Hemp - western medicine

Many research groups are studying the medicinal uses of hemp, to see if it can be used to treat diseases without causing ill effects. However, until there are changes in the legislation in Britain the medicinal use of cannabis is banned and it should not be used to treat any medical condition.

Potential

There is a great deal of interest in the use of cannabis for patients with cancer undergoing chemotherapy treatment. It is reported to lessen nausea, decrease pain and stimulate the appetite. Scientists are considering whether, like morphine, it could be used in the palliative care of terminally ill patients. Hemp is also being studied because it decreases muscle spasms in patients suffering from muscular dystrophy and multiple sclerosis.

Safety

There are reports of serious side-effects associated with the use of cannabis. These are a serious drawback to the use of cannabis as a prescribed drug.

In some parts of the world cannabis can be smoked or used as a herbal medicine but this is not the case in Britain. In Britain it is classified as a Class C drug and should not be taken or passed onto others. Farmers cannot grow hemp in Britain unless they have a government licence, and currently only hemp with less than 0.3% tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) can be grown for use as a fibre crop.

This information is provided for general interest only. It is not intended as guidance for medicinal use. Further information on using herbal medicines is available.