CBD should not be the subject of international drug scheduling, says the World Health Organization. The WHO has now determined that the main ingredient in medical cannabis, cannabidiol, is neither addictive nor toxic. It says so in a pre-review report brought forth by the agency's Expert Committee on Drug Dependence that broke the internet. Well, maybe just the marijuana media's corner of it, this week.

The researchers spent months looking into cannabidiol, the non-psychoactive ingredient in marijuana that’s often used for medical purposes, to determine that “In humans, CBD exhibits no effects indicative of any abuse or dependence potential.”

Besides finding no evidence of public health-related problems associated with the using CBD, they also determined through several clinical trials, that CBD can treat epilepsy and several other medical conditions.


WHO’s recommendations on cannabis’ most medicinal molecule.

The report came out in November but drew massive amounts of attention, and inspired some surprisingly incendiary headlines this week when the WHO released their recommendations based on the paper. In it, they acknowledge that:

  • Member states are increasing their interest in cannabis as medicine, especially its application for palliative care patients.
  • Evidence derived from human and animal studies demonstrate the therapeutic value of CBD for seizures due to epilepsy, as well as some other conditions.
  • That CBD is not likely to be abused or create a dependence, unlike that shown by Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).
The WHO cannot endorse the use of CBD until a more robust set of recommendations and conclusions of cannabis and cannabis-related substances comes out in May 2018. But they also don't agree with the prohibitions put on the molecule. In the words of the report: "current information does not justify scheduling of cannabidiol." They see no need for it to be controlled on an international level and believe that regulation should be left up to individual nations.

Cannabidiol is not considered a controlled substance in the 1961 United Nations’ Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, or in the 1972 Protocol amendment of that document.


Changing the DEA’s mind on medical cannabis

In Canada, CBD has been federally legal for medicinal use for years, but the United States' relationship with it is far murkier. The US Drug Enforcement Administration has long held that cannabidiol is a schedule I drug;. They don't differentiate it from marijuana, don't acknowledge its medical use, and believe it is addictive. But according to the WHO's report, the DEA is way off-base with their long-held characterization.

With this remarkable paradigm change, there's still hope that those needlessly suffering from conditions treatable with CBD can get full access to the medicine they desire.

  Posted: Saturday, December 16th, 10:20am a year ago
Profile PictureWritten By: Alana Armstrong

Alana seeks to see cannabis from the perspective of politicians, advocates, entrepreneurs, and consumers. She got her start with a byline in the arts and culture section and crossed over into cannabis after using it medicinally. Current projects include investigations into cannabis and wellness; entrepreneurs of the Green Rush; cannabis for athletes; and the evolution of cannabis laws and culture in Canada.

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