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WHO Recommends Removing Cannabis from the Drug Classification

Proprietors of cannabis business and their patrons have probably noticed interesting recent developments on cannabis. 

The World Health Organization (WHO) has removed the cannabis substance from the drug classification in 2019, a decision that will involve a vote from the Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) of the United Nations (UN) this 2020. 

Reasons Behind This Move

According to a report by MENAFN – Costa Rica News, which also attributes to a WHO document, this move was made by the organization after it has recognized that reports on abuse or dependence cases on cannabis have not materialized. Because of this instance, cannabis is found not to pose danger to the health of the public. 

The removal of the substance from the said classification has also answered a general question: should cannabis stay on the drug classification or not?

The report added that cannabis does not contain psychoactive characteristics, and this finding was based on studies previously explored. That characteristic is described as substances or drugs that can affect many aspects of a person. These aspects can be mood, emotions, behavior, or thoughts. 

Aside from cannabis, other psychoactive substances are alcohol, caffeine, nicotine, and some medicine that cure pain. 

WHO Finding

The finding of WHO came from other research. According to the report, the organization cited a study in which many of its participants were given cannabis doses. Then, various parameters were evaluated among these participants. The report added that their psychoactivity did not change and signs that show they might be intoxicated did not appear. 

Likewise, in another study, users of cannabis for recreation were tested for the substance’s effects. The users did not exhibit psychoactive effects. 

While WHO clarified that cannabidiol, one element found in cannabis, does not trigger addictive tendencies, other health organizations in the world may still categorize cannabis as a drug—the mentioned studies reported by WHO are said to consider only the effects of cannabidiol.

A report from Forbes shared the specifics of the WHO decision. WHO report advised that drug control regulations should not be scheduled for cannabis products that contain up to .2 per cent tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) which is a dominant element in cannabis. 

The advice is a significant change in valuing cannabis for medical use and explained the worldwide cannabis trade, this report added. 

Meanwhile, the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs is a governing body that regularly modifies, reviews, and updates the list containing substances that are prohibited. These roles are reportedly done with the recommendations coming from WHO, which also receives advice from the Expert Committee on Drug Dependence.

In March 2020, the commission voted to loosen the restrictions regarding cannabis to be used for research and medical use in many parts of the globe. It was reported that further voting and meeting was postponed because of the need for clarity in the effects and repercussions of the move. The decision is also complex, MENAFN added. 

Changes in policies do not happen swiftly, as the report from Forbes elaborated. Today, the CND is considering to cast a vote towards the recommendations made by the WHO in December this year, in Vienna, Austria. The area is where the headquarters of the UN is based.

53 member states in the CND are ready to vote on these policy changes in the mentioned month.  

Other Recent Events In The Cannabis Business

These recent developments have influenced the cannabis business. According to a news story by in late November 2020, stocks in cannabis continued to rise. This happened amid the nearing meeting of the CND, as well as the votes from the House of Representatives in the United States that decriminalized marijuana (cannabis). 

That bill is unlikely to take form as a law at present due to the U.S Senate, which has not expressed affirmation to a move forward with the bill, this report added. 

However, the cannabis business may gain more presence in various states in the U.S like Arizona, Montana, New Jersey, and South Dakota. The same report lit the green light for recreational sales of cannabis in November 2020. 

It is good news for the cannabis business that more than 100 million Americans now reside in areas where the substance can be purchased legally, MarketWatch added. 


Meanwhile, in Canada, the larger cannabis business there also saw more substantial stocks at the same time. Cannabis and cannabis businesses have been legal in this country since 2018. 

The following cannabis business saw higher numbers: Tilray Inc.; Aphria Inc.; GW Pharmaceutical PLC; ETFMG Alternative Harvest ETF; and Horizon Marijuana Life Sciences Index. More cannabis businesses in this roster include Aurora Cannabis Inc. and Sundial Growers Inc.


Another development in the cannabis business comes from Israel. A report from Marijuana Business Daily said the country’s justice minister had shared a roadmap in legalizing the substance, which follows Canada’s legalization process. 

Israel’s proposed legalization will put public health at the forefront while allocating an adequate legal cannabis business space. 

The same report added, which quoted a local cannabis magazine, that the Israel market is expected to be vibrant once the substance is fully legalized. Two bills related to cannabis are being formulated; however, these proposals are made by private entities. 

Government support is still needed for the bills to be approved, the report explained. 

The bills are expected to regulate the buying process of cannabis. For example, people in Israel aged higher than 21 will be allowed to purchase products with the substance. 

Rules on cannabis businesses will likewise see the same groundwork. However, the report also revealed that the substance’s home growing is unlikely to be allowed, something that has seen success in Canada.  


WHO’s recommendation to remove cannabis from the drug classification has made headlines in the cannabis industry. Once the CND of the UN has voted this recommendation, it may affect the industry of the substance in many places around the world. 

When the industry will be affected, the supply of the cannabis product and earnings of the cannabis business will decrease.


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