On November 16, 2015, in Geneva, Switzerland, patient using medical cannabis addressed the World Health Organization’s (WHO) in hopes of creating new policies regarding cannabis worldwide.
“The current international policies on cannabis are outdated and are having a detrimental impact on patients in the United States and worldwide,” says Steph Sherer, executive director of Americans for Safe Access (ASA) and representative of IMCPC. “New policies should take into account new clinical research, product safety protocols for cannabis cultivation, manufacturing, and distribution, and global patient needs.”
Millions of people worldwide are using legally using medical cannabis. Countries including Canada, Israel, Netherlands, Czech Republic, Croatia, Mexico, Uruguay, Romania, Germany, Jamaica, Australia, and Switzerland have medical cannabis programs and dozens of other countries are reviewing legislation.
Despite the fact that cannabis offers patients relief that they do not receive from any other available medicine and with relatively few side effects, international treaties continues to treat cannabis as a supplemental medicine, says Michael Krawitz – executive director of Veterans for Medical Cannabis Access. “This is the first time in our lifetime, since 1935, for science to trump that ideology and pave the way for more consistent patient access to this medicine worldwide. We are heading to Geneva to make sure this process reflects the scientific evidence and to ensure for the first time since 1935, the WHO cannabis review process hears the patient’s voice. “
“Actual empirical and clinical evidence of cannabinoids effects in treatments of chronic pain as well as acute diseases, shows that prohibiting patients from access and forcing physicians to prescribe cannabis in the same setting as opioids is eroding all four basic principles of ethics in medicine. Which include respect patients’ autonomy, do no harm, do good and be justifiable when offering treatments to patients and allocating scarce medical resources,” says Pavel Kubů MD, member of the board, KOPAC patient association and IMCPC representative.
Cannabis patients from 27 countries at the meeting are hopeful that a recommendation to the UN will be made to account for medical cannabis use and access under international policies.