A commission in the United Nations has voted to have medical marijuana removed from the category of the most dangerous drugs in the world. This is a long-delayed and highly anticipated devotion that can pave the way for more research and studies to be made on this plant.
The Commission for Narcotic Drugs, which is based in Vienna and is composed of 53 member states has considered the World Health Organization’s recommendation to reclassify cannabis and its derivatives. However, this has focused more on one of the key recommendations to remove cannabis as a Schedule IV drug, which places it alongside other powerful and very addictive opioids such as heroin.
Some experts also said that the vote may not affect loosening controls internationally as each of the nation’s governments still has full jurisdiction on how they prefer to classify any drug such as cannabis. However, many countries keep an eye on global conventions and use their actions as guidance and the UN’s approval is very symbolic towards the advocates of the changes in the drug policies, who claim that the international law is outdated.
An independent drug policy researcher who has closely followed the voting positions of the member states says that this win is huge and historic and is exactly what they have aspired for. He said that cannabis has been used throughout history for use medically and the vote has given back its old status as a medicinal plant.
This change is likely to increase medical research and efforts for legalization worldwide.
Medical marijuana also has exploded recently through the years and new products that are derived from cannabis like CBD, a non-psychoactive compound, have flooded the health and wellness industry. Furthermore, an investment and financial services company has published an estimate that the CBD industry in the US will be worth around $16 billion by 2025.
Research also suggested that Cannabidiol or CBD is able to provide protection to our nervous system and provide a remedy for pain, seizures, inflammation, and anxiety. The list of CBD and CBD infused products like oils, creams, ointment, serums, and soda water and juices are also expanding and growing rapidly.
The first recommendation for the classification change was made by WHO or the World Health Organization in 2019. However, there was some politicking reason why there were unusual delays in the UN commission’s voting.
The reclassification has won with 27 in favor and 25 opposing with Ukraine abstaining. The US and the European nations are those that are in favor and some countries who oppose are China, Nigeria. Egypt, Russia, and Pakistan.
The delegate from China says that despite the move of the UN, they will still strictly control cannabis to protect people from abuse and harm.
Then the delegate from Britain says that the vote was in accordance with the evidence found scientifically regarding the therapeutic benefits of it, however, they will still support international laws and controls over cannabis as marijuana is still to be considered as a serious risk to the public health.
These different messages show the complexities behind making the decision.m It was referred to as a diplomatic circus by one of the attendees as it has been seen that some countries like France initially opposed switching and eventually became in favor.
An executive director of the Veterans for Medical Cannabis Access, an advocacy group in the US says that this change in the laws internationally can help lessen the suffering of millions of people worldwide, and can assist in mitigating the reliance of some patients on strong opiates, emphasizing that cannabis is a valued medication that can provide relief to pain in its unique way.
Also during the voting, the UN commission has rejected another proposal to consider and include the other cannabis derivative which is the THC in the 1961 convention, which could have tightened some of the controlling laws around it.
This change in the policy towards cannabis, particularly around legalization for its medical uses, has progressed rapidly over the recent years. Insiders of the industry are expressing hope that the vote will bring in more research into the benefits of the drug therapeutically.
Furthermore, aside from the financial boom, it can bring into the European and American cannabis markets, the downgrading of the risks and dangers of marijuana may impact countries that have conservative policies the biggest like many of the Asian and the Caribbean nations.
So experts have also said that the vote does not mean that cannabis will be legalized worldwide but this can be a watershed for patients who need it most at the moment.