WHO Expert Committee Calls For Changes In Cannabis’ International Classification

SWITZERLAND: Members of the World Health Organization (WHO) Expert Committee on Drug Dependence have proposed amending the classification of cannabis under international law.

According to reporting in the British Medical Journal, the WHO policy reversal “takes account of the growing evidence for the medical applications of the drug,” and marks the first time that the agency has reviewed its stance on cannabis in nearly 60 years.

The recommended changes, outlined in a letter by WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, call for cannabis to be removed from Schedule IV of the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs. Schedule IV is the most restrictive classification under the treaty. Instead, the committee advises that whole-plant cannabis and THC be designated as Schedule I controlled substances under international law.

“The current [international] scheduling of cannabis is as strict as that for heroin,” the BMJ summarizes. “[T]he Committee believes that keeping cannabis at that level of control would severely restrict access to and research on potential therapies derived from the plant.”

In a separate recommendation, the Committee reiterated its 2017 request that preparations containing “pure cannabidiol … and not more than 0.2 percent of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol” no longer be scheduled within the international drug conventions.

The Committee’s policy recommendations now await action from the 53 participating members states of the United Nation’s Commission on Narcotic Drugs. The Commission is anticipated to vote on the issue in March.

In October, NORML delivered over 10,000 public comments to the US Food and Drug Administration urging the agency to recommend that WHO reschedule cannabis internationally.


For more information, contact Erik Altieri, NORML Executive Director, at (202) 483-5500.

Top Buying Trends In Vaporization 2018

By Tom Buckland

There has been a surge in the number of people vaping in the last few years. A study by the World Health Organization (WHO) shows that over 40 million people use electronic cigarettes. Since 2012, there has been a shift from tobacco to e-liquid. This is mainly because of the health problems associated with smoking that have become well-known, not to mention smokers find vaping cheaper than purchasing regular tobacco sticks.

Now in 2018, vaping is more popular than ever and with popularity come trends.

Here are some of the biggest vaping trends of the year:

Better Mods

One of the biggest trends we’ve seen this year has come from the rapid growth of mods.  They are relatively new to the vape scene but their ability for customizing the experience has been a major factor to this.

2018 has seen better and more efficient mods available on the market. The batteries have gotten bigger, giving vapers longer usage from their devices. The mods have also been developed to be more compatible with these batteries, as well as the varying sizes of tanks and coils. This all ties back into the customization point.

In particular, one of the biggest winners of 2018 in terms of mods are Juuls. They have become so popular that the phrase ‘Juuling’ has become part of the culture.  According to Bloomberg, the company responsible for their creation, Juul Labs, is now worth over $15 billion. Considering it has only been a year since it split from its parent company, Pax Labs, the speed of growth is incredible.

Juuling has got so big that according to Wells Fargo, over 70% of all US e-cigarettes are Juuls. But all this popularity has not gone unnoticed, and in some ways not for the better. A lot of Juul users are young people. There have been arguments that Juuls are creating more of a problem because, instead of vaping being used as a method to quit smoking, young people are using it as a way to start. Of course, with moderation and regulation, this can be prevented.

Cloud chasing is on the rise

One of the biggest draws of vaping comes from the ability to create clouds that look awesome. It’s a skill that brings together a who different side of the community, some of which don’t even have a nicotine concentration. These people just vape for the fun of it. With the rise of cloud chasing has seen the increase of VG content in the make-up of e-liquid.

Compared to most of the other substances that create vape clouds, VG produces some of the thickest around. This is because VG, or vegetable glycerine for its full name, is responsible for distributing the nicotine and flavorings in the solution before it vaporizes.

Higher VG content also gives vapers a less intense feeling on the throat when inhaling, boosting its popularity. As such, the more that people are seeking to perform vaping tricks, the more that VG is wanted, so companies are using it more in their products. You are now likely to find most e-liquids with a VG/PG ratio of around 70/30. In some cases, you’ll now find e-liquids that are 100% VG.

More nicotine salts

Another vaping trend of 2018 has been the rapid increase in the use of nicotine salts. These work differently to the regular way of extracting nicotine, where ammonia is used to separate the nicotine from the salts of tobacco leaves. Nicotine salts, on the other hand, do not require any harmful chemicals to extract the nicotine. Instead, the salts are being directly extracted from the leaves themselves. Ammonia is a well-known carcinogen so avoiding its use in the extraction process is a huge win for vaping.

One of the biggest winners of the nicotine salt trend is, once again, the popular mod Juul, meaning that the biggest users are younger people. There are plenty of other advantages of using nicotine salts, such as their ease of use, their portability and above all else, they are a much healthier option. They’re also great for those that don’t like the feel of vape hitting the throat. Nicotine salts are a lot smoother than regular freebase nicotine e-liquids.

Finally, with the concentrations of nicotine less available in e-liquid due to TPD regulations, nicotine salts can provide a more satisfying hit.

Conclusion

These are four of the most popular vaping trends of 2018. With 2019 just around the corner, vaping is sure to grow even more. We are excited to see what the next biggest trends will be.

 

World Health Organization: CBD Should Not Be Subject To International Drug Controls

SWITZERLAND: Use of the naturally occurring cannabinoid CBD (cannabidiol) possesses no likely abuse potential and should not be subject to international drug scheduling restrictions, according to recommendations issued this week by the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Expert Committee on Drug Dependence.

Stated WHO: “Recent evidence from animal and human studies shows that its use could have some therapeutic value for seizures due to epilepsy and related conditions. Current evidence also shows that cannabidiol is not likely to be abused or create dependence as for other cannabinoids (such as Tetra Hydro Cannabinol (THC), for instance). The ECDD therefore concluded that current information does not justify scheduling of cannabidiol and postponed a fuller review of cannabidiol preparations to May 2018, when the committee will undertake a comprehensive review of cannabis and cannabis related substances.”

In September, NORML submitted written testimony to the US Food and Drug Administration in opposition to the imposition of new international restrictions regarding CBD access. The FDA is one of a number of agencies that advised WHO with their review.

preliminary report issued by the WHO in November affirmed that CBD was generally safe, well-tolerated, and that there “is no evidence of recreational use of CBD or any public health related problems associated with the use of pure CBD.”

Despite the international health agency’s acknowledgment that CBD is therapeutic, safe, and well-tolerated, it remains classified under US law as a schedule I controlled substance.

“The domestic classification and criminalization of cannabidiol as a schedule I controlled substance is out of step with both available science and common sense,” NORML Political Director Justin Strekal said. “It is yet another example of the US government placing ideology over evidence when it comes to issues related to the cannabis plant.”


For more information, contact Justin Strekal, NORML Political Director, at (202) 483-5500 or Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director, at: paul@norml.org.