WHO changes position on medical cannabis after 60.
WHO requests that cannabis in plant form and its resin be removed from Annex IV: the most restrictive category of an 1961 drug convention signed by countries around the world.
Geneva, Switzerland, January 31 2019: The status of cannabis in international law is updated.
The World Health Organization (WHO), the only agency mandated to do so, has formally evaluated all available evidence and makes scientific recommendations on the therapeutic value and harm of Cannabis sativa L.
The highly positive result clearly recognizes the medical applications of cannabis and cannabinoids, reintegrates them into the pharmacopoeia, balances harm and repeals de facto the 1954 WHO's position that "there should be efforts for the abolition of cannabis of any legitimate medical practice ".
The organization also wants the THC and its isomers completely removed from a separate 1971 Drug Treaty and added to 1961 Convention Table I. Indicated the official document.
Until now, they have been designated as 2 listed in Appendices I and IV: the IV is reserved for substances considered particularly harmful and whose medical benefits are limited. This is different from the US federal system, where Schedule I is where the most dangerous and most regulated drugs, such as heroin or LSD, are classified.
WHO is also working to clarify that the cannabidiol and CBD preparations not containing more than 0,2% THC are "not at all under international control". Previously, the CBD was not included in international conventions, but the new recommendation is to make this even clearer.
Such a move is a major breakthrough in international cannabis policy and a clear victory over policy evidence. Policies will be global and reforms inspired at the national level. Many countries rely on the Treaty's lists: the changes will affect them directly. Countries with their own calendars will be relaxed in their reforms. In addition, other international bodies such as INCB (International Narcotics Control Board) will now provide guidance to countries and monitor access to and availability of cannabis and cannabinoids in our global health systems. Their next report, expected in February, will provide an overview of their new position.
53 countries now have to approve these WHO recommendations, thus amending the annexes to the Convention if simple majority voting is positive. Originally scheduled for March 2019, it is quite possible that the two-month delay in the publication of the results postponed the vote to March 2020.
WHO has shown great determination in formulating these firm recommendations: they must now be understood, respected and applied.