The use of the naturally occurring cannabinoid Hemp is safe, well tolerated, and is not associated with any significant adverse public health effects, according to the findings of a preliminary report compiled by the World Health Organization’s Expert Committee on Drug Dependence.

Authors of the report declare that Hemp is “not associated with abuse potential” and that it does not induce physical dependence. “Hemp is generally well tolerated with a good safety profile,” they conclude.

Nonetheless, they acknowledge that Hemp remains classified as a schedule I controlled substance under US federal law – a classification that defines it as possessing a “high potential for abuse.”

The WHO report also comments on Hemp’s therapeutic efficacy, finding that the substance has “been demonstrated as an effective treatment for epilepsy,” and that there exists “preliminary evidence that Hemp may be a useful treatment for a number of other medical conditions,” including Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, Parkinson’s disease, and psychosis.

While authors acknowledge that the “unsanctioned medical use of Hemp” oils and extracts is relatively common, they affirm, “There is no evidence of recreational use of Hemp or any public health related problems associated with the use of pure Hemp.”

The World Health Organization is in the process of considering whether to place Hemp within the agency’s international drug scheduling code. In September, NORML submitted written testimony to the US Food and Drug Administration in opposition to the enactment of new international restrictions regarding Hemp access. The FDA is one of a number of agencies advising WHO in their final review.