World Health Organization leader gives support to marijuana use

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Tedros Adhanomo Ghebreyesus sees the medical value, even though he admits he wouldn’t use it

The World Health Organization (WHO) is a popular subject in the marijuana ecosystem right now. It is expected to discuss marijuana schedules this month and this could go a long way to shaping global policy. The head of the organization, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, has put his support behind the plant, even though he acknowledges remaining skeptical over its legalization for recreational use.

Ghebreyesus indicated in a recent interview that he is keeping an open mind on marijuana’s medical benefits, despite concerns of its effects. He said, “[We] believe that people who need it, especially for pain management, should have it. There should be access.” He added that because “any addictive substance is not good for human health, we wouldn’t encourage countries to follow those who are actually… legalizing it.”

The comments are interesting because he refers to “we,” which could be an indication that the WHO is behind marijuana policy changes. However, pointing out that marijuana is an “addictive substance” is a little confusing. A few months ago, the organization’s Drug and Dependence Committee stated that the only adverse reactions associated with marijuana were “euphoria, laughter and talkativeness.”

The main concern of Ghebreyesus focuses on marijuana consumption through smoking. However, as acknowledged by the WHO, this is also the only form of consumption that could be a threat to respiratory health. The WHO has stated, “When novel drug delivery modes other than smoking become more widely available (e.g. vaporization, sublingual or oral administration), associations between cannabis use and cardiovascular events may become less pronounced, or even absent.”