By: Andreah Dianne M. Cartagena

The Dangerous Drug Board (DDB) has been considering the legal use of marijuana or cannabis for medical purposes that will be administered by health professionals, Sen. Robinhood Padilla said.

Photo courtesy of Jeff W/Unsplash/Bibo Nueva España/Senate PRIB

“The DDB is open to the use of cannabis to be administered by a medical expert,” Padilla said.

The senator presided over the public hearing at the Senate Committee on public health on December 13, Tuesday, and further noted that the use of the illegal substance will be regulated and monitored.

DDB Chairman Catalino Cuy Jr. said that they are waiting for the approval of the creation of a technical working group to study and bid for the medical use of marijuana. 

Cuy added that an application for the use of cannabis must require a special permit from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Currently, the medical use of cannabis is only present in tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) content and should not exceed 0.1 percent, while its oil form is still banned.

Some senators have raised their concerns over this proposal as substance abuse of cannabis may increase due toa lack of provisions.

“There is a possibility of drug proliferation because unlike in other countries which use greenhouse cultivation, in the Philippines, anybody can plant it,” Sen. Gatchalian said.

Sen. Nancy Binay recommended fixing the system while waiting for the bill’s approval.

“While waiting for this bill to pass, maybe, on the part of the DDB, you can fix the system to make it more convenient and easier for patients that really need cannabis,” Binay said.

For former Philippine National Police (PNP) chief and Sen. Ronald dela Rosa, who was at the forefront of the controversial War on Drugs,  he is keen on the legalization of medical marijuana and appealed to his fellow senators to” open their hearts and minds”

“Open our hearts and minds to this possibility. I advocate against illegal drugs but for compassionate use, why not give it a try. Let’s open our minds and hearts, let’s see,” Dela Rosa said. 

Meanwhile, the medical experts in the hearing expressed that medical marijuana would help patients suffering from epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, nausea and vomiting, and chronic pains.

Padilla authored the Medical Cannabis Compassionate Act, or Senate Bill No. 230, following the death of his close friend after being denied access to medical marijuana. 

Edited by: Audrei Jeremy A. Mendador