WHO Contemplates Rescheduling Cannabis

World Health Organisation - medical cannabis
Image: walesjacqueline

A very important gathering has finished up in Geneva – the 40th meeting of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Expert Committee on Drug Dependence (ECDD), which is examining cannabis scheduling.

“The current international policies on cannabis are outdated and are having a detrimental impact on patients in the United States and worldwide,” said Steph Sherer, Executive Director of Americans for Safe Access, “Furthermore these policies do not reflect the reality of over 30 countries globally that have passed medical cannabis laws.”

It’s hoped that a change of scheduling stance from WHO will exert more influence over countries grappling with medical cannabis, and further loosen laws in countries where it is permitted but access and/or supply severely constrained.

Americans for Safe Access representatives attended the discussions and presented a response to a Critical Review and three Pre-Review reports on previous WHO work on various aspects related to medical cannabis:

In December last year, the ECDD declared current evidence does not justify the scheduling of cannabidiol.

The subsequent Critical Review report, which is an expansion and update of that initial pre-review report, can be downloaded here. It states CBD, which can be extracted from industrial hemp, has demonstrated medical benefits, is generally well tolerated and has a good safety profile. Furthermore, there has been no evidence of the recreational use of CBD (it doesn’t produce a “high” like THC) and there have been no public health related issues through its use in a pure form. There have also been no case reports of abuse or dependence on CBD.

“The reports posted by WHO are supportive of nations considering rescheduling or de-scheduling CBD, pure-THC, cannabis, and cannabis extracts,” said ASA Chief Science Officer, Jahan Marcu, Phd.

The Expert Committee on Drug Dependence is comprised of an independent group of experts in the field of drugs and medicines who assess the health risks and benefits of the use of psychoactive substances.

The 40th ECDD was a specially convened session dedicated to carrying out pre-reviews of cannabis and cannabis-related substances.