we live.”

But does it work? And does taking CBD do us any good? Philip McGuire is a professor of psychiatry and cognitive neuroscience at King’s College London; he has a special interest in psychosis and started looking into cannabidiol about 15 years ago. One of the first experiments he worked on looked at how cannabidiol works in the brains of healthy people in comparison with the impact that THC has. The results were categoric. “We basically showed that the two compounds have opposite effects on brain function,” says McGuire. “So when THC is making you psychotic, it stimulates certain bits of the brain. And in these areas of the brain, CBD has the opposite effect, essentially, in the same people.” To boil it down: “CBD and THC seem to be pushing in opposite directions.”

In the past five years, McGuire has moved on to do clinical trials of cannabidiol in patients with psychosis, or people who are vulnerable to psychosis. The tests have been done against a placebo, double-blind, and again the results are very encouraging. “We’ve done two phase-two trials and, in both of these, found that cannabidiol reduced psychotic symptoms more than the placebo did,” he says. “So it wasn’t a placebo effect, it really did reduce psychotic symptoms.”

McGuire’s work is ongoing, but he doesn’t hide his excitement about CBD. “It’s the hottest new medicine in mental health by some margin,” he says. “There’s huge interest in it as a potential new treatment.”

Mental health is just one area of investigation for those studying cannabidiol. Perhaps the best-known user of CBD – if you discount Gwyneth Paltrow, who has collaborated through her lifestyle website Goop with the MedMen cannabis store, and a handful of Hollywood actresses who have said they use the oil to reduce the discomfort from wearing high heels on the red carpet – is Billy Caldwell. The 13-year-old from County Tyrone, Northern Ireland, who has epilepsy, made headlines last summer when his cannabidiol medicine was confiscated at Heathrow. After a public outcry, the home secretary, Sajid Javid, intervened and medicinal cannabis oil can now legally be prescribed in the UK. It’s been far from straightforward for the family: Billy recently spent three months in Canada, where medicinal cannabis use is less regulated, but he finally returned home in February.

His medicine is Epidiolex, a purified form of cannabidiol that contains less than 0.1% THC. It has been developed by a UK company, GW Pharmaceuticals, and is recommended for the treatment of two of the rarest and most severe forms of epilepsy: Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome. When it was cleared for use in the US last year, the president of the Epilepsy Foundation called it “a true medical advancement”. Treatment does, however, come at an eye-watering cost, which GW estimates at £28,000 per patient annually.Advertisement

Still, it is hard not to feel that cannabidiol has rare potential as a medicine, and we are only just scratching the surface. McGuire is cautiously optimistic that it’s “as good as it seems to be”. For one thing, in tests so far, CBD does not seem to have produced any major unwanted effects in patients. “In mental health, that’s a big deal,” says McGuire. Another strand is that cannabidiol seems to act on different transmitter systems in the brain to existing treatments. That would make it a new class of treatment, which is significant because it means that, if previous medications or approaches haven’t worked, this one might.

One suspicion about cannabidiol is that it is an impossible panacea: some, for example, claim CBD makes them more relaxed; others that it sharpens their mind to focus on complex work problems. Can it really do both? But, for McGuire, this is less a contradiction and more an indication that we don’t yet know what CBD is capable of and how best to use it. “One of the interesting things about the endocannabinoid system in the body is that it’s not just in the brain but also all over the body,” he explains. “And cannabidiol also appears to have beneficial effects on metabolism, on the immune system and liver function, in addition to its mental health effects.”

McGuire would now like to do a worldwide trial of cannabidiol in large samples to see whether it can be a medicine, not just a research tool. “Patients with psychosis have a life expectancy that’s about 20 years shorter than normal, and that’s because psychosis is associated with poor physical health, especially cardiovascular health,” he says. “And it’s possible that – this has never been tested – but another benefit of cannabidiol in these patients is that it could help with their physical health problems.”

Hearing these testimonies, it would seem perverse, even neglectful, not to use CBD, but where to start? One option is High Tea at Farmacy, a plant-based restaurant in west London. On the menu are a CBD-infused vodka cocktail, CBD truffles (tahini and dark chocolate, and basmati and coconut) and a pot of hemp leaf tea. With extras, it costs £42. “You don’t technically get high from it, it’s just a great play on words,” says Camilla Fayed, who opened Farmacy in 2016. “It definitely draws people in.”

Fayed, the 34-year-old daughter of former Harrods owner Mohamed Al Fayed, first came across CBD in the US in an oil made by Charlotte’s Web. The company is named after Charlotte Figi, a 12-year-old with Dravet syndrome, whose story has many echoes of Billy Caldwell’s. Figi, too, found that her seizures were significantly reduced by taking medical cannabis. Charlotte’s Web was developed in 2011 by six brothers (Joel, Jesse, Jon, Jordan, Jared and Josh Stanley) who crossbred a strain of marijuana with industrial hemp to make products that are high in cannabidiol and low in THC. Its oils start with the entry-level “full strength”, which claims 6.65mg of CBD per ml, and go up to “maximum strength”, which has 60mg of CBD per ml.

For Fayed personally, CBD helped with memory and concentration. “And tiredness,” she adds. “I’ve got two kids, I run a business, we all need a boost. I’d rather have that than a big black coffee every two hours or whatever.” And it made a difference? “Absolutely. General concentration, sleeping better, just an all-rounder. From taking it, in about six weeks, I could basically track the difference in the way it made me feel. So I just thought: ‘Let’s introduce this to the commercial market.’”

Farmacy started in April 2017 with cannabidiol cocktails. One of these, OMG, is delivered in a syringe and blends flaxseed oil, grapefruit and “wildcrafted” CBD. When it arrives, it’s not immediately clear whether you decant it into a shot glass or shoot it straight in your mouth. “Well, plenty do,” advises Fayed. “It’s very Instagrammable.”

Fayed – in common with Horn – is not allowed to make medical claims about the cannabidiol products she sells. (Horn also points out that he cannot advise on dosage and would never recommend that a customer comes off prescribed medication to use CBD.) But at Farmacy, Fayed often hears that the CBD cocktails impart a more ambient buzz on the drinker. “We have a lot of repeat customers, so for us that’s definitely a winner,” she says. “And especially with the alcohol, there’s that adaptogenic effect in the alcohol: people feel less drunk or feel their hangover is less brutal the next day if you’re going to have two or three.”

It can be tempting to see CBD as a triumph of hype or marketing, and Fayed advises caution: for starters, it needs to be really high quality. Farmacy’s CBD comes from Spirit of Hemp in Forest Row, on the edge of the Ashdown Forest in Sussex. It uses organic hemp, hand-harvested in Switzerland and Austria, and after the extraction process, it reintroduces steam-distilled terpenes (what Spirit of Hemp calls “the life force, the quintessential fifth element or the spirit of the plant”). “It’s a real shift in understanding of what Mother Nature has given to us,” she says. “The veil has lifted finally on its benefits, and it’s definitely the beginning of something really big in the natural medicine world. So I don’t think it’s a trend, it’s here to stay.”

Something, though, is missing from the CBD story: proof. And this is the detail that really worries Professor McGuire. He points out that in the trials on psychosis that he’s been involved in, patients might be given 1,000mg of pure cannabidiol in a tablet; the medication for the pharmaceutical treatment of epilepsy could be 2,500mg. Compare this to a drink advertised as CBD coffee or a brownie, which may contain, for example, 5mg of CBD. And there is the issue of bioavailability: how much of a drug your body actually takes into your gut. “Of that 5mg, you might absorb 1mg or less,” says McGuire. “Or none.”

McGuire sighs. “If you look at the labels of the street products, it’s very difficult to know what’s actually in them. And there’s a huge variety between products, so that’s a really important message to get across: that a lot of what people may be taking in good faith may be having absolutely no effect at all, other than a placebo effect.”Advertisement

The distinction for McGuire is that CBD is a nutriceutical – in common with minerals and vitamins – not a pharmaceutical product. This is in large part due to its origins. Cannabidiol was not developed as a new blockbuster drug by a pharmaceutical giant or a medicine to which nobody else had access. Instead, the compound has emerged relatively organically, and pretty much anyone can produce a version of CBD without infringing patent laws. (GW can only patent what is called the “formulation” of Epidiolex.) If you’re no fan of big pharma, this has some advantages: CBD can become widely available and competitively priced. But the downside is that cannabidiol products are not subject to the clinical trials and randomised, double-blind assessments that we might expect from a supplement we are taking to improve our health.

“I’m not trying to be a killjoy,” says McGuire, “but, especially in mental health, the size of the placebo effect is enormous. That’s not to dismiss it, but that’s why in clinical trials, if you don’t give half the people in the trial a placebo, it’s considered junk. It’s not publishable, it’s not taken seriously because, in mental health, the placebo effect can produce a 40% change in symptoms.

“It’s like Prince Charles and homeopathy, it’s a joke. Some of these products have got such tiny quantities that they could never work.”

McGuire concedes that different CBD products will have varying strengths, and he also acknowledges that he cannot say they don’t have an effect – it’s simply that we don’t know for sure either way. And clearly others share his concern. In February, New York became the first major American city to impose a ban on CBD edibles in restaurants. “Until cannabidiol is deemed safe as a food additive,” said a spokesperson from the New York City Department of Health, “the department is ordering restaurants not to offer products containing CBD.” From July, a fine of up to $650 (£500) could be imposed.

There are clear health risks with any unregulated product. The reason that Epidiolex is really expensive, McGuire explains, is that isolating cannabidiol is “intrinsically difficult to do”. He fears that over-the-counter CBD products could have higher levels of THC than either advertised or desired. A 2017 study in the US looked at 84 samples of CBD oils, tinctures and liquids available online and found that only 26 of them contained the amount of CBD claimed; worryingly, 18 of them had more THC than they said. “THC makes you psychotic and anxious and impairs your cognition,” warns McGuire, “so it’s very important that’s not in anything that’s being consumed.”

A longer-term danger, however, is that people will lose interest in cannabidiol, perhaps because they don’t find it has any effect in the product they try, and it will languish as one of those trends we like to make fun of. “I’m slightly anxious that the confusion will muddy the water,” says McGuire. “People will try these homeopathic versions and find that it doesn’t do anything, and then they assume that cannabidiol doesn’t work. Then it will damage the therapeutic potential of what could be a very useful new medicine. It’s a bit like if somebody sold Nurofen at one-hundredth of the effective dose and then found it didn’t work. You could end up dismissing Nurofen as a useful treatment.”

Anecdotal evidence suggests that CBD use skews towards the young and female, but Horn at LDN CBD hasn’t found a gender divide and he has lots of older customers in his shop. He often hears that CBD oil helps with their arthritis, and sometimes that they have been able to open jars for the first time in years. Horn has even got his granny on CBD. He is currently raising funding for two more stores in London, and he would like to have another 10 stores in the major cities of the UK. “Most towns with a Holland & Barrett could have a shop like this,” he predicts.

Horn’s CBD comes from Lithuania and is sold as “ethical and organic”. He accepts that the doses of CBD in the products are significantly lower than might be used in medication or clinical trials, but he’s not sure how relevant that fact is. “From what they are finding out about the endocannabinoid system, little and often of the right product is probably as effective as a huge amount,” he says.

Alongside Horn is LDN CBD’s store manager, Florence Cannon-Orderly, a 30-year-old yoga instructor. She started using CBD to help with premenstrual symptoms. “It’s got much better now, but for a good half of my month I feel extremely challenged,” she says. “CBD has given me the therapeutic benefit without getting stoned.”

Both of them can reel off customers who have found solace in using CBD – though again, they can’t make any medical claims. (The NHS says: “Some products that might claim to be medical cannabis, such as ‘CBD oil’ or hemp oil, are available to buy legally as food supplements from health stores. But there’s no guarantee these are of good quality or provide any health benefits.”)

“There’s one young lad, he’s come off all of his epilepsy medicine, he hasn’t had a fit for two years,” says Cannon-Orderly. “It’s all through CBD, and he was in here talking about how, if you have epilepsy and you haven’t fitted for two years, you can take your driving test. So he was really excited that he could do that.”

Horn interjects: “But we wouldn’t advise people to come off medicine.”

“These are people coming in telling us about their journey,” adds Cannon-Orderly.

“And anyone on medicine, we wouldn’t advise that you take it if you’re on medication,” says Horn. “We say: ‘Go to a doctor first.’”

As Horn acknowledges, he can only tell his own story of the impact CBD has had on his life, and – whatever doubts exist about cannabidiol products – it is a powerful one. “It has just made me a bit less frayed around the edges,” he says. “I still think that I would have done what I would have done, but it helps that rubbing between me and the universe. It helps to oil whatever problems one has or whatever one comes up against. So definitely, for me, it helped my quality of life.”

He runs a hand through his hair and smiles. “And it does still.”