A historic vote on Wednesday December 2, 2020 has lead to the World Health Organization’s removal of cannabis as a schedule IV substance. Prior to this momentous change, cannabis, as a class IV substance, was grouped with heroin and other opioids and therefore considered to be one of the most dangerous drugs in the world.
Vienna-based Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) voted after considering a series of recommendations from the World Health Organization (WHO). Recommendation 5.1 passed narrowly, with a narrow majority favoring the changes, 27 votes for and 25 votes against, with one abstention.
In a December 2 statement the U.N. announced it would be following certain recommendations of the World Health organization (WHO) who advised the following in January of 2019:
-Deleting cannabis and cannabis resin from Schedule IV of the 1961 Convention
-Moving dronabinol and its stereoisomers (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol) and tetrahydrocannabinol which are psychoactive components of cannabis, from the respective schedules of the 1971 Convention to Schedule I of the 1961 Convention
-Deleting extracts and tinctures of cannabis from Schedule I of the 1961 Convention
-Adding a footnote to Schedule I of the 1961 Convention to read “Preparations containing predominantly cannabidiol and not more than 0.2 per cent of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol are
not under international control”
-Adding certain preparations of dronabinol to Schedule III of the 1961
The United Nations researches and schedules substance based upon their addictive nature, ill effects, potential for abuse, and medicinal properties. This is primarily guided under three International Drug Control Conventions:
-The Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs of (1961)
Amended in 1972
-The Convention on Psychotropic Substances (1971)
-The United Nations Convention against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (1988)
As a result of these changes, cannabis will no loner be considered a “risky narcotic” on the global level. The medicinal properties of this plant continue to be investigated and research suggests cannabis will continue to be an important natural medicine and an effective treatment for many conditions.