How Cannabis Works

Cannabis has been used for medical purposes for thousands of years.

Cannabis contains cannabinoids, active compounds that stimulate the body’s natural endocannabinoid system (ECS) by binding to its receptors. The ECS is a complex cell-signalling system that plays a role in regulating a range of functions and processes in the brain, nervous system and elsewhere in the body such as pain, mood, inflammation and sleep.

The most researched cannabinoids found in cannabis are cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).  Both interact with the ECS and both have medicinal benefits but THC is the more psychoactive compound that produces the euphoric sensation associated with cannabis.

Terpenes, naturally occurring chemical compounds found in plants and some animals, also have a crucial role to play.  Not only are they responsible for the different smells and tastes of different cannabis strains, but they are also believed to positively contribute to the medicinal benefits of cannabinoids through an “entourage effect”.

How Cannabis is Regulated

In November 2018, UK regulation was amended to allow doctors on the specialist register of the General Medical Council to prescribe medical cannabis.  These prescribed products are known as Cannabis Based Products for Medicinal Use (CBPMs) and have more stringent regulatory requirements than over the counter CBD wellness products.  A small number of CBPMs are licenced by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) for specific conditions, but the majority are unlicenced and can be prescribed by specialist doctors at their own discretion.  Ananda products will be unlicenced CBPMs.

Since medical cannabis was legalised in 2018, patient access has been improving, as evidence gathers to support the use of medical cannabis to treat a range of illnesses and conditions.

However, more needs to be done to improve the quality and consistency of product supply and information available to policy makers, regulatory bodies, prescribers and patients.

Ananda is helping to achieve this through its strain stabilisation, UK cultivation, patient and prescriber focus, and evidence creation.