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WHO: Marijuana has therapeutic effects, abuse unlikely

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By Charina Clarisse Echaluce

The recent statement of the World Health Organization (WHO) has given hope to the advocates of medical cannabis in the Philippines who are pushing for the ‘compassionate use’ of the plant which is more popularly known as marijuana.

After four years of fighting for the legalization of medical cannabis, the Philippine Cannabis Compassion Society (PCCS) said it has found a strong ally when the WHO disclosed that medical cannabis is beneficial to patients with cancer, epilepsy, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.

“Let us listen and respect the views of the real experts. The WHO has already spoken, acknowledging the benefits of medical cannabis,” said PCCS spoeksperson Dr. Donnabel Cunanan.

The WHO recently published a report, disclosing evidence from animal and human studies.

“There is increased interest from Member States on the use of cannabis for medical indications including for palliative care. Responding to that interest and increase in use, WHO has in recent years gathered more robust scientific evidence on therapeutic use and side effects of cannabis and cannabis components,” the WHO said.

“To that end, the ECDD [Expert Committee on Drug Dependence] did an initial review of a cannabis compound called cannabidiol (CBD). Recent evidence from animal and human studies shows that its use could have some therapeutic value for seizures due to epilepsy and related conditions,” it added.

It was also disclosed that “cannabidiol is not likely to be abused or create dependence as for other cannabinoids such as Tetra Hydro Cannabinol.”

“The ECDD therefore concluded that current information does not justify scheduling of cannabidiol and postponed a fuller review of cannabidiol preparations to May 2018, when the committee will undertake a comprehensive review of cannabis and cannabis related substances,” it further stated.

Cunanan said they see the WHO as the best “Christmas gift.”

“We hope this information will shed light and end the discussion between patients and decision makers. This is the best Christmas gift to us,” she expressed.

“We understand the role that our legislators play in protecting public interest… [but] the WHO already declared that it is not addictive and it is safe and should be given to patients,” she added.

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