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Thursday, February 29, 2024

Medical marijuana: Majority understand but some do not

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“Ms. Universe Catriona Gray is admirable when she said the effects of cigarettes and liquor are worse than those of marijuana”

It has been almost 10 years since the use of medical marijuana has been pushed in the Philippines but many still do not understand this advocacy.

Millions have been benefiting in many other countries, but here many are still at a loss, including some medical organizations that oppose many bills filed in Congress seeking to legalize the use of medical cannabis.

Based on past House committee hearings and public forums, many oppositionists did not change their mind.

Their supposed knowledge is limited to the year 1961.

They said there’s no need to draft a law for medical marijuana use as there’s supposed to be a legal way to acquire this from other countries through the so-called compassionate special permit or CSP.

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The problem, however, is where to find a doctor who can prescribe this.

There was one who can issue the prescription but patients can’t afford the price.

Only those with severe epilepsy can be prescribed with medical marijuana but those with cancer, chronic pain and multiple sclerosis are spared, although the use of this controversial medication was already medically approved.

To date (June 2023), not one in the country has bought medical marijuana through CSP.

To some of those claiming to be experts, marijuana can destroy the mental state, can cause road accidents and a “gateway” to other drugs.

However, even to non-medical users, this claim has never been proven and they added this can be true if the Philippines will do its own medical marijuana.

They tend to underestimate the evidence the medical plant can really cure and treat various ailments and diseases, while trying to spread alleged ill effects.

The House bills pending in Congress seek to turn marijuana extract into oil or capsule.

This can only be prescribed by doctors with Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) S2 license.

This can be made available only in tertiary hospitals like the state-run Philippine General Hospital and East Avenue Medical Center.

Another reason given by opponents of medical marijuana use is the Latin saying “Primum Non Nocere” or “First, Do No Harm.”

However, they don’t give a damn prescribing the deadly painkillers, sleeping pills.

Ms. Universe Catriona Gray is admirable when she said the effects of cigarettes and liquor are worse than those of marijuana.

Further, those against the use of the medical plant said it is only a “human experiment.”

Maybe it’s unknown to them that marijuana has been used centuries ago.

Even national hero Dr. Jose Rizal said that marijuana extract could be bought from pharmacies during his time.

Former US President Barrack Obama, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Dalai Lama were known to be medical marijuana users.

The only thing being asked by supporters and movers for medical marijuana use, including patients, caregivers, doctors, lawyers, etc. is to find an alternative medicine from medical cannabis and not from importation of the same.

(The author is a licensed doctor since 2013, researcher and an international lecturer for medical marijuana. He founded the Philippine Society of Cannabinoid Medicine in 2014.)

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