A RYEDALE businessman is bringing a controversial cannabis-derived product to the area.

Chris Burton will be selling "Surepure" cannabidiol or CBD oil online and in local wholesalers.

The product has been sold in various UK health food shops for a while and in a national chain since the beginning of this year.

Mr Burton, of Burythorpe, said that his product differs from those offered in other health food shops in its significantly higher concentrations of the active cannabidiol component. It doesn’t contain tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, which is the psychoactive component of cannabis that is illegal under the Misuse of Drugs Act.

Mr Burton says it is already creating a buzz, with significant sales, even pre-launch, through social media. “I never expected that response just from starting a Facebook page,” he said.

The cannabis he uses is grown organically on a farm in Spain.

Cannabis oil use has increased significantly in recent years. At the end of last year it was reported that, nationwide, the number of people using cannabis oil had doubled in a year, to 250,000.

Proponents of CBD oil say that the product, taken via drops under the tongue, helps with conditions such as epilepsy, back pain and anxiety.

There are also controversial claims made around its effectiveness in treating cancer.

On its website, Cancer Research UK explores at length the research that has gone into cannabinoids. It describes them as “interesting biological molecules”, but says there are “a lot of unanswered questions around the potential for using cannabinoids to treat cancer.”

Mr Burton said that in addition to the oil there are a number of other products in the pipeline, including a flavoured CBD vapour and a CBD beer. “I’m really excited about that,” he added.

However its connections to cannabis continue to make it controversial and it is banned in some American states such as Indiana.

In the UK, according to the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), CBD oil can only be prescribed as a medicine if licensed.

But this rule can be circumvented if the oil is sold as a food supplement.