Weed is Officially Recognized as a Medicine
Weed just got recognized as medicine.
Cannabis has had a big year. From being declared as an essential service by the Canadian government to being legalized for recreational use in Arizona, New Jersey, and Montana following the 2020 presidential election, it’s clear that attitudes surrounding cannabis and its use are changing.
However, perhaps none are more impactful and significant than a historic vote placed forward by the UN which recognized weed’s medicinal values.
Yes, you heard that right. Weed is now officially recognized as a medicine!
World Health Organisation members had put forward a recommendation earlier for the UN’s Commission for Narcotic Drugs to remove weed from a list of substances deemed to have little to no medical benefit.
On Dec 2nd, the UN voted to remove cannabis from Schedule IV of the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, a vote that was narrowly won by 27 to 25 votes.
Does this mean we could one day pop into a coffee shop or cafe and grab one of Sugar Jack’s new ginger molasses cookies along with your cup of tea or coffee within a few years?
It’s likely in Canada, but the same can’t be said internationally.
The United Nations, of which 193 countries are members, is the world’s largest intragovernmental organization, but everyone’s favourite plant is still a ways away from international recognition.
The US, the UK were in favour of the change while Russia, China, Pakistan and Nigeria were amongst those against the move.
What’s important to note is that while the vote recognized marijuana’s medicinal benefits, it doesn’t remove weed or weed-related products from a list of drugs that require strict international regulation.
The UN’s system for the classification of 250 controlled substances falls into four “schedules.” These categories are ranked according to their risks, addictiveness, and medical value. For a long time, weed has been classified as Schedule IV, a category of which heroin is a member.
Worldwide, 50 countries have already recognized and adopted medicinal marijuana programs and access.
While the UN does not hold influence over the rules and regulations of sovereign countries, an international group of drug policy organizations have said that “this is welcome news for the millions of people who use cannabis for therapeutic purposes and reflects the reality of the growing market for cannabis-based medicinal products.”
Recognition from the UN could spur more countries into adopting similar programs in their own policies, however, the group does go on to say that the current changes are not enough.
While cannabis is no longer under Schedule IV, the most dangerous category of substances, it’s still under Schedule 1, which places weed next to the likes of cocaine, heroin, and opium.
So what do you think? Now that weed is recognized as medicine, are the changes enough, or do you think the UN is continuing to drag their feet and limit access to a substance that has provided vast medicinal benefits to many around the world? Let us know!