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Cannabidiol (CBD) products [Fact sheet - Changes in the scope of control over cannabis]

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Abstract

Changes in the scope of control over cannabis: Clarifying recommendation #5 on CBD products. Confusions and gaps in understanding surround the recommendations of the WHO Expert Committee on Drug Dependence regarding medicines made of cannabis or cannabis-related substances. This series of fact sheets seeks to bring light on the recommendations, and to clarify the implications in terms of changes (or not) in legal frameworks.
Changes in the scope of control over cannabis
Clarifying recommendation #5 on CBD products
01.III.2020
Kenzi Riboulet-Zemouli
Licence CC BY-SA 4.0
kenzi.zemou.li
Confusions and gaps in understanding surround the recommendations of the WHO Expert Committee on Drug Dependence
regarding medicines made of cannabis or cannabis-related substances. This series of fact sheets seeks to bring light on the
recommendations, and to clarify the implications in terms of changes (or not) in legal frameworks.
The mandate of the WHO ECDD only regards drugs, i.e. medicines. The recommendations of WHO do not affect the status of
control or not of products that are not used in medicine. Scheduled drugs that are used for industrial purposes are exempt from
both 1961 Convention (C61) in Art. 2(9) & 28, and 1971 Convention (C71) in Art. 4(b). Industrial products obtained from the
Cannabis plant (such as fiber-based products, cosmetics, foods and foodstuff) have always been exempt from international control.
The Commentary of C61 Art. 28 mentions that “cultivation of the plant for any other purpose [than those of producing cannabis and
cannabis resin drugs], and not only for the purposes mentioned in paragraph 2 [i.e., industrial, horticultural, fibre and seed] is
consequently exempted from the control régime provided in article 23.” The recommendations of WHO in no way affect “hemp”
products, already exempt from international control. The recommendation to exempt CBD products containing less than
0.2% THC only concerns medicinal products containing less than 0.2% THC, not “hemp products”.
For more, see “Hemp & the Treaties”:
bit.ly/HempAndTheTreaties
Comparison of the status of international control,
if any, over CBD products obtained from
Cannabis plants (i.e. “hemp”, plants cultivated
under the régime of exemption of Art. 28, 1961
Convention)
BEFORE
Régime of control in force
as of March 2020
AFTER
Régime of control
recommended by the WHO
CBD product
for pharmaceutical
or research purposes
With more
than 0.2% of
delta-9-THC
→ The product is a drug (used as
a medicine).
→ The product is a narcotic
drug
(controlled medicine).
Under control
1961 Convention
Schedule I
→ The product is a drug (used as
a medicine).
→ The product is a narcotic
drug.
Under control
1961 Convention
Schedule I
With less
than 0.2% of
delta-9-THC
→ The product is a drug (used as
a medicine).
→ The product is not a narcotic
drug (conventional medicine)
Not under control
1961 Convention
Exemption in
Articles 1(1)b, 1(1)j
+ footnote to the entry
“cannabis and cannabis
resin” in Schedule I.
CBD product for non-pharmaceutical and
non-research purposes (cosmetics, foodstuff...)
→ The product is not a drug (not
used as a medicine).
Not under control
1961 Convention
Exemption in
Articles 2(9) & 28.
→ The product is not a drug (not
used as a medicine).
Not under control
1961 Convention
Exemption in
Articles 2(9) & 28.
CBD products, when used in medicine, are already exempted regardless
of WHO recommendations. Some countries apply thresholds of 0.2, 0.3,
1% or others
within
this exemption. But these thresholds are unrelated to
drugs/medicines, and are not affected by WHO recommendations.
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