2019-02-01

Press Release: European Industrial Hemp Association greets WHO’s recommendations to remove low THC preparations from international control and reschedule cannabis and cannabis-related substances

European Industrial Hemp Association greets WHO’s recommendations to remove low THC preparations from international control and reschedule cannabis and cannabis-related substances

EIHA was involved in WHO process of evaluation of substances under international control three times already. In November 2017 we delivered written and oral statement on the case of Cannabidiol advocating against its potential inclusion under international control, in June 2018 we pointed out several inconsistencies in nomenclature and bias in scientific evaluation of cannabis-related substances used by WHO review documents authors and finally in, November 2018, EIHA proposed changes of control of low-THC preparations for medicinal use as well as of CBD-rich extractives from industrial hemp for the consumer market. It seems WHO listened!

The 41st meeting of the WHO Expert Committee on drug Dependence (ECDD) convened from 12 – 16 November 2018 at WHO headquarters in Geneva. Outcome was due to be published in Vienna during 31st reconvened session of Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) on December 7. A long-awaited outcome of evaluation process was postponed as WHO representatives announced ECDD experts need more time to digest overwhelming amount of scientific data and evidence. Finally, on 24 January 2019 WHO’s Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus sent a Note Verbale to Secretary-General of the United Nations, His excellency Mr António Guterres proposing unprecedented changes to international control of cannabis and cannabis-related substances.

These breakthrough recommendations reflect changing perspectives on licit use of hemp and cannabis-derived products and preparations already applied in many countries around the globe. However a final decision has to take place on UN level, more specifically on upcoming 62nd CND Session taking place in March 2019. EIHA honestly believe voting member states will adopt – without any political bias – WHO’s science-backed advise to the benefit of the whole mankind.

WHO experts on drug dependence have listened to proposal of the hemp industry represented by EIHA
EIHA has been representing interests of business operators active in CBD sector since 2016. We believe that the “whole plant use” not only brings extra income to farmers, but also allows creation of innovative consumer products for prevention of civilization diseases and maintaining of homeostasis in humans and pets.

In a written contribution to 41st ECDD submitted to WHO Secretariat on November 8, 2018, EIHA proposed that “preparations for medicinal products, foods and food supplements, pet-foods and cosmetic, provided they do not exceed a maximum content of 0.2 weight-% of total ∆9THC should be exempted from any scheduling and thus from international and national control over psychotropic substances”.

On this agenda item WHO proposes the following: “To give effect to the recommendation of the 40th meeting of the ECDD that preparations considered to be pure cannabidiol (CBD) should not be scheduled within the International Drug Control Conventions by adding a footnote to the entry for cannabis and cannabis resin in Schedule I of the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs (1961) to read ‘Preparations containing predominantly cannabidiol and not more than 0,2 percent of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol are not under international control’”.

EIHA welcomes this clear message and cheers the experts’ bold decision. If adopted by CND, this will fully legitimize industrial hemp-derived CBD sector worldwide.

EIHA welcomes WHOs proposal to exclude extracts and tinctures of cannabis from Schedule I of the Single Convention
Major regulatory confusion has existed with respect to extract and tinctures of cannabis that was compromising development of the CBD sector worldwide. WHO even evaluated hempseed oil and hemp essential oil within the same group of materials as hashish oil!

Another important dilemma is resolved by this proposal: WHO got trapped into their own nets declaring cannabidiol extracted/isolated from cannabis plants as “extract of cannabis”. Under this false interpretation only synthetically manufactured CBD would be released from falling under international control. Also, such a statement has put derivatives of cannabis into more difficult position than some products obtained from opium that are not under international control.

Changes on the medicinal usage of cannabis and cannabis-related substances
While EIHA’s main mission is to represent interests of the industrial hemp community, we also welcome breakthrough recommendations of WHO on cannabis, cannabis related substances and pharmaceutical preparations.

These decisions finally remove from cannabis a stigma of one of the most dangerous substances without any medicinal value. Proposal to delete cannabis and cannabis resin from Schedule IV of the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs (1961) means that a therapeutic potential cannabis has been reclaimed and scientific research will become more widespread.

Inclusion of preparations containing cannabis and natural and synthetic cannabinoids to Schedule III is a clear token of their low abuse potential with much eased access of patients to innovative medicinal products.

EIHA hereby expresses big Thank You to authors and contributing authors of “EIHA statement on recommendations of the 40th ECDD on Cannabidiol and contribution to the 41st ECDD Critical reviews of Cannabis-related substances” (https://bit.ly/2PkzCys), namely to Dr. Bernhard Beitzke and Boris Baňas (both members of the Advisory Committee to EIHA.org) to Mr Daniel Kruse (Board member of EIHA.org), Mr Pavel Pachta (member of Scientific Board to ICCI.science) and Mr Kenzi Riboulet Zemouli (founder of FAAAT.net).

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Responsible under press legislation (V.i.S.d.P.):
Lorenza Romanese, Managing Director
European Industrial Hemp Association (EIHA)
Internet: www.eiha.org
Email: info@eiha.org