Legal use of medical marijuana pushed

Marje Pelayo   •   August 5, 2019   •   821

MANILA, Philippines — Isabela Rep. Tonypet Albano is pushing for the legalization of medical cannabis known commonly as marijuana.

Albano on Monday (August 5) met with parents of children with severe medical conditions who were hoping for legal use of marijuana for treatment.

The lawmaker assured his bill has provisions to prevent abuse of marijuana once the bill passed into law.

One safeguard is for patients to have an exclusive user card to control or limit the sales of marijuana in possible designated centers across the country.

“The quantity of dispensation has to be recorded in the PDEA, DOH and the committee involved,” Albano said.

“So that mawala ang pangamba ng mga tao (people will not worry) that (it) will be abused,” he added.

Girlie Mapa’s child is having multiple seizures due to epilepsy.

“Sa isang minuto, 30,40,50 seizure siya. Nakaabang ako lagi sa kanya sa paghinga niya kung dederecho pa o mapuputol nalang (Every minute he goes through 30, 40, to 50 seizures. I stay beside him and wait if he would still fight or he would just stop breathing),” Girlie said.

Ceilz’ eldest child, meanwhile, has been suffering from brain tumor and hydrocephalus since 2013.

Just this year, Ceilz’ other child was also diagnosed with a certain type of cancer.

“May brain tumor siya. Affected ang motor skills niya. Blind siya (at) bedridden (She has brain tumor. Her motor skills are affected. She’s blind and bedridden),” narrated Ceilz Sampayo.

Both mothers are hoping for the legalization of marijuana for the treatment of their children.

The use of medical cannabis has been legalized in 22 countries around the world.

With the proposed legislation now filed in Congress, the Philippines joins Thailand and Malaysia among nations in Asia that are pushing to legalize marijuana for medical use.

However, the bill is up for a huge challenge as President Rodrigo Duterte already said he will not allow the legalization of medical marijuana during his term. – with reports from Grace Casin

Sotto: No need for Congress to pass law for medical marijuana

Robie de Guzman   •   February 18, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Senate President Vicente Sotto III on Tuesday reiterated that there is no need for Congress to waste efforts legislating a law that will allow the use of marijuana for medical purposes.

Sotto issued the statement after the Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB) said that it recently approved “in principle” a resolution authorizing the use of cannabidiol (CBD) for alleviating severe forms of epilepsy.

The Senate President said he will not raise any objection to DDB’s announcement but his support will border on the assumption that the use of such “is in medicine form and conforms with the DDB-PDEA (Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency) guidelines and permit.”

“The DDB move proves the law being proposed in the HOR is unnecessary. There are more important proposed legislations that our honorable counterparts at the HOR should spend their time on,” Sotto said.

“I hope they give priority to measures that will have more impact on the most number of our countrymen,” he added.

The House of Representatives in January approved on third and final reading a measure seeking to legalize and regulate medical marijuana in treating chronic or debilitating medical conditions. The bill also proposes the establishment of Medical Cannabis Compassionate Centers which will be authorized to supply, sell, and dispense cannabis to qualified patients through S3-licensed pharmacists.

According to Sotto, the use of cannabis for medical purposes is already authorized under the country’s Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act, which he noted sets down the policy that “the government shall aim to achieve a balance in the national drug control program so that people with legitimate medical needs are not prevented from being treated with adequate amounts of appropriate medications, which include the use of dangerous drugs.”

He pointed out that the policy is implemented through a circular issued by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) providing the guidelines for the issuance of a “compassionate special permit.”

DDB chairman Catalino Cuy earlier clarified there is no need for a separate medical marijuana law since mechanisms already exist to allow the use of dangerous drug compounds in medicine form.

Cuy also said that cultivation and production of marijuana for medical or for any other purposes is still illegal in the country under Republic Act 9165.

Medical marijuana can be legalized with proper provisions – Health reform advocate

Marje Pelayo   •   December 21, 2018

 

Marijuana plant (Reuters image) | Cannabis Oil

MANILA, Philippines – Opinions are divided about the legalization of medical marijuana in the country.

Under the Philippines law, marijuana is considered a dangerous and illegal drug.

It requires a special permit from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to be able to use it for medication.

But a health reform advocate believes that legalizing medical marijuana can be possible in the country but under proper and detailed regulations.

“Compassionate use sa FDA na iyong kunyari may sakit ka tapos hindi ka gumagaling dito and then iyong relative gusto. Doctor niya ang magre- request sa FDA at paratingin iyong gamut, let’s say, galing Canada para gamitin ito sa pasyente. Pero  tayo hindi pa tayo nagma-market by law hindi pa kasi approved ang medical marijuana,” explained Dr. Anthonay Leachon.

Dr. Leachon noted that unlike cigarettes which are consumed by smoking or sniffing, marijuana needs a special process when use as medication.

“Dapat po oil or tablet. May forms po depende po kung ano ang doablity pero definitely hindi ito hihithitin,” he said.

Dr. Leachon added that medical marijuana is only given to terminally or seriously ill patients such as cancer or HIV-AIDS patients.

Filipina nurse Wendy said she observed an improvement in her son’s condition since he started using cannabis oil.

Wendy’s son who has non-verbal autism and hyperlexia, a condition characterized by strong decoding skills and delayed comprehension.

With the help of cannabis oil, Wendy said her son’s social skills improved.

He has started communicating and does eye-to-eye contact.

Wendy currently lives in the United States where medical marijuana is legal.

Despite seeing its benefits, Wendy believes a thorough study is still needed on the effects of medical marijuana to the human body.

“I agree that CBD oil use needs further research investigation, testing to prove its benefits and if its 100% effective and safe. It’s fairly new to the industry. As for us, the only proof we need to see is Spam developing as fast as he is right now. It greatly improved his quality of life even though he’s just 4 as well as ours,” Wendy said over the phone.

Health undersecretary Eric Domingo said recommendations to legalize the use of medical marijuana is still under study by the Department of Health (DOH).

In fact, they have started consulting experts on the matter.

“We need to collect scientific evidence before an official position is made. In the meantime, FDA accepts applications for compassionate use of unregistered drugs,” Domingo said.

Recently, the FDA received three applications to use medical marijuana, however Domingo said, they failed to fulfill the criteria set by the agency. – Marje Pelayo (with reports from Aiko Miguel)

PNP-AIDSOFT, tutol na gawing legal ang marijuana bilang medisina

admin   •   February 13, 2014

FILE PHOTO: Medical marijuana is shown in a jar at The Joint Cooperative in Seattle. (Cliff DesPeaux / REUTERS)

MANILA, Philippines – Hindi sang-ayon ang Philippine National Police-Anti Illegal Drugs Operation Task Force (PNP-AIDSOTF) na gawing legal ang marijuana bilang medisina.

Ayon kay PNP-AIDSOTF legal officer Chief Insp. Roque Merdegia Jr., mas lalala ang problema sa marijuana sa bansa kung magiging legal ang paggamit nito kahit bilang medisina lamang.

“We support the stand of drugs board na kailangan pa talagang pag-aralan, kailangan pa talaga ng eksperimento, mga ebidensya doon sa medical use ng marijuana.”

Maging si Philippine College of Physician Vice Pres. Dr. Leandro Leachon ay hindi sang-ayon sa panukala dahil wala pa aniyang konkretong pag-aaral na nakagagaling ito ng sakit, at marami din itong side effects.

“Kasi kung higit yung danger kaysa sa benepisyo, bakit mo naman ibibigay sa tao ito,” pahayag ni Dr. Leachon.

Maging ang mga ordinaryong mamamayan ay hindi sang-ayon na gawing legal ang paggamit ng marijuana kahit sa ano pa mang kadahilanan.

Katwiran nila, tiyak na tataas ang bilang ng krimen kapag ginawang legal ang paggamit nito.

“Hindi po kasi maraming masisirang kabataan,” mariing pagtutol ni Esperanza Gargar.

Ayon naman kay Boy, “Mas lalala po ang krimen.”

Ang panukalang paggamit ng marijuana bilang medisina ni Isabela Rep. Rodolfo Albano III ay umani na ng maraming batikos, hindi pa man ito naihahain sa kongreso. (Lea Ylagan / Ruth Navales, UNTV News)

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