Philippines: Medical groups oppose medical cannabis

THE Philippine Medical Association and 16 other medical groups yesterday aired their opposition to the legalization of medical cannabis in the country, saying it poses more harm than good.

In a position paper read by Dr. Antonio Leachon before the Senate sub-committee on health and demography hearing, the groups said the medical community “is steadfast in its stand to first do no harm” to patients who will try medical cannabis as an alternative medication.

“The fact that cannabis is a natural substance and its use becoming permissible in other countries does not mean it is harmless. Cannabis is harmful and can cause potentially fatal adverse drug reaction and drug interactions. It is dangerous to the developing brain, and it can cause neurocognitive, psychiatric and behavioral problems,” the groups said.

The groups pointed out that there is little evidence for many of the safety and medical claims regarding the use of medical cannabis. They added the evidence showed there are short and long-term effects.

They said the use of cannabis for medical conditions with no evidence of efficacy and safety will expose citizens “to unnecessary health harms and therefore cannot be supported by the medical community.”

“The legalization of medical cannabis is therefore detrimental to public health and safety. We strongly oppose SB No. 230. SB 230 is contrary to the interest of public safety and the common good. SB 230 undermines the institutions we have established to safeguard the health and safety of our citizens,” they added.

SB No. 230, filed by Sen. Robin Padilla last July 7, seeks to legalize the use of medical cannabis as an alternative means of medical treatment.

The groups presented clinical studies on the use of medical cannabis which showed it is not that effective to treat several illnesses, adding its efficacy is limited to epilepsy.


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