A simple majority of the 53 States of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs decided to remove cannabis and its resin from List IV of the 1961 Drug Convention, meaning that the medical utility of this plant is now officially recognized.
Recreational use will continue to be banned under international law, referred the Spanish news agency Efe.
Almost all states in the European Union, except Hungary, and many states in America represented a simple majority of 27 votes to approve the change, one of the most important in the field of drugs in recent decades, while most countries in Asia and Africa was opposed, according to Efe.
This change will facilitate the investigation of cannabis, where it has shown promising results in the treatment of Parkinson's disease, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, chronic pain and cancer.
The vote came almost two years after an opinion from the World Health Organization (WHO) that recognized the medical usefulness of cannabis and recommended that it to be removed from list IV. The recommendation now adopted was based on the WHO's first critical study of cannabis, the most popular drug in the world, with about 200 million consumers, according to UN estimates.
About 50 countries have launched different medical cannabis programs and this United Nations decision is expected to promote such policies, as well as research with the plant, says Efe.
Until now, medical research on cannabis was possible on a limited basis, as its inclusion in List IV acted as a brake on many laboratories due to the restrictions and different legal criteria applied in each country.
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