The US DEA continues to stand by a decades-old assertion that cannabisand certain of its derivatives are as dangerous as heroin, in spite of a wealth of increasing evidence revealing that the opposite is true. In a preliminary report released by the World Health Organization (WHO) last month, a non-psychoactive substance in cannabis, cannabidiol, which the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) considers to be a Schedule I drug that has no medical use and can be abused, is, in fact, not harmful, and has been shown to be a benefit to those who are ill.
The WHO Expert Committee on Drug Dependence (ECDD) concluded that non-psychoactive cannabidiol (CBD) has a very low potential for abuse and indeed shows several medicinal benefits, particularly in treating epileptic seizures. CBD is believed to affect the endocannabinoid system, a group of neurotransmitters that bind to nervous system receptors and affect several psychological responses, including appetite, pain, mood and tissue inflammation. In addition, according to the ECDD, there is preliminary data that CBD can treat Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, anxiety, pain, nausea, inflammatory bowel disease and rheumatoid arthritis. There is even some data that suggests that it could help addicts quit their opioid addictions. The ECDD concluded that existing data “does not justify scheduling of cannabidiol.”