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The United Nations voted on Wednesday to recognize the medicinal properties of cannabis. The organization reclassified cannabis from the list of dangerous drugs to a less dangerous one.
The medicinal value of cannabis dates back to ancient Greece, Egypt, and China, as it is widely used across the globe as a medicine.
Research on the medicinal properties of cannabis shows how it can help deal with symptoms of AIDS, cancer, and multiple sclerosis among other health conditions.
Cannabis’ Original Listing as a Highly Dangerous Drug
Cannabis was originally classified as Schedule IV in the UN’s Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs established in 1961. It is listed along with synthetic and semi-synthetic opioids such as heroin.
Anna Fordham, executive director of the International Drug Policy Consortium, remarked that the UN’s decision in 1961 to prohibit the use of cannabis “lacked scientific basis and was rooted in colonial prejudice and racism.”
She further added, “It disregarded the rights and traditions of communities that have been growing and using cannabis for medicinal, therapeutic, religious and cultural purposes for centuries, and has led to millions being criminalized and incarcerated across the globe.”
Absence of Toxicity in Long-Term CBD Exposure
Just recently, Canopy Growth Corporation and NemaLife Inc. completed their study on CBD’s long term effects. The study was published in the Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research journal.
Canopy Growth’s medical division, Spectrum Therapeutics, used the preclinical worm model C. elegans to study the lifespan and toxicity effects of CBD, a non-intoxicating compound found in cannabis.
Hunter Land, senior director of Translational and Discovery Science at Canopy Growth, states that no existing studies on life-span and toxicity exist to identify the potential impact of CBD exposure in the long run.
He remarked, “These results serve as the only CBD life-long exposure data in an in vivo model to date, and the absence of long-term toxicity gives us the evidence we need as an industry to continue researching the potential health benefits for the broader application of CBD.”
Growth of Cannabis Stocks
UN’s nod boosted cannabis companies such as Canopy Growth and Aurora Cannabis Inc. On the same day, Aurora led a 4.92% rally in the weed sector.
The move has also resulted in a boost for stocks that supply cannabis for medicinal purposes, as is the case with companies like Canopy Growth.
Aaron Grey, an analyst from Alliance Global Partners, stated that “While we don’t look for this to have any immediate impact on international cannabis operations, we see this as helping to build momentum in addition to countries legalizing medical cannabis as well as increases in clinical research trials – further solidifying cannabis as a global medical & eventual CPG category.”
The Future of the CBD Industry
In 2019, investment bank Cowen & Co. published a study on the benefits of CBD to patients. CBD provided relief to the patients as a supplement, and a percentage of the population polled didn’t get high.
The analysts of the company predicted that the revenue of marijuana can reach $16 billion by 2025. This is a significant jump from the estimated $600 million to $2 billion of retail sales of consumer products that use CBD. By the time the study was reported, only about 30 states legalize the medical use of marijuana.
Dirk Heitepriem, Canopy Growth’s vice president for its EMEA Government and Stakeholder Relations, informed New York Times that the vote proves to be a “big step forward”.
He added, “We hope this will empower more countries to create frameworks which allow patients in need to get access to treatment.”
Cannabis is still banned for recreational use in most US states. Nonetheless, the UN’s vote paves the way for the validation of medical research done over the years. This holds a bright future for people who already benefit from the medical properties of marijuana without worrying about breaking the law.