Essential medicines and health products

WHO Expert Committee on Drug Dependence

40th ECDD Meeting on Cannabis and Cannabis-Related Substances

The 40th Expert Committee on Drug Dependence (ECDD) will be held from 4-8 June 2018 at the WHO Headquarters in Geneva. The 40th ECDD will be a specially convened session dedicated to carrying out pre-reviews of cannabis and cannabis-related substances:

  • Cannabis plant and cannabis resin
  • Extracts and tinctures of cannabis*
  • Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)
  • Isomers of THC

*In addition, following recommendations from the 39th ECDD meeting, extracts or preparations containing cannabidiol (CBD) will be subject to critical review.

Meeting documents

WHO and UNODC Memorandum of Understanding

The World Health Organisation and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) have made official plans for strengthened collaboration on the public health issues relating to drug use around the world. The signed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) builds on the ongoing collaboration between the two UN entities. Areas for further joint work will include prevention of drug use and drug use disorders, improving access to medicines under international control, addressing the challenges of new psychoactive substances (NPS) and monitoring drug use and its health and social consequences.

Substance Evaluation

Every year a meeting of the ECDD is organized by WHO to evaluate the dependence-producing properties and harm to health of psychoactive substances, including the ones with medical use. Recommendations from the ECDD on whether or not these substances should be placed under international control are made to the Secretary-General of the United Nations, and are subject to a vote by the United Nations Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND).

Previous committees

Since 1949, through its Expert Committee on Drug Dependence, WHO has reviewed more than 400 substances. Between 1948, when WHO was established, and 1999 the number of narcotic drugs under international control increased from 18 to 118, and the number of psychotropic substances from 32 to 111.


1949:Expert Committee on Habit-Forming Drugs established.

1950:Expert Committee on Drugs Liable to Produce Addiction.

1961:UN Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs.

1964:Expert Committee on Addiction-Producing Drugs.

1966:Expert Committee on Dependence-Producing Drugs.

1969:Expert Committee on Drug Dependence.