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Medical marijuana use should be based on scientific evidence – DOH

by Carl Santos

THE Department of Health on Tuesday weighed in on efforts to regulate medical marijuana use in the Philippines.

”The DOH recognizes efforts to legalize medical cannabis use, which is distinct from recreational marijuana use. Any such initiatives should be based on the best available scientific evidence, weighed for cost-effectiveness and public health impact,” the DOH said in a statement.

”Legislation should also consider the regulatory capacity of all government agencies that will be involved, should there be approval.”

The most common application of medical marijuana is to relieve chronic pain. 

 However, the DOH said it does not support either the cultivation of cannabis plants or the manufacture of cannabis products.

”The DOH reminds the general public that any use of marijuana at this point is still punishable by law, unless granted a compassionate special permit (CSP) signed by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Director General that would allow its use and importation in the country,” it said.

On February 7, the joint House committees on dangerous drugs and health approved a bill allowing the use of marijuana for medical purposes.

Surigao del Norte Representative Robert Ace Barbers, chairman of the dangerous drugs committee, said that medicinal cannabis is allowed as long as a prescription is obtained.

“We considered the opinion of medical practitioners during the course of the hearing, and there were testimonies that it [cannabis] really provides healing. We have to allow this [to gain ground] so we can test if it is really effective,” he said.



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