Legalization of Medical Marijuana in the Philippines

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Cannabis, commonly known as marijuana, is a botanical product that is medicinally used around 400 A.D (Bridgeman et. al, 2017). This plant contains a chemical that may be useful in treating illnesses and symptoms and, therefore, has been advanced that the whole plant is suitable for medical purposes (Madras, 2015).

In the Philippines, legalization of medical marijuana has been an issue for years and this issue was put back into highlight when the crowned 2018 Miss Universe, Catriona Gray, spoke about favoring this matter (Rola, CNN Philippines, 2018). It is also stated on the mentioned news that President Rodrigo Duterte, according to his spokesperson, Salvador Panelo, would sign any bill and favors the limited use of marijuana medically. However, on the 10th of March 2019 from the Philstar Global news, the President would not legalize the use of marijuana in the country as it can be used for purposes other than the treatment of ailments and admitted “I am ignorant of that kind of research, I must admit and I do not read it and I do not intend to legalize it”. The Department of Health also announced that the Philippines may have a hard time legalizing marijuana as there is no existing law about it (Gutierrez, ABS-CBN News, 2019).

The group agrees on the legalization of Cannabis on the following grounds:

First, the legalization of medical marijuana can cure diseases. According to European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA), cannabis and its active constituent, tetrahydrocannabinol (THD), is used as an appetite- stimulator, for intractable childhood epilepsy and for neuropathic pain and spasticity in multiple sclerosis. The study regarding appetite-stimulator was conducted on 139 patients with AIDS-related anorexia associated with weight loss and its effects in appetite and weight were found to be safe and effective (Beal et. al, 1995). It is also effective as anti-seizure with a 14-week study in a double-blind trial as the median frequency of convulsive seizure per month decreased with cannabidiol compared with the placebo and the frequency of all types of seizure was significantly reduced (Devinsky et.al, 2017). The drug, Sativex, which is a standardized cannabis extract with approximately equal quantities of THC and CBD is given to compare with placebo in relieving spasms due to multiple sclerosis (EMCDDA, 2017). The result demonstrated that Sativex showed a significant reduction in treating spasticity and was generally tolerated expressing mild to moderate adverse reactions (Collin et. al, 2010).

Second, cannabis has a constituent, cannabidiol (CBD) that does not have the psychoactive property and does not render the euphoric effect, which is useful in making hemp oils and beauty & skincare products due to its anti-inflammatory property and reduces sebum production. CBD oils are low tetrahydrocannabinol products that could relieve pain and are nonintoxicating phytocannabinoid substances (Vandolah et.al, 2019). Cannabinoids suppress cytokine production, induce apoptosis, inhibit cell proliferation, and induce T-regulatory cells which account for its anti-inflammatory property (Nagarkatti et.al, 2009). In the study of Ollah, et.al (2014), CBD exerted anti-acne actions through normalizing the elevated lipogenesis which is induced by pro-acne agents, preventing the elevation of proinflammatory cytokine levels and suppressing cell proliferation. Cannabis can be used also in making hemp fibers. It has suitable properties to replace glass fibers, although there are some disadvantages like surface moisture and variability in properties, it can be resolved by using the appropriate fiber surface treatment and more research on how to counteract the variability respectively (Shahzad, 2011).

Third, studies show that the legalization of cannabis could help in economic growth. Opportunities for greater job creation, more tax revenue, and better patient care are some of the positive results in legalizing the use of cannabis and in order to make this possible, lawmakers and regulators should promote greater research about its health effects and reduce restrictions in conducting business (Joint Economic Committee Democrats, 2018). The profits and saved taxes could be used and spent on programs like health promotion and public education (Hajizadeh, 2016). A bill was passed which is House Bill No. 6517 of the Act Providing Compassionate and Right of Access to Medical Cannabis and Expanding Research into its Medicinal Properties and for Other Purposes and this would make the use of marijuana possible and legal in the country for patients suffering from chronic diseases.

Legalization of Medical Marijuana in the Philippines is still a long journey to go through since researchers in the country are still unable to expand their studies due to its prohibition. However, studies regarding its medical uses, as well as in product making, are a good basis for the government to legalize it so that pharmaceutical and marketing companies will be able to conduct more explorations about the plant and experimentations, as well as, clinical trials with the citizens of the mentioned country.

In conclusion, we, the researchers are in favor of the legalization of medical marijuana since there are studies that proved its advantages to human health and also to the economy. Considering that producers, as well as, consumers limit their use and should always be within the therapeutic index. People should be enlightened about this plant and should not limit their understanding only on its negative effects. We should be open-minded and be explorative to realize that the benefits of this plant can outweigh its detriments. We should be flexible enough and able to adapt to the changing needs of the country to have a better future.


Cite this paper

Legalization of Medical Marijuana in the Philippines. (2020, Sep 21). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/legalization-of-medical-marijuana-in-the-philippines/

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