Peter Reynolds

The life and times of Peter Reynolds

The Truth About Sativex

with 49 comments

Sativex is super strong, concentrated cannabis.  Nothing more, nothing less.

GW Pharmaceuticals would have you believe that it’s a “pharmaceutical” product because according to its research that’s what patients prefer.  As the GW spokesman puts it, “It’s a pharmaceutical solution, formulated with the ability to deliver a precise dose and with stringent standards of quality, safety and efficacy”.

In fact, what GW does is grow high quality cannabis under pretty much the same conditions as most illegal growers.   It uses clonal propagation to ensure consistent levels of cannabinoids.  Lighting and hydroponic nutrition is computer controlled with automatic ventilation. It really is no different from the most sophisticated and efficent illegal cannabis farms.  It’s a recognised and proven technology now also used by Bedrocan in Holland, the Dutch government’s exclusive medicinal cannabis grower and Gropech in California which is building a new 60,000 sq ft facility in Oakland for a crop worth $50 million per year.

Bedrocan Grow

The difference between these crops from legal and illegal growers is insignificant.  It’s similar to buying your tomatoes from the supermarket or the farm shop.

GW Grow

GW takes its high quality cannabis, chops it up and makes a tincture by heating it under pressure with CO2 and then adding ethanol to precipitate an oil. Then, with the addition of a little peppermint oil to mask the taste and some preservative, the filtered liquid is packaged into tiny little aerosol bottles.  Each spray delivers 2.7mg of THC and 2.5mg of CBD.  What GW doesn’t tell you that it also contains all the other 100+  cannabinoids found in the plant, each of which has its own mechanism of action and effect.  It also contains flavonoids, terpines and other compounds.  Everything that is found in the plant.

Illegal Grow

I applaud GW Pharmaceuticals for bringing the enormous benefits of cannabinoid therapy into the 21st century. It’s nothing new though. The medicinal value of the plant has been known and widely used for thousands of years.  Only in the last century has it been demonised by lies and propaganda.  It would be a mistake though to think that Sativex is anything different from the plant itself.  It’s just been wrapped up in a marketing and physical package which has enabled stupid and cowardly politicians to accept it.

In fact, Sativex remains just as illegal in Britain as herbal cannabis.  Even though it has received MHRA approval for use in the treatment of MS spasticity and may be prescribed by a doctor, it remains a schedule 1 drug under the Misuse Of Drugs Act.  The Home Office has indicated that it intends to amend the law but has not yet done so.  This means that any pharmacist who dispenses Sativex at present is guilty of exactly the same criminal offence as any street dealer in weed or hash.

The Home Office will, of course, turn a blind eye to this but not to medicinal herbal cannabis even though, in every sense, it is identical to Sativex (except that Sativex also contains alcohol and peppermint oil).  The stark idiocy of British law is revealed.

Never before has there been a better example of the how the law is an ass and so are the spineless politicians who support it.

49 Responses

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  1. Hi Peter, good post.
    Keep it up!


    October 23, 2010 at 4:23 pm

  2. […] The Truth About Sativex « Peter Reynolds. […]

  3. I have often wondered about the whole contradiction of Sativex. After all is just “Skunk oil in a bottle”. All the media hype and scaremongering about high THC strains and government propaganda against cannabis users, then they allow the production and sale of Sativex, madness.

    This is nothing more than a illegal grow op allowed by the government. Just because its done by a pharma company apparently its ok to do that. Really when will this utter madness end? I wonder what it’ll take for the government to turn a blind eye to the avg grow op?…, maybe £1mil turn over with shareholders?, the whole situation makes me sick.

    Dont get me wrong im glad that somehow they’ve been allowed to do this to help out MS sufferers but the whole thing just wreaks of government farce and ignorance. Who knows though eh? maybe its not ignorance. If i put my tin foil hat on, id probably say that its been done on purpose with a great deal of thought to attempt to lift the years of misinformation from government about cannabis in general.

    Really why cant they just come out and say outright they have been wrong on both medical and recreational cannabis. They probably think they will loose credibility, personally i think the opposite, in the long run it would probably earn a great deal of respect, not to mention money saved along with thousands of cannabis users been freed from the worry of been busted…., prohibition causing psychosis? …. more than likely.


    October 23, 2010 at 4:45 pm

  4. If only 1% of UK cannabis users are bonafide medicinal users who, in a reasonable system, would have their medicine prescribed by a doctor, then this alone amounts to a demand for around 1000 kilos of cannabis per week.

    At present, this demand is satisfied by illegal growing operations. In the UK, GW Pharma has its own growing facilities and in Holland, the government contractor, Bedrocan, grows high quality cannabis. Both of them use what is essentially just a refined version of illegal growers’ techniques but they are dwarfed by the real pent-up demand.

    As medicinal cannabis becomes more widely accepted, an enormous opportunity arises for a legitimate UK growing operation which would create employment and contribute towards the British economy.

    Please show your support for this idea my emailing me:

    With enough support I intend to apply to the Home Office for a licence.

    Victor Hamilton

    October 23, 2010 at 5:17 pm

  5. Very interesting. Very interesting indeed! Thanks for bringing this to our attention.


    October 23, 2010 at 6:49 pm

  6. Seems like the law is nothing more than a charter for GW to have complete domination of the UK market…
    Employing through taxation, thugs who kick down doors to terrorise competing farmers…burning other peoples` crops….imprisonment for any competitor that encroaches on their market…
    To say nothing of the billions of taxpayer money spent on upholding this bizarre and unfair monopoly of trade.


    October 23, 2010 at 6:59 pm

  7. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by, KyUSMJParty, KyUSMJParty, KyUSMJParty, Peter Reynolds and others. Peter Reynolds said: The Truth About Sativex: […]

  8. Totally correct on almost all of this Peter except for one point: Sativex is a blend of two strains of cannabis – a Sativa and a Ruderalis – which together produce a ratio of 1:1 THC and CBD.

    Otherwise though, yes it is cannabis pure and simple. Indeed it’s what is sold sometimes as “oil”, that brown gooey sticky stuff, only as you say thinned out a lot with alcohol

    And yes, it is still schedule 1, a product with no medicinal value under law. Just as well it’s almost impossible to get I suppose.

    You couldn’t make it up…



    October 23, 2010 at 7:54 pm

  9. Another great piece! Thank you.

    I read the patent a few months ago, it is basically a hash process.

    I’m ambivalent on this too, on one hand, if it helps just one person, all the better, but I’m sticking with my raw form of therapy.

    Also, it is of some noteworthy point that Professor Pertwee spoke out FOR regulation, you would have thought this would have been some conflict of interest.

    I’ve come to the conclusion, to speak churlishly, that GW are “the good guys”. Anyone with a spare 45minutes should have a watch of this video, the first few minutes are interesting:

    Jason (HomeGrown Outlaw)

    October 24, 2010 at 1:05 am

  10. I’m not one to quote myself Peter please don’t think that but with regard to your quite valid observation about the HO I wanted to point to something I published on the CA home page in 2004 … “whilst allowing pharmaceutical companies to rape our sacred herb for any profit which may be made, our leaders still insist it has no medical value and prosecute those who dare to give it freely as a medicine, such as THC4MS and BudBuddies.”

    THC4MS and BudBuddies were prosecuted out of existence around about the time GW Pharma were given the green light to grow their own cannabis at Porton Down. I’m not a conspiraloon, all this is freely available and you probably know it already.

    Hope enough people take this up to bring it into the gaze of the full media.

    faith and patience

    Rev. Paul

    October 29, 2010 at 6:22 pm

  11. Just heard that the decision on suitability of drugs is to be take off NICE and given back to doctors. Does this mean the doctors will be able to over-rule the PCTs that have outlawed Sativex?

    Rev. Paul

    November 1, 2010 at 11:35 pm

  12. Hey dig the old stoner tending the plants man!

    John Hooton

    November 5, 2010 at 6:18 am

  13. This is bad… someone should do a quick patent check, i’m starting to get that “just got screwed” feeling.
    Also, why no links, where’s this story coming from?

    Ender Wiggin

    November 9, 2010 at 7:48 am

  14. , Rick Simpson – Run from the cure.


    November 9, 2010 at 9:24 am

  15. […] here’s a very well written article showing how this whole thing may not be quite what it seems. You may also like these:Spray on Cannabis is coming to EuropeWest Yorkshire Police Mistake Stove […]

  16. This just goes to show that Peter Reynolds doesn’t have a clue what he’s writing. Where’s the truth Peter! You’re more scaremongering than the government.

    Doc Saltdean

    November 19, 2010 at 10:14 am

    • Hello Doc. Believe me, I know exactly what I’m writing.

      Do you want to debate?

      Do you have an argument that is worth a response?

      I am ready to engage with you. Hot, wet, panting and ready.

      Give it to me.

      What do you have to say?

      What or which is the truth?

      Come on Doc, come close.

      Explain yourself.

      Peter Reynolds

      November 19, 2010 at 10:38 pm

      • What is the truth about sativex? Rick Simpson uses alcohol. Pharmaceutical companies will abuse. At least it’s something, why protest about it? Are you qualified or have more knowledge than what you’ve typed?

        Doc Saltdean

        November 20, 2010 at 2:56 am

      • I really don’t understand your point Doc. The truth about Sativex is that it is cannabis. It has been brought to market on the back of what I would call a white lie – that it is some sort of super scientific, pharmaceutical extract of cannabinoids. In fact it’s just a very old fashioned tincture made by marinating high quality weed in alcohol.

        I’m not protesting about it. I’m all for it and I applaud GW Pharma for its efforts. Now that it’s achieved what it has, the truth about cannabis is closer to being recognised.

        Am I “qualified”? Yes thank you. I’ve been writing about cannabis for more than 30 years and I make it my business not just to be well informed but fully informed.

        What’s your real agenda Doc? What exactly are you trying to achieve?

        Peter Reynolds

        November 20, 2010 at 3:09 pm

  17. No, I don’t understand your point!
    We all know it’s cannabis!

    What is your real agenda?
    What are you trying to achieve?

    Funny they’re the same questions I ‘m asking you!

    Why do you not give advice on how people can get hold of it?
    How much oil is inside?
    Can you evaporate the alcohol to leave the oil?
    Can you vapourise it?
    Can you spray it on the body?
    How much is produced per year?
    How many patients are able to obtain sativex?
    What are the listed side effects?
    Do any political figures use sativex?
    Where are the statistics for the different reasons for use?

    I haven’t got time to advise you what you should put in your blog, mind you what do you expect, the ratio of writing to pictures is comparable to the Sun!

    Doc Saltdean

    November 20, 2010 at 11:13 pm

    • This is not a forum for your rather silly questions. If you want to continue to participate here, do not waste my time and mind your manners.

      Peter Reynolds

      November 21, 2010 at 10:30 am

  18. I think Peters gone on holiday!

    Doc Saltdean

    November 21, 2010 at 9:57 am

    • Mind your manners and grow up.

      Peter Reynolds

      November 21, 2010 at 10:30 am

  19. One interesting point, laterally, is that if Sativex is approved and licensed, then quite clearly, there can be no reason why other companies and individuals should not produce their own.
    The formula and process is so clearly simple, a teenage child could comprehend the task.
    In fact, if agricultural companies from Asia or Africa were to produce such a tincture, the market price would fall to pennies.
    British hospitals could even grow their own, sick patients could help tend the plants, a real cost-saver


    November 21, 2010 at 10:24 am

    • I agree with you Will. Certainly no reason why others should not make their own tincture of cannabis but, as you well know, it’s not reason or common sense that’s at work here. It’s the law!

      Peter Reynolds

      November 21, 2010 at 10:33 am

    • Two things would prevent that happening Will: The strains of cannabis grown are owned by GW phamrms and they won’t allow anyone else to grow them except under licence – and the method of delivery – the spray – is also patented.

      Now the only thing that makes SATIVEX in any way “special” or “different” from cannabis is the fact that it is a blend of two specific strains, both grown under exacting conditions so that the product has a consistent 1:1 ratio of THC to CBD and each squirt from the patented delivery system gives a precise dose.

      So no, a hospital can’t grow it’s own “SATIVEX”, but purely because of copyright law, not because of plant biology.


      November 21, 2010 at 10:45 am

  20. There we go again, Peter with his stirring stick.
    The reason you won’t be able to make your own sativex is the same reason you can’t distill, the law!
    Was that childish enough for you Peter?

    Doc Saltdean

    November 21, 2010 at 2:50 pm

    • I’m grateful that you haven’t descended into bad language and abuse as you did on the BMCR Facebook page but your contributions here are inane and meaningless. You’re wasting your own time and that of my other, more considered readers.

      If you’ve got something worthwhile to say then please say it.

      Peter Reynolds

      November 21, 2010 at 3:55 pm

    • Peter with HIS stirring stick?

      i believe the only one stirring is you Doc Saltdean. after all are you not the one on Peters wordpress?

      Peter was not coming at this point as a medical advisor, he is pointing out the fact that GW grow the same stuff that if anyone else grew it would be breaking the law, its hypocritical law at its finest and is undoubtedly wrong. i have MS and there are plenty of websites and books out there that do have all of the information you said should be included. the problem isnt finding information about it the problem is that it is very difficult, even for me to get hold of. That combined with the fact that its effectiveness is questionable in comparison to smoked cannabis.

      if you object so much why do you not make your own and include all the things that you say need to be included? and stop whining on a site of someone who actually has some guts to stand up and say what he KNOWS is the truth.

      Peter, good on you and i hope to see more great articles soon



      January 18, 2011 at 3:11 pm

  21. For the record and in case anybody hasn’t seen it, here is the BBC Inside Out programme about Sativex.

    Peter Reynolds

    November 25, 2010 at 9:29 pm

    • many David Cameron should watch this, he might learn a thing or two


      April 11, 2011 at 3:37 pm

      • Cameron could tax us,the cannabis tax could pull our country out of the s##t,n I wouldn’t be breaking the law.

        Suzanne Aylieff

        February 17, 2013 at 10:48 pm

  22. >I applaud GW Pharmaceuticals for bringing the enormous benefits of cannabinoid therapy into the 21st century.

    And herein, IMO, lies a deep-rooted problem within the UK campaign. I believe that we are too quick to try and catch the crumbs that fall from the master’s table. Cannabinoid therapy has been around for a long time. GW Pharm did not invent it. Medicinal cannabis has been legal in California since 1996 because of the acknowledged THC medicinal properties of cannabis sativa. Let us not overlook the fact that GW Pharm are in this as a business, for profit, and that by all recent Press reports, their business is booming.

    The advent of Sativex signifies the death knell for any future opportunity for cannabis users in the UK to be able to grow their own plants. The UK campaign is in for a dark time indeed if we don’t act fast to stem the flow of acceptance of cannabis pharm meds.

    We need some vision here to counteract the imbalance and injustice of meeting an intransigent government brick wall every time we try to move the campaign forward.

    I do not believe that we should be so eager to embrace the advancement of cannabis pharm meds. To do so is detrimental to the UK cannabis campaign, IMHO, in every sense – to every cannabis user – because nobody will be going to see the pro-legislation of cannabis buds and nobody will be able to legally grow their own plants. I believe that we need to resist the cannabis pharm meds prescription model as hard as we possibly can. If we do not, then I believe that we are going to see a major roll out of Sativex and cannabis will be locked inside of the medicine cabinet forever – with cannabis and plants still prohibited under the MoDA 1971. THIS IS THE TRUTH ABOUT SATIVEX – this is what every UK campaigner needs to keep in mind.

    I wish to make it very clear that I totally support the MMJ cause in the UK. I just do not believe that it is in the interests of the general cannabis community to support Sativex, or any other proprietary cannabis pharm meds that we might see in the future.

    We have been campaigning TOO LONG for a change to these damn laws. How much longer do we have to campaign? How many of our campaigners, who worked so hard and long, who gave so much to the campaign, have passed on without seeing any change? How many unwell people must continue to suffer? How many more people are going to get criminal records, along with fines or even prison time?

    I offer my suggestion to counteract the current situation concerning two important issues:

    1) the Sativex roll-out and the potential detrimental effect it will have on the cannabis community vis-a-vis bud legalisation and growing and

    2) the current controversy surrounding the Home Office bungling of their interpretation of the Schengen Agreement, with regards to MMJ prescription cannabis coming into the UK from Europe.

    So now we can kill two birds with one stone. I propose that we start an organised group called “UK Medicinal Cannabis Collective” and organise it, with the public face, as a campaign group, rather than a users group (sure to bring down Special Branch.) The purpose of the group being to SPECIFICALLY call for the legalisation of raw medicinal cannabis through a doctor’s prescription. Current gov policy says that raw cannabis has no medicinal value – yet they have approved THC for medicinal use via Sativex. Is not the THC in the cannabis plant the same THC they are extracting from the plant to make Sativex? Of course it is – so what can we deduct from this? I personally deduct from this that this is a statement from the “old boys’ network” – that the government is lying in their continued attempt to keep raw cannabis in the MoDA 1971. Their statement that raw cannabis has no medicinal value is blatant dishonesty and needs to be challenged – and challenged effectively – BY WINNING.

    If the government can licence GW to have a legal grow-op then they can also be capable to develop a similar grow-op system for prescription buds for MMJ folk. Holland has done it – so why not the UK? There is strength in numbers – I believe that this can be done.

    UK gov says that a Dutch person can legally be in possession of cannabis buds in the UK, if they are prescribed in Holland? OK, so let’s use this Dutch person to legalise for Brits too. The members of the “UK Medicinal Cannabis Collective” could then club together, according to ability, to bring one Dutch MMJ user over from Holland, every month, along with his/her prescription cannabis. We call the Press to a certain timed event, where the Dutch user lights his bong in front of the Police and in many prominent public places during his/her visit. Members of the group turn out at each event with banners etc. and make a big noise against this current injustice against British citizens. The mainstream Press and the Group Publicity Officer then report these events – every month, with photos, videos etc. and push it all every which way possible.

    Seeing that UK gov are currently resisting so hard against MMJ bud use then it would appear that recreational users are in for the long haul. If that is the case (and I believe it is) then we need to focus on getting the MMJ buds door open. Jim Starr has succeeded in bringing this issue into the media spotlight. It is only logical that we now work together to take it further to get MMJ buds pro-legislated in the UK.

    The status quo on these two important issues cannot be allowed to continue. WE CAN OPEN THAT DOOR. I call on the leaders of the UK cannabis community to consider to move together into urgent action to work on a single-focus campaign to get MMJ buds pro-legislated in the UK – “UK Medicinal Cannabis Collective.”

    Jayelle Farmer
    Founder & Coordinator
    Pro-Legislate Cannabis UK
    Legalise Cannabis International

    Jayelle Farmer

    November 30, 2010 at 9:29 am

    • I think your attack on GW Pharma is just short sighted and selfish Jayelle. What concerns me much more than any self-obsessed cannabis campaign is that those who are sick and gain relief from cannabis should have access to their medicine.

      Your words “We have been campaigning TOO LONG for a change to these damn laws” reveal your motivation. It should not be about the success or failure of any personal campaign. It is about what actually happens. We now have Sativex. Before there was nothing. That is progress – not perhaps as it suits you but it is real, tangible progress. You have to face the fact that GW has been much, much more successful than you in advancing the cause. Frankly “the interests of the general cannabis community”are trivial and selfish compared to the needs of medicinal users.

      Another campaign group? Do you really think that is sensible or likely to achieve anything?

      I wish you the best of luck.

      Peter Reynolds

      December 2, 2010 at 10:16 am

  23. The Truth About Sativex « Peter Reynolds…

    Here at World Spinner we are debating the same thing……

    World Spinner

    December 3, 2010 at 6:14 am

  24. Big Pharma is fooling us
    by Right Reverend …, December 16, 2010, 02:07pm
    It is my overstanding according to E.C. Danuel Quaintance (famous on the Internet and Court filings for being arrested with his wife Mary while transporting 172 pounds of marijuana in their car and making a religious use claim in defense), “I read the patent for Sativex. G W Pharma added ethyl glycol to the cannabis extracts to get their patent. You can’t get a patent on a natural substance,” an education was given during a telephone conversation before that fateful trip. “I don’t get it,” this commentator ignorantly responded. “Ethyl glycol is anti freeze. They added a poison,” that imprisoned prophet clued in this unrighteous steward one day. And now, the only legal grow in Great Britain is licensed by the Queen to the Germans for adding poison to medicine.

    • Well I think it’s ethanol not ethyl glycol but I wouldn’t want accuracy to stand in the way of a good story!

      Peter Reynolds

      December 20, 2010 at 7:53 pm

      • “Well I think it’s ethanol not ethyl glycol,” admits the writer here who really doesn’t know what’s in the ‘snake oil’ he’s pushing.

      • I wish I understood what you mean. I’m not “pushing” anything. I’m simply trying to reveal the truth about Sativex which has been cloaked in a pharmaceutical mystique, understandably, in order to circumvent the irrational prejudice around cannabis.

        Please explain yourself?

        Peter Reynolds

        December 21, 2010 at 5:57 pm

      • Peter, this was brought forward by a brother in the cannabis sacrament movement. My intention here was to alert you to what I considered to be an important element in Sativex and related a story without checking the facts. The facts are now known and quoted here.

        Brother Gregory,

        I have found a citation. Read the section titled “Nabiximols or Hash Oil? ” found here:

        Once the ethanol is added, the mixture is cooled to minus twenty degrees Celsius for approximately two days. The waxy precipitate is removed by filtration through a twenty micron membrane (which, for perspective, is approximately 100 times the pore-size of a household HEPA vacuum filter) and activated charcoal (which helps to preserve shelf-life). Finally, the extract is dissolved in propylene glycol, a clear, faintly sweet, viscous liquid. When this entire extraction process, from start to finish, is performed in parallel starting with cannabis of two different strain types, one with high THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) content and the other with high CBD (cannabidiol) content, the two resulting extracts are mixed together in a one-to-one ratio, a bit of peppermint flavor is added, and voilà, Sativex® is created.

        The patent Application is also given as a link in that article:

        Brother Dan may have confused “Ethyl alcohol” and “propalyne glycol” into “ethyl glycol” (or that mistake may have been made by the commetator you referenced).

        Still, Wikipedia has this to say about the Human Safety of Propalyne Glycol:
        The acute oral toxicity of propylene glycol is very low, and large quantities are required to cause perceptible health damage in humans; propylene glycol is metabolized in the human body into pyruvic acid (a normal part of the glucose-metabolism process, readily converted to energy), acetic acid (handled by ethanol-metabolism), lactic acid (a normal acid generally abundant during digestion),[9] and propionaldehyde.[10][11] Serious toxicity generally occurs only at plasma concentrations over 1 g/L, which requires extremely high intake over a relatively short period of time.[12] It would be nearly impossible to reach toxic levels by consuming foods or supplements, which contain at most 1 g/kg of PG. Cases of propylene glycol poisoning are usually related to either inappropriate intravenous administration or accidental ingestion of large quantities by children.[13] The potential for long-term oral toxicity is also low. In one study, rats were provided with feed containing as much as 5% PG in feed over a period of 104 weeks and they showed no apparent ill effects.[14] Because of its low chronic oral toxicity, propylene glycol was classified by the U. S. Food and Drug Administration as “generally recognized as safe” (GRAS) for use as a direct food additive.

        So yes, it’s a poison, but at low doses the FDA has approved it for use. I still wouldn’t want to be forced by the market to take anything with that substance without being aware of it. The Wiki article also goes on to mention Allergic reactions in some patients (and sites a Swiss study of it’s effects on allergies in children).

        I’ve found a website that lists common uses:,2-Propanediol.php


        as a moisturizer to maintain moisture in medicines, cosmetics, food, and tobacco products; as a flavoring agent in Angostura and Orange bitters; as a solvent for food colors and flavourings; as a humectant food additive, labeled as E number E1520; as a carrier in fragrance oils; as a food grade antifreeze; in smoke machines to make artificial smoke for use in firefighters training and theatrical productions; in hand sanitizers, antibacterial lotions, and saline solutions as a main ingredient in many cosmetic products, including baby wipes, bubble baths, and shampoos as the primary ingredient in the “Paint” inside a Paintball; as a base ingredient in aircraft deicing fluid and some automobile antifreezes;
        in cryonics;

        So, yeah. Antifreeze, but not the normal “car antifreeze”.

        Hope you find this information Useful.

        Telarus, KSC

        Right Reverend Gregory Karl Davis
        January 20, 2011 at 01:27

  25. Following a long delay, I’ve had another repsonse from the Home Office clarifying their ‘position’ on Sativex. I’m not sure if this is the right post to put it on as those interested might not see it… I’m happy for it to be shared, and will share any further responses.

    But here it is…

    Dear Mr Crooke,

    Thank you for your email of 8 November 2010 about the Government’s position on cannabis. I am sorry for the delay in replying.

    For the purpose of clarification, the Medicines and Healthcare Regulatory Agency (MHRA) advise that Sativex is an oromucosal spray which contains the cannabis extracts cannabidiol and delta-9-tetrahydrocannabidiol. As mentioned in previous correspondence and based on information provided by the MHRA, Sativex was granted Marketing Authorisation following a rigorous evaluation in a programme of non-clinical and clinical studies that establish its safety and efficacy in the approved indication. Data have been evaluated by the MHRA and independent UK experts and demonstrate that the balance between its benefit and risk is positive in this condition. Further information on the assessment process of Sativex leading to its approval is provided in a Public Assessment Report published at

    The MHRA have informed us that in addition to the process of extracting cannabidiol and delta-9-tetrahydrocannabidiol from the plant Cannabis Sativa L, to remove impurities to a level that assures the purity and safety of the final extract, the finished Sativex product is also presented as an Oromucosal Spray. As such, the composition of the finished product is reproducible and known and does not involve ignition to allow administration. A similar analogy can be made with smoking or chewing tobacco and Nicotine Replacement Therapy.

    In respect of the harms of cannabis use, the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs last provided advice to the Government in their 2008 report ‘Cannabis Classification and Public Health’ – available on the ACMD web pages at, along with previous ACMD reports on cannabis. In the 2008 report, the Advisory Council renewed their previous advice that cannabis is harmful. They emphasised that ‘the use of cannabis is a significant public health issue. Cannabis can unquestionably cause harm to individuals and society’. Government views on cannabis may vary between countries. The UK Government’s view is that cannabis is harmful and does not recognise that it has any medicinal value. Its public health message on the harms of cannabis has been consistent, through the use of communication campaigns under the FRANK brand and publication of reports on Government websites. Cannabis is a controlled Class B drug under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 that is illegal to produce, supply and possess. As such those caught undertaking any of these activities are liable to prosecution and face penalties of up to 14 years’ imprisonment, an unlimited fine, or both.

    The Government acknowledges that the misuse of alcohol, despite the substance being regulated and licensing schemes aiming at reducing its availability, accounts for public health problems, including deaths, and social harms. This is why the Government must further intervene in ways that aim to prevent and minimise these harms. However, the means by which alcohol is regulated is embedded in historical tradition and tolerance of responsible consumption; and the licensing controls remain acceptable to the vast majority of people. The way in which the Government regulates alcohol therefore remains distinct from the method by which it controls illicit drugs. In light of the public health issue arising from alcohol misuse, it would seem inappropriate for the Government to legalise any controlled drug.

    Yours sincerely,

    Joseph Ponan
    Drug Strategy Unit


    January 5, 2011 at 1:40 pm

    • Thanks for that Bob.

      Peter Reynolds

      January 5, 2011 at 2:00 pm

  26. I love the last paragraph, basically suggesting that because alcohol control has failed, no other drug should / can be legalised, failing completely to recognise the differences amongst drugs (addiction level, level of harm,etc), this approach probably explains the massive overreaction to ‘legal’ highs…

    So the rationale for criminalising 1000s of cannabis users (and other drug users), is the failure of alcohol control and regulation… Its disgusting.


    January 5, 2011 at 2:24 pm

    • There never has been any rational basis for the prohibition of cannabis and the denial of its use as a medicine is nothing short of obscene. Until those interested in reform can combine as a politically effective force then I’m afarid it’s not going to change.

      Peter Reynolds

      January 5, 2011 at 4:59 pm

  27. People should know these facts, most believe marihuana is dangerous though what is dangerous is the way politicians control everything. I also wrote in spanish about this


    January 18, 2011 at 3:16 pm

  28. It’s time we stopped allowing corporations and politicians to pervert the truth, and simply repeal cannabis/hemp prohibition once and for all.

    With the STRONG possibility of a final and decisive crash of the US dollar THIS YEAR (annual US GDP: 13.7 trillion, US federal debt: 14 TRILLION!!!) the entire planet is on the brink of yet ANOTHER US-caused financial apocalypse…and NOONE is going to have the money to keep locking up non-violent “criminals” for using or “possessing” what is widely known and scientifically documented as a safe, natural, non-toxic plant.

    If they say that Sativex is safe, then that proves beyond a shadow of doubt that cannabis is also safe, and it’s time to end cannabis/hemp prohibition. As a matter of fact, for alcoholics, cannabis would be safer, as they would not risk relapse into alcoholism.

    For those people with chronic liver disease such as alcohol-induced cirrhosis of the liver, the alcohol in Sativex could quite literally kill them…whereas, cannabis itself, in a natural, unextracted form (they call this “plant matter”, or “buds” or “trichomes” or “oil” or…well…you get the idea…) still possesses all the same CONFIRMED medical benefits, but without the potential for alcohol toxicity.

    PS: Back to the idea of ANOTHER US-caused global financial crisis…it’s time to stock up on SEEDS, folks! If international trade gets shut down due to lack of cash, your “clones” aren’t going to be shipped either…but seeds can be stored for years in your fridge/freezer, until you need them…and you just might need them a lot sooner than you might think!

    Natural, unhybridized, LANDRACE seeds are available at among other places (first one that comes to mind), and I’d HIGHLY reccommend that people get as many of those strains in their own personal storage collection as soon as possible.

    It’s time to wake up and see the truth for what it is…it’s time to Overgrow The World!

    (Look for “Overgrow The World” on facebook, or google it TODAY!)

  29. Well, what can I say…

    Firstly, I agree it is encouraging to see any entity get through the prohibition minefield and to secure a production license to produce cannabis to formulate a medicine to help treat the millions of people that have reported huge benefits of THC/CBD. The government must obviously see the benefits of allowing such a product to even exist considering the current classification of cannabis as a harmful substance with no medical benefit? which is the exact reason Peter has written this article, to outline the injustice, the double standards at work here, by this I mean, the current product Sativex is nothing more than a herbal extract of cannabis with very little science behind it other than that of the careful breeding process they have developed to create the desired Cannabinoid profiles required to be best effective and their clinical trials to enable them to best determine the correct dosage required. But the product is still nothing more than a herbal extraction of all of the plants compounds! The only way they could argue it to be a pharmaceutical product would be to synthesize the exact compounds they are interested in and to exactly, precisely dose their product with these synthetic versions of CBD/THC, they could have then very probably secured a patent on just the synthesized blend without adding alcohol but for some reason they chose the fastest, far less accurate option which has now resulted in the government needing to decide if they in fact need to change their current opinion of cannabis from being of no medical benefit to one that reflects its true medicinal value.

    Prohibition really does stink but when it is only enforced to restrict our access to one of natures gifts to mankind in favour of allowing only a corporate entity benefit which will cost the state in the long run when they are buying this product from GW to supply on the NHS, makes very little sense and is certainly a breach of our Human Rights, they have added nothing, taken nothing away from the plant other than the methods of delivery being more precise than eating,smoking or vaporizing the herbal version and added huge costs to accessing this medicine that is available for free from nature, so there is no real justification in them denying us what they are allowing GW to do..


    January 19, 2011 at 2:57 pm

  30. LEGALIZE, n get our country out the shit, n tax us then we won’t have to run to two bob dealers.

    Suzanne Aylieff

    February 17, 2013 at 10:52 pm

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