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Medical marijuana?

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 firingline@ymail.com 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.)

  • Brian Kelly

    When a loved one is in pain, wasting away unable to eat, and needs this marvelous herb in order to increase their appetite, reduce the overwhelming pain, and live as as healthy and happily as they can with the time they have left, let’s have the compassion to allow them to have it.

    Stop treating Medical Marijuana Patients like second rate citizens and common criminals by forcing them to the dangerous black market for their medicine.

    Risking incarceration to obtain the medicine you need is no way to be forced to live.

    Support Medical Marijuana Now!

    “[A] federal policy that prohibits physicians from alleviating suffering by prescribing marijuana for seriously ill patients is misguided, heavy-handed, and inhumane.” — Dr. Jerome Kassirer, “Federal Foolishness and Marijuana,” editorial, New England Journal of Medicine, January 30, 1997

    “[The AAFP accepts the use of medical marijuana] under medical supervision and control for specific medical indications.” — American Academy of Family Physicians, 1989, reaffirmed in 2001

    “[We] recommend … allow[ing] [marijuana] prescription where medically appropriate.” — National Association for Public Health Policy, November 15, 1998

    “Therefore be it resolved that the American Nurses Association will: — Support the right of patients to have safe access to therapeutic marijuana/cannabis under appropriate prescriber supervision.” — American Nurses Association, resolution, 2003

    “The National Nurses Society on Addictions urges the federal government to remove marijuana from the Schedule I category immediately, and make it available for physicians to prescribe. NNSA urges the American Nurses’ Association and other health care professional organizations to support patient access to this medicine.” — National Nurses Society on Addictions, May 1, 1995

    “[M]arijuana has an extremely wide acute margin of safety for use under medical supervision and cannot cause lethal reactions … [G]reater harm is caused by the legal consequences of its prohibition than possible risks of medicinal use.” — American Public Health Association, Resolution #9513, “Access to Therapeutic Marijuana/Cannabis,” 1995

    “When appropriately prescribed and monitored, marijuana/cannabis can provide immeasurable benefits for the health and well-being of our patients … We support state and federal legislation not only to remove criminal penalties associated with medical marijuana, but further to exclude marijuana/cannabis from classification as a Schedule I drug.” — American Academy of HIV Medicine, letter to New York Assemblyman Richard Gottfried, November 11, 2003

    • Brian Kelly

      Nobody can deny the Medical effectiveness of Medical Marijuana.

      Below is a small sampling of the Professional Medical Organizations Worldwide that attest to Medical Marijuana’s effectiveness and Support Legal Access to and Use of Medical Marijuana.

      Along with over twenty U.S states that have already legalized medical marijuana.

      Are they ALL wrong?

      International and National Organizations

      AIDS Action Council
      AIDS Treatment News
      American Academy of Family Physicians
      American Medical Student Association
      American Nurses Association
      American Preventive Medical Association
      American Public Health Association
      American Society of Addiction Medicine
      Arthritis Research Campaign (United Kingdom)
      Australian Medical Association (New South Wales) Limited
      Australian National Task Force on Cannabis
      Belgian Ministry of Health
      British House of Lords Select Committee on Science and Technology
      British House of Lords Select Committee On Science and Technology (Second Report)
      British Medical Association
      Canadian AIDS Society
      Canadian Special Senate Committee on Illegal Drugs
      Dr. Dean Edell (surgeon and nationally syndicated radio host)
      French Ministry of Health
      Health Canada
      Kaiser Permanente
      Lymphoma Foundation of America
      The Montel Williams MS Foundation
      Multiple Sclerosis Society (Canada)
      The Multiple Sclerosis Society (United Kingdom)
      National Academy of Sciences Institute Of Medicine (IOM)
      National Association for Public Health Policy
      National Nurses Society on Addictions
      Netherlands Ministry of Health
      New England Journal of Medicine
      New South Wales (Australia) Parliamentary Working Party on the Use of Cannabis for Medical Purposes
      Dr. Andrew Weil (nationally recognized professor of internal medicine and founder of the National Integrative Medicine Council)

      State and Local Organizations

      Alaska Nurses Association
      Being Alive: People With HIV/AIDS Action Committee (San Diego, CA)
      California Academy of Family Physicians
      California Nurses Association
      California Pharmacists Association
      Colorado Nurses Association
      Connecticut Nurses Association
      Florida Governor’s Red Ribbon Panel on AIDS
      Florida Medical Association
      Hawaii Nurses Association
      Illinois Nurses Association
      Life Extension Foundation
      Medical Society of the State of New York
      Mississippi Nurses Association
      New Jersey State Nurses Association
      New Mexico Medical Society
      New Mexico Nurses Association
      New York County Medical Society
      New York State Nurses Association
      North Carolina Nurses Association
      Rhode Island Medical Society
      Rhode Island State Nurses Association
      San Francisco Mayor’s Summit on AIDS and HIV
      San Francisco Medical Society
      Vermont Medical Marijuana Study Committee
      Virginia Nurses Association
      Whitman-Walker Clinic (Washington, DC)
      Wisconsin Nurses Association

      Additional AIDS Organizations

      The following organizations are signatories to a February 17, 1999 letter to the US Department of Health petitioning the federal government to “make marijuana legally available … to people living with AIDS.”

      AIDS Action Council
      AIDS Foundation of Chicago
      AIDS National Interfaith Network (Washington, DC)
      AIDS Project Arizona
      AIDS Project Los Angeles
      Being Alive: People with HIV/AIDS Action Committee (San Diego, CA)
      Boulder County AIDS Project (Boulder, CO)
      Colorado AIDS Project
      Center for AIDS Services (Oakland, CA)
      Health Force: Women and Men Against AIDS (New York, NY)
      Latino Commission on AIDS
      Mobilization Against AIDS (San Francisco, CA)
      Mothers Voices to End AIDS (New York, NY)
      National Latina/o Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual And Transgender Association
      National Native American AIDS Prevention Center
      Northwest AIDS Foundation
      People of Color Against AIDS Network (Seattle, WA)
      San Francisco AIDS Foundation
      Whitman-Walker Clinic (Washington, DC)

      Other Health Organizations

      The following organizations are signatories to a June 2001 letter to the US Department of Health petitioning the federal government to “allow people suffering from serious illnesses … to apply to the federal government for special permission to use marijuana to treat their symptoms.”

      Addiction Treatment Alternatives
      AIDS Treatment Initiatives (Atlanta, GA)
      American Public Health Association
      American Preventive Medical Association
      Bay Area Physicians for Human Rights (San Francisco, CA)
      California Legislative Council for Older Americans
      California Nurses Association
      California Pharmacists Association
      Embrace Life (Santa Cruz, CA)
      Gay and Lesbian Medical Association
      Hawaii Nurses Association
      Hepatitis C Action and Advisory Coalition
      Life Extension Foundation
      Maine AIDS Alliance
      Minnesota Nurses Association
      Mississippi Nurses Association
      National Association of People with AIDS
      National Association for Public Health Policy
      National Women’s Health Network
      Nebraska AIDS Project
      New Mexico Nurses Association
      New York City AIDS Housing Network
      New York State Nurses Association Ohio Patient Network Okaloosa AIDS Support and Information Services (Fort Walton, FL)
      Physicians for Social Responsibility – Oregon
      San Francisco AIDS Foundation
      Virginia Nurses Association
      Wisconsin Nurses Association

      Health Organizations Supporting Medical Marijuana Research

      International and National Organizations

      American Cancer Society
      American Medical Association
      British Medical Journal
      California Medical Association
      California Society on Addiction Medicine
      Congress of Nursing Practice
      Gay and Lesbian Medical Association
      Jamaican National Commission on Ganja
      National Institutes of Health (NIH) Workshop on the Medical Utility of Marijuana
      Texas Medical Association
      Vermont Medical Society
      Wisconsin State Medical Society