Cannabis advocates worldwide rejoice as the World Health Organization calls for a change to the international drug treaties with a recommendation for a rescheduling of cannabis.
On 24th January 2019, António Guterres, Secretary-General of the World Health Organization presented recommendations from the forty-first meeting of the World Health Organization Expert Committee on Drug Dependence’s (ECDD) which stated that cannabis and cannabis resin should be removed from the Schedule IV category of the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs (CND). The two would remain in Schedule I.
The 41st ECDD took place in Geneva at the WHO HQ last November, and during this, critical reviews of cannabis, amongst other substances, were conducted. Results were originally expected back in December, but were delayed.
Guterres’ letter calls for synthetic tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is marketed as the drugs dronabinol and Marinol, to be moved from Schedule II of the 1971 Convention on Psychotropic Substances (CPS) to the least restrictive category which is Schedule I.
The report recommends that both dronabinol and tetrahydrocannabinol (which includes THC and its isomers) be “deleted from the Convention on Psychotropic Substances (1971) and added to Schedule I of the Single Convention on Narcotics Drugs (1961).”
MJBIZDAILY reports that under new guidelines:
- The scheduling of cannabis in the international drug control conventions wouldn’t be as restrictive as it is now, because it would be removed from Schedule IV of the 1961 Convention, the category reserved for the most dangerous substances.
- THC in all forms would be removed from the 1971 Convention and placed with cannabis in Schedule I of the 1961 Convention, significantly simplifying cannabis classification.
- Pure CBD and CBD preparations containing no more than 0.2% THC would not be included in any way in the international drug control conventions.
- Pharmaceutical preparations containing 9-THC, if they follow certain criteria, would be
These recommendations would simplify the scheduling, grouping all forms of THC in the same category as cannabis and cannabis resin.
the World Health Organization Expert Committee on Drug Dependence’s (ECDD) noted:
“The evidence presented to the Committee did not indicate that cannabis plant and cannabis resin were particularly liable to produce ill-effects similar to the effects of the other substances in Schedule IV of the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs. In addition, preparations of cannabis have shown therapeutic potential for treatment of pain and other medical conditions such as epilepsy and spasticity associated with multiple sclerosis. In line with the above, cannabis and cannabis resin should be scheduled at a level of control that will prevent harm caused by cannabis use and at the same time will not act as a barrier to access and to research and development of cannabis-related preparation for medical use.”
These are certainly some exciting developments in cannabis legalisation, but will countries listen? We will keep you updated on further developments as they arise.