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Safety nets in place for medical cannabis

MANILA, Philippines — A bill in the House of Representatives that allows marijuana or cannabis for medical purposes will incorporate safety nets to prevent aggravating the country’s problems on drug abuse.

According to House committee on dangerous drugs chair and Surigao del Norte Rep. Robert Ace Barbers, the proposed bill mandates the removal of THC or delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, the main psychoactive ingredient in the marijuana plant that can cause addiction.

THC makes people feel euphoric when they smoke marijuana or eat food laced with it.

“If you remove the THC, what is left is the cannabidiol or the CBD. That is not addictive. It’s actually the part that has therapeutic effect,” Barbers noted in a radio interview.

Barbers added that the bill provides that cannabis can be used “only by patients with debilitating and non-debilitating illnesses as determined by medical practitioners.”

“The bill has limitations, because the accredited physician will only be allowed to prescribe what is allowable for the illness of the patient,” Barbers said.

“Its use in other forms will remain illegal and is punishable under the law… What we have approved is the use of cannabis in pharmaceutical form only. It could be in tablet or capsule forms or other forms with pharmaceutical grade,” he added.

Some doctors who took part in the committee hearings have proposed that medical cannabis in injection or dextrose forms be allowed as there are patients who are into such treatment protocols.

“The basic general guidelines is in pharmaceutical forms … We don’t want cannabis to be used for recreational purposes just like what happened in Thailand and other European countries,” he claimed.

The lawmaker also said the proposed bill imposes requirements on the medical practitioners who could prescribe or use medical cannabis.

“Not all medical practitioners will be given accreditation, as they would need training, clearances, and comply with other requirements that won’t be easy to secure,” he added.

Doctors will have to undergo training and then they have to get permits from the Medical Cannabis Office (MCO), which the law shall mandate to create in order to oversee the use of medical