Senator Panfilo Lacson has warned the Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB) against usurping the powers of Congress to legislate after its decision to allow the use of marijuana as a medicine to treat certain ailments.
Lacson, in his warning, cited an existing Dangerous Drugs Act that prohibits the use of marijuana.
“Therefore, there is need to amend the existing law to allow its use even for medicinal purposes,” said Lacson.
Lacson was a former chief of the Philippine Narional Police (PNP).
For his part, Senate President Vicente Sotto III said that medical majiruana is already allowed in the DDA as a form of compassion.
Sotto supports its use as long as it is monitored and permitted by the DDB and the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA).
On the other hand, Senator Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III said the law already has a provision allowing marijuana medical use exemption.
“We just have to check if the proper procedure was followed,” Pimentel said.
However, he also believes that the medical benefits of marijuana must be proven first as he expressed doubts on its use.
Senator Joel Villanueva cited that the US Food and Drug Administration (USFDA) has already approved cannabidiol (CBD) to treat certain kinds of epilepsy, especially those with drug resistant seizure.
Villanueva emphasised it is important to make this treatment available to those who need it.
But he noted that proper regulation should be in place particularly with respect to dispensation.
“I have serious reservation on that aspect, but with proper regulation, access to this medication will provide relief to a number of people,” Villanueva said.
Villanueva said that physician prescription should be strictly followed for use and access of this product.
The DDB recently approved “in principle” a resolution to allow the use of cannabidiol (CBD) for alleviating severe forms of epilepsy.
The DDB is the government’s policy-making and strategy-formulating body on the prevention and control of drug abuse.
Among hundreds of components in cannabis, CBD, a pain reliever, is one of the two most active, the other being tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) which produces the “high” or its psychoactive effects.
The World Health Organization (WHO) says: “In humans, CBD exhibits no effects indicative of any abuse or dependence potential. To date, there is no evidence of public health-related problems associated with the use of pure CBD.”
There has been scientific proof that CBD — which is derived from the hemp plant, a “cousin” of cannabis — alleviates seizures in people with epilepsy.
One of the most recent studies was undertaken by Dr. Orrin Devinsky, a professor of neurology, neurosurgery and psychiatry at New York University (NYU) School of Medicine and director of NYU Langone’s Comprehensive Epilepsy Center./Stacy Ang