A historic vote at the United Nations (UN) has recognised the medicinal value of cannabis and removed it from a list of dangerous drugs which are placed under the strictest controls.
The drug was previously listed on Schedule IV of the UN Commision on Narcotic Drugs’ list, which features other dangerous and tightly controlled substances, including heroin, fentanyl analogues and other opioids.
The vote to downgrade the drug follows the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) recommendation last year to make it easier to conduct research into cannabis’s medicinal uses.
Still banned for non-medical use
The news of the downgrade does not necessarily pave the way for worldwide legalisation of the drug. Despite the UN now recognising the drug as a medicine, marijuana remains banned for non-medical use.
Cannabis will still remain on Schedule I of the convention, which means it will continue to require the highest levels of international control.
The vote will leave marijuana and cannabis resin on the list of Schedule I drugs, which also includes cocaine, fentanyl, OxyContin and morphine
The vote, which took place on Wednesday 2 November was close, with 27 of the Vienna based commission’s member states – including the US and European countries – in support of downgrading the drug.
Among the 25 countries who voted against the move were China, Russia, Pakistan, Nigeria and Egypt.
Anna Fordham, executive director of the International Drug Policy Consortium, said, “The original decision [in 1961] to prohibit cannabis lacked scientific basis and was rooted in colonial prejudice and racism.
“It disregarded the rights and traditions of communities that have been growing and using cannabis for medicinal, therapeutic, religious and cultural purposes for centuries, and has led to millions being criminalised and incarcerated across the globe.”
Growth of legalisation worldwide
Canada, Uruguay and 15 US states have legalised recreational cannabis use, and more than 50 countries around the world have adopted medicinal cannabis programmes.
Meanwhile many countries have decriminalised marijuana possession.
Cannabis remains illegal to possess, grow, distribute, sell or grow in the UK. Being caught with the drug comes with a maximum of five years in prison, an unlimited fine, or both.
Being convicted of producing and supplying the Class B drug can carry a penalty of up to 14 years behind bars, an unlimited fine, or both.
The entire hullabaloo around drugs and narcotics has put a fair section of Indian youth at an edge. Times have been pretty unpredictable for those who like to take the ‘high’ ground (pun intended) in the way they lead their lives. With the authorities taking a good sniff at the many “underground” drug cartels operating in the country, talk about drugs and narcotics even as means of laughter can be pretty risky
But, you know us. None of that can stop us from reporting on real ‘developments’ that are happening out there. And the most recent news is that cannabis is now officially a medicine. We already know that cannabis has been used therapeutically for thousands of years, but it was today that a historic vote at the United Nations finally recognised the medicinal value of cannabis and removed it from a list of dangerous drugs which are placed under the strictest controls.
The vote was made after experts at the World Health Organisation recommended that the UN’s Commission for Narcotic Drugs remove cannabis from an international list of dangerous drugs which are discouraged from being used for medicinal purposes. But there’s still a catch. While it’s recognised as a medicine, the UN stated that it still remains banned for non-medical use.
Yet, this sure comes as a welcome news for those who have been rallying for such a reform for a while now. So let’s check out what people have to say about it.
It’s not over though for many people, if governments are still anti-science on cannabis as a medicine, it’s just the start of another horror show, but now everybody isn’t in the same boat of isolation.
— BLaZeY (@HeadShotBLaZeY) December 2, 2020
Ok now that cannabis is finally listed as medicine, Gov’ts need to start planning out how they’re going to do right by those who have been locked up for non-violent cannabis crimes!https://t.co/TxYGX5uXjy
— FindingLatoya (@ToyaFromHarlem) December 2, 2020
Cannabis has always been medicine.
It is not just now becoming medicinal bc some org declares it as such. We have known the power of plants for centuries https://t.co/dlkMb44JwY
— Lauren – plants’ll make her dance (@laurnTHEgreat) December 2, 2020
U.N. Reclassifies #Cannabis as a Less Dangerous Drug. At last it is now recognised as not being as dangerous as #drugs like heroin and fentanyl. In time it will mean fewer restrictions on cannabis as medicine. #EndOurPain #drugspolicy https://t.co/3gCiEcllOe pic.twitter.com/TIqJ7wIyKJ
— Peter Reynolds (@TweeterReynolds) December 2, 2020
That is great news @BorisJohnson!
— Dread Jedi (@DreadJedi) December 2, 2020
@BorisJohnson @MattHancock That medicinal #cannabis is “the most effective treatment” for the #EndOurPain #epilepsy children is proven beyond doubt by their agonising experience and the medicine they have funded themselves. You’ve already procrastinated too long. Act NOW! https://t.co/Gvvw11mK1V
— Peter Reynolds (@TweeterReynolds) December 1, 2020
Raise your hand if cannabis helps you ♀️ raise two hands if you’re not a loser/stoner/lazy/hippy/criminal ♀️♀️ Now
In one image, a physician injects a Civil War veteran with morphine, a common practice that led to widespread addiction after the war. In another, a gold-framed daguerreotype from 1847, an unconscious patient sprawls on a white-draped table, surrounded by men in frockcoats and cravats, documenting one of the earliest uses of ether in operation.
Then there’s the haunting postmortem photograph of a 22-year-old physician who died caring for patients in an 1849 cholera outbreak — a poignant reminder of the risks medical professionals are facing today.
These are just some of the 15,400 photographs in a unique collection recently acquired by the Harvey Cushing/John Hay Whitney Medical Library at Yale that documents — in black-and-white and sometimes graphic detail — a history of medicine from 1839 to 1950.
Among the library’s largest and most notable acquisitions to date, the collection both celebrates the evolution of medicine and bears witness to untold human pain and loss.
The Stanley B. Burns M.D. Historic Medical Photography Collection includes images of physicians and medical scientists at work, operation rooms, hospital wards, laboratories, nurses and nursing, notable physicians, surgical specialties, and war medicine. There are also thousands of photos of patients and disease states. The collection is notable for its range of forms, including photo albums, framed photographs, publications, cartes de visite (small photos mounted on cardboard), cabinet postcards, and personal collections assembled by noted physicians. Virtually every format is represented, including boxes of lantern slides and 253 unique daguerreotypes, ambrotypes, and tintypes from the earliest years of photography.
“The Burns Collection is one of the most compelling and comprehensive visual records of medical history ever assembled,” said Melissa Grafe, the John R. Bumstead Librarian for Medical History and head of the Medical Historical Library, the medical library’s special collections repository. “From early depictions of surgery to profoundly personal family images and photo albums, it shows how deeply medicine is interwoven in human lives.”
The collection’s photographic albums, some assembled by physicians, bring alive important chapters of medical history, such as the conquest of yellow fever in Cuba in 1904, the international response to the pneumonic plague epidemic in China in 1911, and facial reconstruction at Walter Reed Army General Hospital documented by medical photographer Alice Becht in 1920.
“Turning the pages of these albums, I am often struck by how visible the patient is, providing some window into past lives and, in some ways, human suffering,” Grafe said. “At other times the collection is a celebration of medicine, highlighting surgical moments and medical techniques that we may take for granted today.”
The wide range of materials complements many of the library’s existing collections, including striking images of mental illness published in the “Iconographie photographique de la Salpêtrière”; thousands of photo-postcards and other images that make up the Robert Bogdan Disability Collection; and more than 100 iconic portraits of Civil War soldiers.
Other materials in the Burns Collection document the development of medical education. Bound volumes of Dr. Howard Kelly’s “Stereo-clinic,” for
While male pentathletes have competed at every Olympic Games since Stockholm 1912, Steph Cook became the first women’s Olympic modern pentathlon champion 88 years later, at the Sydney 2000 Games. The Great Britain star talks us through how she combined a hectic life as a doctor with going for gold – and how her fascinating sport, rooted in Olympic history, has evolved in the modern world.
Junior doctors in British hospitals are famously, perhaps notoriously, overworked. So the idea of pulling 15-hour shifts while also putting in the amount of training required to become an Olympian might seem physically impossible. Steph Cook, however, somehow managed it, and in a sport consisting of five disciplines – fencing, swimming, show jumping, shooting and running.
“It was crazy,” Cook said with a laugh, reflecting on her years before becoming the first women’s Olympic modern pentathlon champion. “I was studying medicine at Oxford, which is where I’d taken up modern pentathlon, and once I graduated I knew I needed to make a decision.
“Was I going to continue with sport or become a junior doctor? I decided I’d try to do both. I was doing up to 100 hours a week in the hospital while still training and competing. I remember coming off a night shift and flying straight to Poland for a World Cup. Somehow I kept going.”
Combining saving lives with creeping up the world rankings, Cook was clearly a multi-tasker of the highest calibre. No wonder the Olympic sport conceived to find the best all-round athletes appealed to her.
“Growing up, I’d done a bit of riding and was a good runner, and at university I thought I’d give pentathlon a go,” she said. “I really just wanted to get back on a horse again, but I also fancied the idea of trying some new sports. I had never shot or fenced before, and my swimming was ropey. I couldn’t even do tumble turns.
“Initially it was just fun. In 1994, when I started, the women’s sport wasn’t even at the Olympics. But I watched the men with interest at Atlanta 1996, and there was a campaign to get the women’s sport included.
“I got selected for the 1997 European Championships, but it clashed with my final medical exams and I couldn’t go. When the UK lottery funding came in, and the Olympics started to look more likely, I was offered a research position by a doctor in Oxford. It meant I could still study but also fit in more training. And then we got the National Training Centre in Bath. From November 1999, I trained full time.”
Having been in the sport for only six years, Steph was still under the radar in terms of becoming a potential medallist. But the unique nature of her sport gave her a chance. “Riding and running were my strengths, but they reckon it takes 10 years to get to international level in fencing,” she said. “I