Following months of discussion, Japan’s Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare is set to approve the use of pharmaceuticals containing cannabis as an ingredient in Japan, according to public broadcaster NHK.
The Japanese legal system takes a particularly hardline stance against drugs, and even the possession of a small amount of marijuana is generally treated as a major crime. However, following the approval of cannabis-based medicines in many other nations, at the beginning of the year the ministry formed a committee to discuss whether Japan should follow suit, with the effectiveness of such medications in treating sufferers of refractory epilepsy and as a pain suppressant for cancer patients.
The allowance will require amendments to Japan’s Cannabis Control Law, which currently forbids the use and importation of such medicines. Lifting the prohibition would ostensibly also allow Japanese pharmaceutical makers, with proper licensing, to produce cannabis-based medications of their own.