High hopes for ‘first hemp care store’

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Londoners looking for a solution to ageing skin, body aches and other ailments can add hemp to their bathroom cabinet after the opening of the UK’s “first cannabis pharmacy”.

The store, which sells mainly oils and hand creams rather than medicines, is situated in the affluent southwest London suburb of Twickenham.

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Carun Pharmacy, the UK arm of Carun, a Czech company, is not the first in the country to sell hemp health products. The Body Shop launched its hemp range nearly 20 years ago.

According to Carun’s website, a 105ml tub of “all-purpose hemp ointment” costs £16.99, while 200ml of “hemp intimate hygiene gel” sells for £11.99.

Michal Takac, the company’s managing director in the UK, was previously a printing plant worker and lost three fingers on his left hand in a workplace accident.

He says he was inspired to bring Carun to the UK after using their products on his injuries. “We are made by nature and we should be treated by nature,” he added.

The items contain small amounts of tetrahydrocannabino (THC), the psychoactive chemical that gives cannabis its appeal and are made from hemp grown in the Czech Republic. The creams, which contain about 0.3 per cent THC, will not give users a high, the company said.

Dr Ben Whalley, professor of neuropharmacology at the University of Reading, cast doubt on Carun’s claims about the health effects of its products, saying they had not been proved in “valid human clinical trials”.

Professor David Nutt, who heads the Centre for Neuropsychopharmacology at Imperial College London, added: “It’s not impossible that low dose THC can be useful — just not proved.”

But while there is little evidence of the health benefits of cosmetic products containing trace amounts of THC, the use of cannabis in healthcare is growing.

GW Pharmaceuticals, a British company that makes medicines from cannabis, recently raised $180m in New York via a share issue to fund the development of a treatment for childhood epilepsy.

The company, which is listed in New York and London, grows cannabis in England at an undisclosed location, with permission from the government.

financetimes 

Source: http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/26f5bcfc-fa2b-11e4-a41c-00144feab7de.html#axzz3tov33ftC

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