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The question is: “Should we legalize the use of medical marijuana?”
Dr. Junice L.D. Melgar, executive director of the Likhaan Center for Women’s Health, said that marijuana has a number of medical uses.
Not only can marijuana supposedly stop epileptic seizures and help treat neuropathic diseases like Alzheimer’s and multiple sclerosis. It can also treat loss of appetite after a patient goes through the treatment for HIV or AIDS and chemotherapy as well.
According to Melgar, there are no reports of deaths caused by the use of cannabis. However, the doctor admitted that it has side effects like the change in one’s moods.
There is a pending bill filed by Isabela Congressman Rodolfo Albano III on the compassionate use of medical cannabis, which was inspired by the legalization of medical marijuana in Colombia.
Albano’s bill does not support the recreational use of marijuana nor does it decriminalize its use for kicks.
Under the bill, there will be a regulatory body created under the Department of Health.
Since modern studies have shown that chronic pain, nausea, cancer and other diseases can be treated by marijuana, qualified patients to undergo the treatment will be given identification cards.
Representative Leah Paquiz of Ang Nars partylist said around 70 lawmakers have already signed the bill as co-authors, including her.
We should also consider the experience of Rick Simpson, a mechanical engineer and self-taught doctor, who was diagnosed with skin cancer in 2002.
He fought the disease by applying a few drops of cannabis oil on the wound before bandaging it. After four days, he took off the bandage and the wound was healed. Since then, he has cured 5,000 people using this treatment.
The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) has repeatedly disagreed with the proposal to legalize marijuana, citing the need to first resolve the issue of how the government would regulate marijuana plantations and make certain permits are not abused.
Can we implement such a law without anyone abusing it? Strict regulations should be observed since we don’t need to breed a group of addicts hooked on cannabis and hiding behind the cloak of its legality.
It’s sad to think that if Albano’s bill had only been passed, Senator Miriam Santiago could have tried the cannabis oil treatment for lung cancer.
Miriam might or might not have been cured but at least, she would have been given a chance other than chemotherapy that poisons the body.
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SHORT BURSTS. For comments or reactions, email firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet @Side_View. Read current and past issues of this column at http://www.tempo.com.ph/category/opinion/firing-line/ (Robert B. Roque, Jr.)