The U.K.’s Medicines & Healthcare products Regulatory Agency has reclassified cannabidiol (CBD) as a medicine, according to an International Business Times report. Officials based their decision on the claims that the cannabis-derived substance is a therapy for treating serious diseases and are hoping that the move will lead to further research on its potential benefits.

Gerald Heddel, MHRA director of inspection and enforcement, said the agency made the decision after a reviewing CBD products and “quite stark claims” by some people “about serious diseases that could be treated with CBD.”

“It was clear that people are using this product with the understandable belief that it will actually help,” Heddell said in a Sky News report the day before the decision was officially announced.

Under the new rules, the MHRA plans to allow the production of products containing the ingredient and will conduct research into the safety, quality, and effectiveness of CBD as a medicine. The agency expects that the measure will cut down on unregulated CBD purchases made on the online, informal, market which could contain other, potentially harmful, chemicals.

“MHRA will now work with individual companies and trade bodies in relation to making sure products containing CBD, used for a medical purpose, which can be classified as medicines, satisfy the legal requirements of the Human Medicines Regulations 2012,” an MHRA spokesperson said.

According to an RT report, 18 companies have been advised of the rule change.

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