Bill to legalize cannabis-derived drugs clears Japan’s Lower House

Japan’s Lower House passed a bill to legalize medical products made from cannabis while clarifying the nation’s ban on the use of other types of cannabis.

The bill, which includes revising related laws, was sent to the Upper House the same day. If approved there, changes stipulated in the bill will likely go into effect by the end of next year.

The bill would pave the way for allowing the clinical use of Epidiolex, which contains cannabidiol, an active ingredient found in the cannabis plant. The product has been approved in the U.S. and Europe to treat severe epilepsy.

In Japan, a clinical trial of Epidiolex by GW Pharma is currently underway. The bill, introduced by the health ministry, would also close a loophole in the 1948 Cannabis Control Law, which bans the possession, trade, and cultivation of cannabis plants and products but does not contain a specific reference to their use.

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