Japan panel recommends allowing cannabis-based medicine

A pharmaceutical scientist shows Cannabidiol or CBD oil after extraction and used to produce cannabis infused Thai traditional medicine at a production plant, in Pathum Thani province, Thailand, September 8, 2022. Rungroj Yongrit, EPA-EFE/file

A health ministry panel on Thursday suggested that Japan should permit the use of cannabis-based medications, opening the door for a potential historic change of the nation’s draconian drug prohibitions.

The group actually suggested strengthening regulations on marijuana use for non-medical purposes, thus the change will not have any impact on Japan’s zero-tolerance policy on marijuana use for recreational purposes.

International celebrities have fallen victim to Japan’s strict anti-cannabis legislation, including Beatle Paul McCartney, who was detained for nine days in 1980 when the substance was discovered in his luggage.
However, the government has been debating allowing the use of cannabis-based medications, which are already used in many nations to treat ailments such severe epilepsy.

RELATED: Marijuana use on the rise among young Americans: study


The government should change the regulations to permit the import and production of medications made with cannabis-derived ingredients, the expert panel for the health ministry suggested on Thursday.

But it also advocated for tightening the law to make it clear that cannabis usage for recreational purposes is illegal.

This would address a security breach created to prevent farmers from being detained for consuming marijuana while cultivating hemp for products like rope.

The advice comes as cannabidiol (CBD), a non-intoxicating component of cannabis, becomes more and more popular both abroad and in Japan.

According to Tokyo-based research company Visiongraph, the country’s CBD market has an estimated worth of $59 million in 2019, up from $3 million in 2015.

The panel also demanded that the existing total prohibition on cannabis plants be changed to a prohibition on THC.

RELATED: Thailand further decriminalizes non-recreational cannabis use


According to an official from the health ministry, doing so would assist ensure that the emerging CBD business is not constrained.

He stated that “CBD is legal and used in supplements and cosmetics.”

The administration will now implement the panel’s recommendations, and changes to the law won’t happen until a bill has been filed to parliament and accepted by legislators.

In Asia, where strict punishments for drug usage are the norm, the Cannabis Control Act that was adopted in 1948 during the US occupation of Japan is not unusual.



By: Miss Cherry May Timbol – Independent Reporter

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