President Rodrigo Duterte will approve the use of marijuana for medical purposes once the Dangerous Drugs Board passes a resolution allowing the use of cannabidiol to alleviate severe forms of epilepsy, Malacañang said Monday.
President Duterte, who has launched a brutal campaign against illegal drugs, will not block the use of marijuana as long as it is for medical purposes, according to his spokesman Salvador Panelo.
‘‘He said if it is needed by a person and there are scientific findings, medical findings, then he would not prohibit it,’’ Panelo told reporters.
Meanwhile, the Dangerous Drugs Board said Monday the recent approval of a cannabis product would not increase the chances of the government’s legalization of medical marijuana.
In an interview over CNN Philippines, DDB chairman Catalino Cuy said: “on the contrary, this will just show that they don’t need such bill anymore since they can have this medicine for compassionate use.”
He said the approval of marijuana component cannabidiol had the same effect on patients in need, thus invalidating the use of the proposed medical marijuana bill that remains pending in Congress since 2004.
“The DDB would like to clarify that marijuana use remains illegal in the country for both recreational and medical use. The use of cannabidiol, however, is being considered to be allowed for treatment of certain rare forms of epilepsy like Lennox-Gastaut and Dravet Syndrome,” the DDB said in a statement.
The DDB is the government’s policy-making and strategy-formulating body on the prevention and control of drug abuse.
Among the hundreds of components in cannabis, cannabidiol is one of the two most active, the other being tetrahydrocannabinol that produces the “high” or its psychoactive effects.
The World Health Organization says CBD has no indication of any abuse or dependence potential in humans.
About 250,000 children in the country suffer from epileptic seizure disorder and they are expected to benefit from the move of the DDB, according to Donnabel Cunanan, spokesman of the Philippine Cannabis Compassion Society. With Rio N. Araja