Washington (CNN)Georgia is on the verge of legalizing medical marijuana after the state assembly passed a bill that would allow for the in-state sale and production of the drug for medicinal purposes.
The legislation, HB 324, closes loopholes created from a 2015 act that legalized the use of low-THC cannabis oil for certain medical conditions but did not allow for the growing, selling or possession of the oil in the state.
The new bill would allow for the “production, manufacturing, and dispensing” as well as the possession of low-THC cannabis oil in Georgia. It would also set up a state commission to oversee the industry and license universities and private companies that could produce the oil. The bill would also allow the state to license pharmacies and private companies that would sell low-THC cannabis oil to medical marijuana patients.
The bill does not legalize the use of recreational marijuana in the state, nor does it allow smoking or consuming marijuana.
According to the Atlanta Journal Constitution, Kemp helped broker a deal between the Senate and House to guard against illegal distribution, which eventually led to the bill’s passage.
“Over the years, I’ve met with children who are battling chronic, debilitating diseases. I’ve heard from parents who are struggling with access and losing hope,” Kemp said, according to the paper. “This compromise legislation is carefully crafted to provide access to medical cannabis oil to those in need. This is simply the right thing to do.”
The state currently allows those suffering from serious conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder, cancer and Parkinson’s disease to use and possess low-THC cannabis oil.
Should it adopt the new regulations, Georgia would join a growing number of states that have passed similar laws setting up medical marijuana programs. So far, 33 states and the District of Columbia have approved the use of medical marijuana, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
Cannabidiol (CBD) – a non-psychoactive component of cannabis – is seemingly everywhere at the moment, from face creams to Martha Stewart’s line of dog food. But beyond the fad, there’s also been a surge of studies looking to sift the science from the bunk and investigate the lofty claims of CBD.
In yet another new study for this field, a randomized and placebo-controlled trial has investigated whether CBD could help curb cravings and anxiety in people with a history of heroin abuse. It’s early days for this small-scale research, but the findings look promising so far.
Published this week in the American Journal of Psychiatry, the results showed that people with a history of heroin use had “significantly reduced” cravings and anxiety linked to drug abstinence compared to the control group. They also experienced reduced physical measures of stress reactivity, such as increased heart rate and cortisol levels. Best of all, there were only minimal side-effects. These encouraging findings suggest CBD could be used as part of treatments to help prevent people from slipping back into cycles of addiction.
“To address the critical need for new treatment options for the millions of people and families who are being devastated by this epidemic, we initiated a study to assess the potential of a non-intoxicating cannabinoid on craving and anxiety in heroin-addicted individuals,” lead author Yasmin Hurd, PhD, from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, said in a statement. “The specific effects of CBD on cue-induced drug craving and anxiety are particularly important in the development of addiction therapeutics because environmental cues are one of the strongest triggers for relapse and continued drug use.”
For the study, they gathered 42 people who were abstaining from drugs and randomly assigned them a dose of CBD – 400 milligrams or 800 milligrams daily – or a matching placebo. They then assessed their state of mind in the very short term (one hour, two hours, and 24 hours), short-term (three consecutive days), and slightly longer term (seven days after the last of three consecutive daily administrations).
The results showed that those who received CBD doses had significantly reduced drug cravings, experienced level anxiety when looking at drug-related imagery, and had more positive vital signs, such as heart rate and blood pressure.
As mentioned, there’s a lot of unverified claims when it comes to CBD. However, an increasing number of studies are finding that it could have some real medicinal benefits, especially for conditions like depression, anxiety, insomnia, and epilepsy. While the mechanism behind these apparent claims is not perfectly clear yet, the research is promising.
Next up, the team hope to deepen their understanding of the mechanisms of CBD’s effects on the brain. They will also look to investigate whether CBD medicinal formulations could be used to address the ongoing opioid epidemic.
Longtime political operative Bradley Tusk got his start in Silicon Valley in 2011, when a little-known founder of a transportation startup requested his help surmounting regulatory barriers. That founder, Travis Kalanick, couldn’t afford Tusk’s $25,000 fee, so Tusk agreed to accept half of his payment in equity. As you can imagine, that deal worked out pretty well for Tusk, whose shares in Uber are now said to be worth $100 million.
Tusk (pictured) spent several years advising Uber’s expansion strategy and, in 2015, decided to turn his efforts into a full-fledged business: part venture fund, part political strategy. Today, Tusk and his partner, Jordan Nof, filed paperwork to raise $70 million for their second venture fund, Tusk Venture Partners II.
A spokesperson for Tusk Ventures declined to comment.
The New York-based firm previously brought in $36 million for its debut fund — capital it used to back scooter “unicorn” Bird; medical marijuana delivery company Eaze; the marketplace for household service providers Handy; cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase; and fintech startup Grove.
In addition to deploying capital into startups, Tusk Ventures lends its political expertise to support companies plagued with regulatory barriers and communications issues, as well as help with grassroots organizing, opposition research and partnerships. Bird, of course, is an excellent example of a company that’s struggled with local politics as it has scaled across the U.S. and beyond. The scooter-sharing company was banned from San Francisco after releasing scooters without permits and has upset local leaders in Santa Monica, Los Angeles and more.
“Our diverse team of regulatory and political experts take on entrenched interests and politicians trying to stifle innovation so our companies don’t have to,” the firm writes on its website. “Our unique model provides startups with access to political, investment and operational expertise that is second to none.”
Tusk joined us last week on TechCrunch’s Equity podcast to discuss mobile voting, his thoughts on Uber’s upcoming initial public offering and sky-high valuation and Saudi money in VC. Listen to that episode below.
Over the past year, hemp and CBD-infused drinks and food have quickly exploded in popularity. With Coca-Cola and other companies rumored to begin testing beverages that contain cannabidiol, which is a non-psychoactive cannabis ingredient, you might be wondering: Will Starbucks ever come out with CBD drinks? Here’s why it might take a while.
If you’re unfamiliar with CBD oil, it’s important to note that CBD, unlike the psychoactive component of the cannabis plant THC, will not make you high upon consumption, according to the World Health Organization. Instead, the hemp-derived substance — which has been legal at a federal level since the Agriculture Improvement Act was passed back in December 2018 — is commonly used to treat symptoms of pain, seizure syndromes, and anxiety, although research about its efficacy and long-term effects is still in its early stages.
Considering the recent uptick in CBD-infused products, which include everything from marshmallows to lotions to gummy bears, customers might be wondering if a CBD-infused coffee could be in Starbucks’ future plans. While the combination might not seem like the most natural mash-up upon first thought — after all, CBD has gained a reputation as a relaxing substance and is sometimes used as a sleep aid while people intake caffeine for a boost in energy. But that’s not the reason you might not see it at your local Starbucks anytime soon. In an email, a Starbucks rep tells Elite Daily, “While we’re always watching trends in the food and beverage space, right now, CBD is not on our road map.”
Don’t think the initially odd-sounding combo of caffeine and CBD is what’s holding the chain back. In fact, the two substances actually seem to work pretty well together when combined, according to some people who’ve tried it. For example, when Elite Daily writer Amanda Fama tried CBD-infused ground coffee by Pure Hemp CBD back in January, she said she felt the fueling effects of the caffeine minus any of the jitters and other negative effects she normally associated with coffee. “Instead of feeling hyped up (like I usually do after having coffee), I felt calm, cool, collected, and ready to start my day,” she wrote.
While her experience sounds promising, companies are only just starting to experiment with adding the substance to food and drinks, and the jury is still out on any potential health risks and benefits of CBD. In addition, the lines on the legality of adding the substance to food and drinks are blurred, as the FDA previously stated it’s “unlawful under the FD&C Act to introduce food containing added CBD or THC into interstate commerce, or to market CBD or THC products as, or in, dietary supplements, regardless of whether the substances are hemp-derived.” New York, California, and Michigan are some of the states that have started cracking down on the use of CBD oil in food and drink.
However, while the use of CBD oil in foods and beverages might be slowly becoming more mainstream, it’s still controversial and I wouldn’t look for it on the menu anytime in the near future at your local Starbucks.
Given that CBD isn’t currently on the chain’s “roadmap,” you’re better off looking elsewhere or planning to DIY a CBD-infused coffee if you so choose.
Still, considering Starbucks’ forays into both ‘Gram-worthy and inventive offerings for spring and summer, something tells me that you won’t miss it with the retailer’s lineup of creative sips to choose from when patio season rolls around.
The long read: Gambling transformed reservations 40 years ago, but often only enriched a few. Could the legal marijuana business prove more broadly beneficial?
In February 2015, amid the cedar masks, canoe paddles and totem poles at the Tulalip Resort Casino north of Seattle, the talk was all about pot. Indian country had been abuzz about cannabis since the previous autumn, when the Justice Department had released a memorandum which seemed to open the way for tribal cannabis as a manifestation of tribal sovereignty. (I grew up Ojibwe on a reservation in Minnesota, and I use the word Indian to refer to indigenous people within the US. I also use indigenous, Native and American Indian. These terms have come in and out of favour over the years, and different tribes, and different people, have different preferences.)
The gathering at Tulalip was technically a legal education conference, so a slew of lawyers in thousand-dollar suits were there, of course, but so were private-equity entrepreneurs, tribal officials and tribal potheads. One of the last a gangly twenty- or thirtysomething wearing Chuck Taylors, a very ripped T-shirt and a headband that held back his lank hair slouched low in his chair and didnt speak a word all day. His companions spoke a bit more, but with the sleepy demeanour of people who have just purchased a dime bag and smoked it all. They didnt talk business as much as they talked relationships: We have a relationship with pot. Its a medicine from Mother Earth. Like, cannabis is tribal. Its consistent with our relationship with Mother Earth.
Wandering among them were tribal small-business owners, people who ran gravel companies or sold smoked fish or espresso along the freeway. They had forked over $500 for lunch and a name tag to explore what marijuana legalisation might mean for their community or maybe to explore where the pay dirt lay at the intersection of legalisation and tribal sovereignty.
The lawyers and policy people gave talks about state laws; the history of marijuana legalisation in California, Colorado and Washington; and the social, cultural and political ramifications of legalisation. Tribal leaders spoke about the ways in which tribal growing could be a whole new revenue stream, if not a new tribal industry. Behind these discussions were coded questions, old and new: How best to provide for a people in the absence of industry and opportunity? How to use tribal sovereignty to the best possible effect? Did tribes really want to invest in another lifestyle economy like tobacco shops, casinos and tourism? No one knew what to make of the potheads.
The received notion reinforced at every turn in editorials and investigative pieces and popular culture is that reservations are where Indians go to suffer and die. They are seen by many Indians as well as non-Indians not as expressions of tribal survival, however twisted or flawed, but as little more than prisons, expressions of the perversion of American democratic ideals into greed a greed rapacious enough to take Indian land and decimate Indian populations, but not quite harsh enough to annihilate us outright.
But reservations are not stagnant places. Despite their staggering rates of unemployment, they are home not only to traditional ways of living but to new tribal business as well. Pot as a tribal industry has a parent: the casino. Arguably, the casinos arrival in Indian country had as defining an effect on the social and economic lives of Indians in the past 50 years as the mass migration of Indians to American cities. Many Indians refer to the time before tribal gaming as BC Before Casino.
By 1987, gaming enterprises were under way across the country, with the biggest concentration of casinos in California and Oklahoma. The courts were still deliberating the questions of rights v regulation, but Indians having waited in so many ways for so many years to have their sovereignty affirmed were not. The increase in funding for tribal programmes throughout the 70s, the emphasis on improving access to education, support for the poor, funding for healthcare all of this positioned Indians to move, and move fast. By the mid-80s, elected tribal leaders had gained 40 years of experience in Indian Rights Association governments, and 40 years of experience in dealing with the Bureau of Indian Affairs and state and federal governments.
They had become expert at playing with soft power, and were prepared to make the most of the opportunity for gaming. Within a year of the tribes winning the right to open casinos in California, gaming was bringing in $100m a year. The door to economic development at least in the realm of gambling seemed to have been flung wide open.
But not so fast: the states, a powerful lobby in their own right, were determined to have a stake in Indian gambling, or at least some measure of control. The federal government felt the same way. So in 1988, Congress passed and Reagan signed the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (Igra), which codified the process by which tribes administered gambling.
After the act was passed, Indian gaming boomed. Revenues grew from $100m in 1988 to more than $26bn in 2009 more than Vegas and Atlantic City took in combined. Despite the influx of money in general, however, gaming changed little for most Indians. This is America, after all. Like all American avenues to wealth, casinos privilege the few and leave out the majority. But, at Tulalip, signs of a possible third way have emerged.
It might seem surprising to suggest that, in order to find America, you need to look at Indian communities and reservations. But its true. The questions posed by Americas founding documents and early history What is the reach of the federal government? What should it be? How to balance the rights of the individual against those of the collective? What is, at the end of the day, the proper role of the federal government in our social structures and lives? How to balance the demands of community and modernity? How to preserve, protect and foster the middle class? are answered by looking at Indians, at our communities and our history.
Two months after the pot summit, I sat across from Eddy Pablo in a Minneapolis casino. He had come armed with notes and handouts about marijuana legalisation, medical uses of marijuana, and tribal dispositions about legalisation and capitalisation at Tulalip. Eddy is about 5ft 10in, with an absurdly strong build, dark skin, small eyes and spiky black hair in a neat crew cut. Hes 31, with three children, and he is on the make.
Ive lived here my whole life. Both my parents are from here. Im thankful for it. He is soft-spoken but gives off a sense that nothing bothers him. Yet there is plainly a kind of seething, sliding, waiting energy underneath his social self. My high school in Marysville was a subtle racist high school. Not so much the kids. But the teachers had no expectations for us. All of us Indian kids were underperforming. If you have low expectations, then thats all the kid will strive for. I wanted to go to college but my sophomore English grade was crappy. They put me in a special reading class.
This was followed by depression and tutoring. He made it to community college but it didnt stick. He ran afoul of the law and landed in jail. After he got out, he got hooked on diving for geoduck (freshwater clams). You dont get to dive very much. Maybe eight days a year. But a boat can make 13k in three hours. Eddy becomes more animated when he talks about being on the water.
The next day he picks me up to go digging for clams on Cama Beach Point. His car is packed with five-gallon buckets, shovels, rakes and his son, Cruz, tucked in the backseat. As we drive, he points out the landmarks. The Tulalip Reservation 22,000 acres of Indian land sits between Interstate 5 and Puget Sound just north of Seattle. It is indescribably beautiful.
Thats where I grew up, he says, pointing at a nondescript house facing a silty bay that was, until relatively recently, thick with salmon. Cedar, until recently, grew down to the shore.
Unlike most tribes, people here are doing all right, economically speaking. In fact, they are doing very well. The median household income at Tulalip is a comfortable $68,000 per year, well above the national average. Tribal members do get a per-capita payment from gaming revenues, though according to Eddy its not more than $15,500 a year.
The tribe, as a collective, as a business, is doing better as well. Every tribal building is new. The tribal office where Eddy picked up our permit is a soaring architectural treasure. Theres also the youth centre, the museum, the cultural centre all of them cedar-clad. Where once the tribes wealth could be measured in fish, it can now be measured in income and infrastructure.
The talk opened with jokes about Boehner and Murphys matching blue blazers, followed by some vague promises from the latter to use his firms funds to push for social justice and programs for veterans.
Asked about how his conservative record jibes with his newfound stance on marijuana, Boehner said, Id really never thought much about it, but as he began to meet more people who used the drug, he started entertaining the idea of getting involved in the booming industry. He said it was an interaction with a wounded veteran who was helped by medical marijuana that started to sway him in that direction.
Yes, it was quite a shock to a lot of people, Boehner said, including his former colleagues in the House. They all tease me about it, but it doesnt matter. He predicted exponential growth in the marijuana industry, which may explain his change of heart more than anything else.
Ive never used the product, Boehner, who is known for smoking cigarettes and drinking red wine, said. Not to say Ill never use it, but I havent used it yet. He said that if he was convinced that marijuana was better than Advil PM as a sleep aid, he would try it for that.
He said hes shocked at how many people are concerned about how Washington is treating marijuana on a federal level. The fact that 33 states have legalized marijuana, he added, shows that the American people are for it.
Washington has just been in the way, he said. And they need to get the hell out of the way.
Yes, it was quite a shock to a lot of people. They all tease me about it, but it doesnt matter.
John Boehner on his new stance on marijuana
In both 2005 and 2007, Boehner voted against amendments that would have prevented the Department of Justice from going after individuals for using or providing medical marijuana. As recently as 2014, he had the chance to vote for an amendment that prohibits states from penalizing banks for working with marijuana businesses and he declined to cast a vote.
Youd be shocked at how hard it is to change the law, Boehner said later, bemoaning the tyranny of the status quo without acknowledging the House Speakers unique ability to bring legislation to the floor.
How are we supposed to believe someone whose voting record has been racist, homophobic and misogynistic? a woman in the audience shouted at one point. Instead of addressing those issues specifically, Boehner touted his own record on criminal justice reform without giving specifics.
I dont think we ought to have people in jails and prisons who are not a risk to society, Boehner said. And I dont see these people as a risk to society.
One of Boehners earliest votes in Congress was against a 1993 bill that provided funding for alternative punishments for young people convicted of non-violent crimes.
Asked if he believes marijuana legalization could have passed while he was speaker just a few years ago, Boehner emphatically said no, again citing how much public opinion has changed in that short period. Even as he admitted that traditionally Republicans have been more opposed to marijuana than Democrats have, he did not seem to take any responsibility for impeding progress on the issue.
Towards the end of the session, Kevin Murphy heralded Boehners courage to change [his] mind, comparing the national shift on the issue to same-sex marriagesomething else Boehner opposed when he was in office. Were not going to rewrite history, he said, but we are going to basically create a future where people can receive compassion and care through cannabis, end of story.
That line got applause from the room. But it was clearly hard for some, both in the crowd and watching online, to forgive him for his past.
David is an heir of the Leventis-David Group which holds the majority share in Coca-Cola Helenic, Europe’s largest bottling company. The Leventis family is worth more than $388 million, according to 2018’s The Sunday Times Rich List. The UK-based publication estimates David is independently worth more than $2.8 billion.
He resides on the Isle of Man and arrived to St. Kitts on a plane with Ergen and Irish actor Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Mogaznews En reported. David owns SwissX, a medical marijuana company that produces luxury CBD oils that have been endorsed by Snoop Dog.
His hologram company was responsible for digitally recreating Tupac in 2012 for Coachella performances and Michael Jackson for the 2014 Billboard Music Awards. The billionaire recently ran into legal trouble in April after a former female employee was allegedly fired for refusing to have sex with him, People reported. David paid $11.1 million in a harassment settlement.
David was released after paying $30,000 cash bail. He is scheduled to appear at Basseterre Magistrate Court on May 14. He’s required to surrender all travel documents and report to the Frigate Bay Police Station for daily check-ins.
A family trip to Disney World came to a halt when a great-grandmother was arrested for carrying CBD oil, which her doctor recommended to ease her arthritis.
Hester Burkhalter, 69, was arrested on Apr. 15 and charged with felony possession of hashish. The Tampa Bay Timesreports that Burkhalter was stopped at a bag check just outside of Magic Kingdom that morning, and Disney security found her 1-ounce bottle of peppermint-flavored CBD tincture. In photos obtained by Orlando’s Fox 35, the bottle is labeled as 1000 mg of CBD and 0 mg of THC.
“I have really bad arthritis in my legs, in my arms and in my shoulder,” Burkhalter told Fox 35. “I use it for the pain because it helps.”
According to the arrest report, the security guard who spotted the CBD oil notified a nearby police officer, who tested the tincture. He said the tincture tested positive for THC and arrested Burkhalter. Although she was carrying the letter of recommendation for CBD oil from her doctor, CBD is illegal in the state of Florida. She spent 12 hours in jail and was released on a $2,000 bail. The charges were later dropped.
One, the December 2018 Farm Bill legalized hemp nationwide, classifying it as an agricultural commodity instead of a federally controlled substance. Hemp products, like the CBD oil added to burgers and sold by the bottle in the wellness section of grocery stores like Whole Foods, must contain less than 0.3 percent THC to be legally sold. (THC is the main psychoactive compound in weed that makes you feel high. CBD doesn’t.)
But like the Miami Herald notes, hemp is still a no-no in Florida. Retailers sell CBD products, but a spokesman for the state’s Agriculture Commissioner stated that while the office hasn’t sent out any cease and desist letters, “the sale of CBD products is not currently legal in Florida until hemp legislation is passed.”
The police report, as seen in Fox 35’s video, shows the police officer used a presumptive test on Burkhalter’s CBD tincture. Presumptive tests can’t specify a substance, but indicate the possibility of its presence. In this case, the test turned red, which indicated that THC might have been present. While presumptive tests are cheaper and yield faster results, they can be inaccurate and give false positives. The FDA recommends using confirmatory testing, which is more costly and takes longer but can “obtain a confirmed analytical result” by identifying specific substances.
This also isn’t the first time that a marijuana test detected THC in supposedly “pure” CBD oil. THC-free CBD, or CBD isolate, can be made in a lab, but there’s little to no regulation when it comes to what CBD manufacturers put in their products or how they label them. An investigation by WTHR in Indiana, a state where it’s legal to buy, sell, and possess CBD products, found that a patient taking hemp-derived CBD oil tested positive for marijuana during his employer’s drug test. The station sent a sample of the oil he took in lieu of multiple migraine medications to a lab, which certified that the oil had 0.018 percent THC — well below the legal limit. And in Georgia, where medical marijuana patients can register to legally use “low THC oil” to treat a variety of ailments, a woman taking CBD oil for anxiety failed a drug screening for a new job. She told WSB-TV that the ingredient label on the oil showed no THC, but a disclaimer on the company’s website stated that full-spectrum oil could test positive on drug screenings. It’s unclear how a full-spectrum product would have no THC as that is made from the whole hemp plant, meaning that there will be some traces of THC.
In a statement to Fox News, the Sheriff’s Office said their handling of Burkhalter was “a lawful arrest.”
“Possession of CBD oil is currently a felony under Florida State Statute and Deputies are responsible for enforcing Florida law,” the statement continued. “Although CBD oil is illegal without a prescription, our top drug enforcement priority and focus at the Orange County Sheriff’s Office is to get deadly drugs, like heroin and fentanyl, off the streets of our community.”
For Burkhalter, though, the family trip to Disney World was ruined.
“We had planned on this trip for over two years and we saved up for it and we were real excited,” she told Fox 35. “I didn’t know what to think, I couldn’t understand it. I didn’t feel like I’d done nothing wrong.”
(CNN)During a recent radio interview, Sen. Kamala Harris admitted to smoking weed in the past.
Harris’ views on marijuana have changed over the years. She expressed opposition in 2010, then voiced support for medical marijuana legalization five years later. Now she’s expanding her support to recreational use as well. The senator’s evolution on pot pairs closely with the changes in public opinion on the issue.
In her new book released last month, Harris wrote that marijuana should be legalized and nonviolent marijuana-related offenses should be cleared from people’s records. “We need to legalize marijuana and regulate it,” Harris writes. “And we need to expunge nonviolent marijuana-related offenses from the records of the millions of people who have been arrested and incarcerated so they can get on with their lives.”
She goes on in the book to discuss the need for a breathalyzer equivalent to determine levels of marijuana use and her other concerns regarding marijuana use.
What’s her record say?
In 2015, Harris called for “end the federal ban on medical marijuana” during the Democratic State Convention, stopping short of complete legalization. A year before, a local news clip from KCRA shows Harris, then attorney general of California, laughing when asked what she thought of her opponent’s support for recreational legalization of pot.
Earlier, as the district attorney of San Francisco, Harris was opposed to 2010 legislation that would have legalized pot in California, according to the Los Angeles Times. Harris believed “that drug selling harms communities,” her campaign manager at the time told Capitol Weekly, reiterating her support for medical marijuana legalization but not recreational.
Part of this evolution of opinion on pot legalization may have something to do with Harris’ job change. As California’s attorney general, her position wasn’t to provide opinions on the law but to enforce it. Harris’ record as AG, especially when it comes to criminal justice, has been a controversial touchstone in her campaign so far, and she’s been criticized for defending California’s death penalty against challenges in federal courts.
Perhaps it’s a story of gradual realization of the need for legalization, or maybe it’s just a story of one politician adapting to public opinion. Either way, Harris is on the books (literally) as a pro-pot 2020 candidate.
Currently classified by the WHO (US classification is slightly different) as schedule IV – the same class as heroin – which is the most strictly controlled category, the WHO Expert Committee on Drug Dependence (ECDD) has proposed to reschedule cannabis, and other cannabis-related products as a schedule I classification. What’s more, they’ve proposed removing non-THC (the psychoactive component of cannabis) cannabis products, such as CBD oil, from international drug controls completely.
In November last year, the WHO’s ECDD met to carry out the first full review of cannabis and cannabis-related substances since it was first listed under the International Drug Control Conventions as schedule IV in 1961.
The WHO schedule categories, first implemented to categorize the potential health risks and benefits of specific substances, range from schedule I – substances with addictive properties and risk of abuse, to schedule IV, the most harmful of the schedule I substances, with the addition of having extremely limited medical or therapeutic value. Cannabis currently come under both.
The WHO is proposing to the United Nations that cannabis be deleted from schedule IV, and Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is currently listed separately as scientists had not identified THC as the psychoactive component of cannabis in 1961, be downgraded to schedule I in light of mounting evidence of the potential for medicinal and therapeutic value.
“The Committee recognized the public health harms presented by these substances, as well as their potential for therapeutic and scientific use,” the WHO stated. “As a result, the Committee recommended a more rational system of international control surrounding cannabis and cannabis-related substances that would prevent drug-related harms whilst ensuring that cannabis-derived pharmaceutical preparations are available for medical use.”
They have also recommended that extracts and tinctures derived from cannabidiol (CBD), which doesn’t contain a psychoactive component, be removed completely from the scheduling, and thus not be restricted under international law.
The review is long overdue in the face of scientific research into the health benefits of the drug, which weren’t available back in 1961. However, as research continues, attitudes have been changing towards cannabis and it is now legal for medical use in 30 countries around the world, including Canada, some parts of the US, Mexico, Germany, Denmark, Finland, Israel, Argentina, and Australia, with many more under review.
Studies have linked the medical use of cannabis with helping manage chronic pain, epilepsy, depression, and psychosis, and though it isn’t a cure-all for cancer, it has been linked to helping patients deal with nausea caused by chemotherapy, amongst others. The new classification would allow for further scientific and medical research into the benefits of THC and CBD.
“These recommendations are of monumental importance as they may lead to the overcoming of barriers to research, enhance access of patients to cannabis-based medicine, and allow free commerce of cannabis products internationally,” Ethan Russo of the International Cannabis and Cannabinoids Institute told Newsweek.
The UN’s Commission on Narcotic Drugs will vote on the recommendation in March.