December 2020: a crucial month for cannabis

1. Where do medical cannabis’ restrictions come from?

Single Convention of Narcotic drugs of both 1961 and 1971 classified narcotic substances into four lists, which determine their controls for international trade and group them according to their therapeutic value and risk to public health.

You can consult the original document of both the 1961 and 1971 agreements in the following links:

According to Single Convention of Narcotic Drugs of 1961, narcotic substances are categorized attending to its therapeutic effects in upward order: List IV, List III, List II, List I. Because of this, the substances with are arranged in List IV are considered being harmful and without therapeutic properties. 

“Cannabis and its resins” are included into List IV, in the same classification of substances similar to heroine. In that regard, cannabis sativa plant and their derivatives are affected by the most restrictive controls and because of this their medical potential’s research is hindered.

By Single Convention of Narcotic drugs of 1971, narcotic substances’ classification is opposite regarding Convention of 1961. In this way, ‘tetrahydrocannabinol’ (THC) is scheduled in List I (particularly serious risk to public health and limited therapeutic utility) while ‘delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol’ is arranged in List II (substantial risk to public health and little therapeutic utility).

These historical mistakes, referred to cannabis’ classification in both conventions of 1961 and 1971, would be solved by the next 2nd December in the 63 United Nations Narcotic Commission.

2. What has changed?

By January 2019, World Health Organization Expert Committee on Drug Dependence (WHO-ECDD) recommended cannabis and substances pertaining to reclassification in international drug control conventions in order to facilitate these substances’ trade with medical and scientific purposes

3. What is recommended by WHO-ECDD?

These are points recommended by WHO-ECDD:

  • Cannabis and its resins’ exclusion of List IV related to convention of 1961
  • Add dronabinol and its stereoisomer Δ-9-THC to List I related to convention of 1961
  • Exclude dronabinol y its stereoisomer of List II related to convention of 1971
  • Eliminate THC of List I corresponding to convention of 1971
  • Include THC into List I related to convention of 1961
  • Exclude extracts and tinctures of conventions because of being a complex term to interpretation which include both preparations with psychoactive properties and without them
  • Products containing mainly CBD and no more than 0.2% of Δ-9-THC are not affected by international control due to the fact there is no one risk to public health
  • Add to List III corresponding to convention of 1961 preparations containing dronabinol, produced by chemical synthesis or by cannabis preparations, compounded by one or more ingredients similar to pharmaceutical preparations, in a way dronabinol cannot be removal easily with a yield that constitute a risk to the public health

December 2020: a crucial month for cannabis

December 2020: a crucial month for cannabis

Europe, Cánada, USA, Australy and some southamerican country have come up agreeable to change the actual situation related to medical cannabis. On the other hand, Chinese and Rusia have come up in disagreement about it.

To approval some recommendations simple majority will be required, but for others 2/3 majority will be enough.

In the 62 United Nations Narcotic Commission in 2019, belligerent positions of countries as Rusia, obstructed the Accord beetween the 53 states participants. Serguei Lavrov, Rusian outer minister, during first meeting said OMS’ recommendations were direct way to drugs’ purgatory, although he did not comment nothing about problems caused by alcohol’s consumption in his country.

4. What would be the results?

Everything points to cannabis and its resins’ exclusión of List IV related to convention of 1961 (point 5.1.) will be approved because of simple majority is enough.

If at least cannabis was excluded of List IV related to convention of 1961, it would be a great progression due to the fact cannabis would be included in narcotic substances’ lists warranting control, but not keeping off neither access to preparations referred to these plant for medicine uses or scientific research.

Cannabis’ exclusión of the narcotic substances’ inspection could mean an important step to facilitate medicine use’s regulation in Spain. Spanish Govern, answering a Ciudadans group’s question, pointed in January 2019 that had to wait for United Nations Narcotic Commission’s determination related to cannabis’ inspection modification to take pertinente decisions about its therapeutic use in our country.

From Qualipharma will be heedful to voting’s result in Viena by December 2020 and inform you aboult the final result.

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