Cannabis, what does it mean that the UN has recognized its therapeutic properties

Cannabis, what does it mean that the UN has recognized its therapeutic properties

The UN commission voted to remove medical cannabis from the list of the most dangerous drugs, such as heroin. A great victory that opens the way for further research on the therapeutic benefits of this substance

(photo: Norman Posselt / Getty Images) Here we are: cannabis has been recognized for its therapeutic properties. The announcement was made by the United Nations Commission on Narcotic Drugs (Cnd), made up of 53 member states, which voted last Wednesday to remove medical cannabis from the category of the most dangerous drugs in the world. A long awaited decision, and long overdue, which may pave the way for further research on its therapeutic benefits and its use in medicine.

At @CND_tweets 63rd reconvened session, the Commission decided on @WHO scheduling recommendations on cannabis and cannabis-related substances. Read the press release for more information:

- CND (@CND_tweets) December 2, 2020

We recall that cannabis for therapeutic purposes has multiple benefits on the nervous system and is now used for the treatment of various diseases, such as Parkinson's, sclerosis, epilepsy, chronic pain and tumors. Yet, although the use of medical cannabis with medical prescription has been allowed for years in Italy, still too often many patients are unable to receive the therapy they need, because the Italian needs are much higher than the production and import of the substance. . Suffice it to say that, according to estimates by the International Narcotics Control Board, our total requirement is equal to 1980 kilograms per year. But, in 2019, according to the Ministry of Health, the Military Pharmaceutical Chemical Plant of Florence produced about 150 kg. A deficiency that necessarily requires the importation of the substance from another country, Holland, which in any case fails to satisfy the demand.

With this reclassification, therefore, the UN has officially recognized the medical properties of cannabis. In fact, after taking into consideration a series of recommendations from the World Health Organization (WHO) released in 2019, the NCD focused on reclassifying cannabis in the four tables that since 1961 have divided plants and their substances according to to the dangerousness, by deciding to remove the substance from Schedule IV, the most dangerous, the same of those most harmful and highly dependent opioids, such as heroin. In particular, of the 53 Member States, 27, including Italy and the United States, voted in favor of the reclassification of cannabis, 25 were against, as China, Egypt, Nigeria, Pakistan and Russia and only one abstained (Ukraine).

Although the vote will not have an immediate and concrete impact on the relaxation of international controls on the production of cannabis for therapeutic purposes (because individual governments will still have the power to decide where to classify cannabis), this decision is however a big step forward that finally recognizes the positive effects of the substance on patients and that will serve to strengthen medical research and its legalization around the world. "This is a huge and historic victory for us, we couldn't have hoped for more," Kenzi Riboulet-Zemouli, an independent drug policy researcher, told the New York Times. "We hope this will allow more countries to create structures that allow patients in need to access treatment," adds Dirk Heitepriem, vice president of Canadian company Canopy Growth.

A victory, adds the Luca Coscioni Association, of science. The recommendations of the WHO, in fact, have been developed on the basis of the scientific literature produced over the years and finally science and scientific progress become key elements for updating global decisions. “Today's decision removes the obstacles of international control, imposed since 1961 by the Single Convention on Narcotic Substances, on the production of cannabis for medical-scientific purposes”, comments Marco Perduca, coordinator of the Legalize! Campaign of the Luca Coscioni Association.

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