By Lucas De Vries

January 22, 2020
Reading Time: 2 minutes


The European Commission took up some WHO recommendations under the guise of allowing scientific research on medical Cannabis last December.

In fact, the majority of EU members intend to keep Cannabis in the ‘narcotic’ category and prevent the declassification of CBD as a controlled substance.


Everyone knows that the national rules of the Member States are not going to change everywhere overnight, simply because of the EU or the WHO has decided so, because it is a bit more complicated than that.

In fact, most states do not systematically get bogged down in international agreements on law or health when they want to relax their legislation on substances. The latest example of this is Canada.

However, as soon as the EU and the WHO gives the LA, a lasting and profound legislative change becomes possible. This is especially true today for patients and professionals working with medical Cannabis and CBD in Europe.


The WHO issued 6 resolutions to the EU through a report sent on 13 February 2019. The aim is to prepare for an important session of the WHO Commission on Drugs and Narcotics to be held from 2-6 March 2020 in Vienna, Austria.

The reclassification of Cannabis from the 1971 list of narcotic drugs to the 1961 UN Convention

THC would also be downgraded from Category 4 to Category 1 to simplify its classification.

Preparations containing pure CBD or with less than 0.2% THC should no longer be included in the list of narcotic drugs.

Some THC drugs would be reclassified in Table 3, a category that contains products that cannot be abused.

Cannabis resin and Cannabis would be removed from 1971 category 4 and moved to 1961 category 1.

Dronabinol and the isomers of THC would also be deleted from the list of psychotropic substances of 1971 and placed on Schedule 1 of the Narcotic Drugs Convention in 1961.

EU response

  • The EU is generally in favor of medical Cannabis.
  • At the same time, the EU rejects any measures that could restrict the prohibition of narcotic substances.
  • THC could no longer be used in cosmetics as it used to be.
  • The CBD will not be able to leave the list of controlled substances.
  • Is that good news? Not really, we’re telling you why.

First of all, as stated above: This does not imply any significant change in the international regulation of Cannabis.

Secondly, the removal of Cannabis from table 4 of the convention is not a step towards the liberalization of medical Cannabis. On the other hand, it does allow industry and research to position their future natural or synthetic products within a legal framework.


Despite the recommendations of the WHO, which declared last February:

“No cases of abuse or addiction related to the use of pure CBD have been reported, no public health problems have been associated with the use of CBD” WHO Commission January 2019

The European Commission has decided to maintain CBD as a controlled substance along with other cannabinoids. A decision with far-reaching consequences for entrepreneurs. An admission of incompetence that breaks down into one sentence:

“The differential treatment of cannabidiol to other cannabinoids is not justified. “CUE December 2019

Since this very recent statement, a cold wind has been blowing through the majors of CBD and Medical Cannabis. This is true throughout Europe but especially from abroad, especially the USA.

Several conferences and position papers have indeed been held to ask Members to review their position on the matter, especially at the CBD level.

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