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The World Health Organization shows an openness to cannabis

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The Drug Enforcement Administration made it clear in 2016 that they viewed cannabis extracts such as cannabidiol (CBD) — a non-psychoactive component of marijuana — as an illegal Schedule I drug.

But a World Health Organization (WHO) committee announced last week that the drug did not warrant any international drug scheduling in its initial review. The WHO's Expert Committee on Drug Dependence (ECDD) released findings for a dozen substances for its annual meetings. The findings included a preliminary ruling on CBD, prior to an extensive review due in the next year.

"There is increased interest from Member States in the use of cannabis for medical indications including for palliative care," the committee's announcement read. "Responding to that interest and increase in use, WHO has in recent years gathered more robust scientific evidence on therapeutic use and side effects of cannabis and cannabis components."

The ECDD stated that with recent evidence from both human and animal studies showed the therapeutic merits in relation to epilepsy and related conditions. They also found that CBD showed no likely contribution to abuse or dependence to other forms of cannabinoids, such as tetrahydrocannabinol, commonly known as THC.

The ECDD meeting scheduled for next May will be a "Special Session on Cannabis" that will include, according to The Cannabist, "Cannabis plant and cannabis resin; extracts and tinctures of cannabis, THC; and isomers of THC."

Cannabis plant and resin are listed as Schedule I and Schedule IV substances by the United Nations' 1961 and 1972 revision rulings. The U.S. Health and Human Services are expected to hold its recommendation on CBD until the ECDD May report.

Meanwhile, some veterinary clinics like one in Bend, Oregon, offer CBD products as a medication to alleviate dogs' joint pain and anxiety. The move is in spite of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration warning companies that selling these CBD products violates laws in relation to "unapproved new animal drugs."

But the American Veterinary Medical Association's policy-making body stated that they want the DEA to declassify marijuana in hopes to help "facilitate research opportunities for veterinary and human medical uses."

"The concern our membership has is worry about people extrapolating their own dosages, looking to medicate their pets outside the realm of the medical professional," Board Chairman Michael Whitehair told the Associated Press. ♦


The original print version of this article was headlined "Doctors Debate"

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