Still no for marijuana as medicine

By Sam D. Bautista

BAGUIO CITY, June 19 (PNA) — It is still a big NO for marijuana as an alternative medication to treat cancer.

This was the terse reply of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Authority (PDEA), June 18, when asked whether they would allow the restricted use of marijuana as a way to fight cancer.

Lawyer Ernesto Marzo, administrative officer of the PDEA-Cordillera, said, “It is still a no because the national government still considers marijuana as a dangerous drug and its supposed health benefits are out weighted by the psychological effects it has on users.”

This was the position of the PDEA leadership despite a growing number of international studies which point to the possibility of using marijuana as a cure against certain cancers.

“We will still implement the law [against marijuana use and cultivation],” Marzo stressed.

Meanwhile, doctors are also wary on the use of the drug as a medicine.

Dr. Alexie Marrero said the debate has reached health officials in Manila but no one expects a clear policy on marijuana anytime soon.

“Right now it is still not accepted but the discussion is starting to divide specialists,” Marrero added.

He stressed there is still no group or organization of doctors which has openly endorsed marijuana as a cure for disease, but “some oncologists (doctors who specialize on treating cancer) are becoming vocal about the matter,” he claimed.

Studies abroad are saying that marijuana can be used to destroy cancer cells particularly the component cannabinoids in Cannabis sativa which activate specific receptors in the body to produce pharmacological effects especially in the central nervous and immune systems.

“I am for it,” Marrero said, adding “so long as the use is regulated and will be used strictly for medicinal purposes and not for recreational purposes.”

The PDEA does allow the cultivation of marijuana for scientific research purposes but the organization strictly monitors these marijuana sites so they do not exceed the number of plants they are allowed, Marzo emphasized. (PNA)