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Duque: Regulate 'medical cannabis'

AD-INTERIM Health Secretary Francisco Duque III on Tuesday expressed support for the use of medical cannabis in the country but under strict regulation.

“It is supposed to be for compassionate use, so there must be a very narrow applicability and must be strictly regulated,” Duque said.

He said the Department of Health was closely working with lawmakers on the technical aspects of House Bill 180, or the proposed Philippine Compassionate Medical Cannabis Act to prevent the abuse of medical marijuana.    

“There are continuing consultations where we provide them our technical positions in order to ensure that the final version of the law will be clear and acceptable,” Duque said.

He said his department would have to make sure that the Food and Drug Administration was fully capable of implementing the law once it is passed.

“If it gets approved, the FDA must really do its mandate well in terms of adhering to the standards of quality, safety and efficacy, coupled with compliance with all its rules and regulations,” Duque said.

HB 180 was unanimously approved by the House committee on health last month after consulting patients, advocacy groups, health care practitioners and experts in the regulation of controlled substances for medical use.

Under the bill, the use of marijuana to treat debilitating medical conditions would be allowed only for medical purposes.

The proponents of medical cannabis says medical anecdotes show that marijuana is capable of easing epileptic seizures, cancer, multiple sclerosis, pain and glaucoma.

They are advocating the use of the whole plant to be processed into pharmaceutical-grade medical cannabis in finished dosage form, such as cannabis oil extract, tincture, suppositories, capsules, pills, spray and topicals. PNA

Topics: Health Secretary Francisco Duque III , Department of Health , FDA
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