Cannabis charité au Royaume-Uni
2 min

UK: Cannabis Research Charity Rejected By Charity Commission

2 min
Legislation News

Compared to other countries, the UK is still lightyears behind when it comes to cannabis research. While vast progress on the medicinal benefits of cannabis is made elsewhere, the UK’s Charity Commission has rejected a request to found the International Cannabinoid Research Foundation, stating that such research would not benefit the public.

Several countries across the world see vast progress when it comes to cannabis research and policies. Countries such as the Unites States, Australia, Israel and the Czech Republic are now making cannabis available for patients to offer alternatives for the treatment of various medical conditions. It is for this reason the more surprising to see the UK trailing far behind those nations.

While a sea of change in cannabis legislation and acceptance is sweeping the rest of the world, the United Kingdom’s contribution to cannabis research in terms of studies and funding is standing out, but unfortunately because of its virtual absence.

One reason for this is the fact that UK law still deems cannabis an illegal substance, however, the UK isn’t the only nation where this happens to be the case, restricting research. Yet, other countries, among them Spain and Israel are undertaking major research and can benefit from an increased interest by science when it comes to medical cannabis use. The UK doesn’t even have a dedicated centre for such studies.

Jeff Ditchfield, a cannabis campaigner from the UK intended to change this. As the founder of the United Kingdom’s first cannabis cafés some years back, he recently applied to the Charity Commission for permission to found the International Cannabinoid Research Foundation (ICRF).

Jeff Ditchfield

His goal is to raise funds for scientific research into the medical potential of cannabis and cannabinoids, exactly this type of research where we see a big void in the UK. After a lengthy application process and a somewhat cynical response, asking whether he knew that cannabis was illegal, his application was rejected. The Commission stated that his research “would not be in the public’s best interest” and, since cannabis is illegal, any activities undertaken by the ICRF would be political in nature and cannot be deemed charitable.

The refusal of the funding based on grounds that the research would not be to the public’s benefit is noteworthy, if not outright baffling.


One cannot help but have the feeling that the Commission’s findings and their refusal were based on politics alone and not so much on logic. It seems to be suggested that since cannabis is illegal, any related research cannot be beneficial by definition. Clearly, this can be seen as an example of how prohibition restricts progress and how governments are often trading common sense and logic in favour for their political stance.

The issue here is of course that the ICRF would have raised funds for the research of cannabis, with the aim to expand knowledge, a point which the Commission seemed to entirely have missed. Mr. Ditchfield even explained that the ICRF would be conducting research like that which is done elsewhere already, such as currently in Spain where scientists are exploring the anti-cancer properties of cannabinoids, rather than campaigning for a change of laws.


One may even agree with the Charity Commission’s decision, but this would as a result open up questions about the work of other charities, including the Cancer Research UK (CRUK).

According to Mr. Ditchfield, there is a tremendous lack of research into cannabinoids and cancer in the UK. This is noteworthy to mention since we now see promising findings in this area in laboratory trials.

Cannabis research

It is baffling once you learn that the Cancer Research UK lays out the current state of research on their website and this includes links and articles to ongoing studies about cannabinoids and cancer, studies that are funded by the CRUK. The obvious contradiction here is of course that the CRUK conducts research with the same “illegal substance” - the reason given why Mr. Ditchfield's application was rejected in the first place.

The question that remains is of course why the Commission is blocking this type of beneficial research for one organization and not the other. For some, it may almost seem as if the government actively opposes finding scientific proof for the medicinal benefits of cannabis, maybe because this would show that their current positions on cannabis have no merit.



Written by: Georg
Based in Spain, Georg spends a lot of his time not only geeking out at his computer but in his garden as well. With a burning passion for growing cannabis and researching psychedelics, Georg is well versed in all things psychoactive.

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