Despite his stand on the war on drugs, Rodrigo Duterte has expressed his opinions in considering marijuana for medical purposes in several interviews shortly after taking the Presidential seat last year.
President Duterte in amidst on continuing his bloody war against drugs has been actively supporting the legalization of the drug substance, cannabis also known as marijuana for medical purposes.
“I will not deprive Filipinos of the benefits of medical marijuana, but I must have a clear definition of what it is and it must be approved by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration)”, he stated in his 2016 campaign.
The Philippine Cannabis Compassion Society (PCCS) has since then been more active campaigning after Duterte’s positive approach towards medical marijuana.
Former Health Secretary Jaime Galvez Tan is also an advocate for the legalization of medical cannabis. He argued that the drug will improve the quality of the patient’s life because it has been scientifically proven to be effective in pain management. He also added that it is more effective than morphine, a legally prescribe substance.
To support this legalization,The Philippine Compassionate Medical Cannabis Act, also known as House Bill 180 has been introduced in the Philippine Congress replacing the former House Bill 4477.
The bill has been refiled by the original author Isabela Representative, Congressman Rodito Albano III under Duterte’s administration after its former medical cannabis bill, House Bill 4477 failed to be approved under then President, Benigno Aquino III.
If the bill were to be approved, there will be a system of medical cannabis compassionate centers, which will offer a one-month supply to every registered medical cannabis patients that suffer from autism, epilepsy to cancer. The patients will have the same rights to those pharmaceutical medicated patients. They will also be protected against any and all discrimination.
Legalizing marijuana has been taken into consideration for its medical purposes and not for any recreational activities. Many studies have shown that there are a lot of benefits we can get from medical marijuana.
- Safer Alternative
Many have argued including members of the American medical community that marijuana is a safer alternative to prescription pills and has been used for centuries as a medicinal substance.
- Aid to Cancer Patients
It is known to help cancer patients in fighting against side effects such as nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy.
- Treats Appetite Loss
It has also been scientifically proven to help treat appetite loss that is also another side effect caused by diseases such as cancer, HIV/AIDS and other diseases.
- Calmer Mind
Many doctors argue that marijuana boosts relaxation and positive feelings.
But despite its benefits and much potentials in aiding patients, many have argued that using too much marijuana has many bad side effects.
- Anti- Epileptic drug
Marijuana aids epileptic patients in their fight against the disease. A study has shown that 16 out of 19 parents have reported less frequently of their children’s seizures after taking cannabidiol-enriched cannabis as an anti-epileptic drug.
However, despite of its benefits, marijuana has also bad effects.
- Addiction and abuse
It endangers patients of abuse and addiction. According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th Edition, 9 % of marijuana users will become addicted.
- Long term side effects
Studies have shown that marijuana affects short-term memories and impairing cognitive abilities of the users.
- Risk of cancer
Clinical trials have also proven that marijuana contains cancer-carrying substances and there is not enough supporting evidence to prove that marijuana is an effective pain-reliever.
- Causes Lung Cancer
Whether there is no tobacco, smoking it can still cause lung disease. It contains toxic gas and substance that can seriously affect the lungs.
- Endangers User’s Eyes
There is no scientific evidence that marijuana can treat glaucoma compared to prescribed medications and surgeries, according to the National Eye Institute and the Institute of Medicine. They also added that instead of helping glaucoma patients, marijuana can damage the user’s eyes.
Medical marijuana remains to be controversial despite of its existence for centuries now because of itslack and restriction of clinical trials. For its limited amount of scientific research to either support or oppose the effectiveness of medical marijuana, researcherscontinue to argue to dig deeper into the matter and to treat marijuana as a medicine and should studied like any other medicines.