The last few years have been a roller coaster ride in terms of cannabis regulation, and there hasn’t been a whole lot of consistency. Now, with the scheduled vote on WHO drug scheduling coming up, the fate of CBD hangs in the balance.
So, who exactly is this WHO which makes designations as to which drugs are narcotics and which are not? The World Health Organization is an agency belonging to the United Nations and is responsible for public health globally.
One of the first things to understand about the global scheduling of drugs is that a lot of current legislation is set according to the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs 1961, a treaty signed by 186 governments as of 2018. It prohibits the production and supply of narcotics, including – because of how its scheduled – cannabis.
It should be noted that the Single Convention does not act alone, and member countries are also required to have their own drug policies, so long as they are in line with the Single Convention. As part of this, the World Health Organization, through the Commission on Narcotic Drugs, is an office that can add, transfer, or remove drugs from within a specific scheduling class, of which there are four. Scheduling goes as follows:
- I – Drugs that are considered addictive and with a high risk of abuse (including cannabis and heroine).
- II – Normally used medical substances with a low risk of abuse.
- III – Preparations made from schedule II substances, as well as those that use cocaine.
- IV – The most dangerous drugs listed in schedule I, considered particularly harmful and with little to no medical or therapeutic value. This also includes cannabis.