2023 and CBD by Professor Mike Barnes

2023 has been a year of consolidation for the CBD industry. 2022 featured the infamous Novel Food debacle which really put the industry into a spin. Many small companies closed. To be positive about it, the companies still trading are stronger and more robust and now likely to be around for the long term – among them, of course, Serena Organics.

What about research? Most CBD research has been understandably medically focused. The over-the-counter CBD industry is not able to comment on the medical benefits of CBD when selling their products, which in my view is a pity as the majority of people using CBD regularly use it for medical purposes. One study showed that 62% of CBD users were using it for a medical condition. This was mainly for chronic pain, sleep, anxiety and depression. About two thirds of users felt that CBD alone treated their condition very well or moderately well by itself with 30% feeling it treated their condition well in combination with conventional medicine. The great majority learnt about CBD from family and friends or the internet, with only 10% learning about potential benefits from their physician. That can’t be right and in my view shows that companies should be able to tell the public responsibility and fairly about the possible medical benefit, particularly for those conditions. It is not right for everyone and shouldn’t be given to everyone and having an honest discussion about whether it is right for you can only be helpful, surely?

In the wellness space then there is evidence of benefit for aches and sprains, sleep and for calming and relaxation (the wellness equivalent of pain, sleep and anxiety to be honest).

The overwhelming evidence that CBD is helpful for those with drug-resistant epilepsy, especially children, still grows. Sadly, that message has not permeated to the NHS community and most children are still prescribed privately.  

Many will have read about the FSA recommendation that people should take a maximum of 10mgs CBD daily. I have to say that that is nonsense. I am not aware of any evidence to back up that recommendation and the FSA refuses to release any evidence on which that was based. Why? I don’t understand the motivation behind this frankly daft recommendation. The UK drug authorities have approved a CBD medicine for children with epilepsy who commonly use up to 100 times that dose quite safely! That puts this recommendation into context! Australia has a maximum dose recommendation of 150mgs daily. Perhaps 2024 will bring some clarity and sense.

So, in 2024 I hope we will see further acceptance that CBD industry provides not only a valuable and generally safe wellness and medical product but provides thousands of jobs and is a significant contributor to the UK economy. It’s time the politicians and regulators realised that and embraced the industry.  


Professor Mike Barnes

December 2023

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