By Argyll Cyrus Geducos
Malacañang said it does not see President Rodrigo Duterte having a problem with the Dangerous Drugs Board’s (DDB) recent approval of the cannabis product cannabidiol (CBD).
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo made the statement after DDB Chair Catalino Cuy said the approval of CBD will invalidate a medical marijuana bill since the medicine can be taken for “compassionate use.”
In his Monday press briefing, Panelo said while he was not sure if the President has already heard of the recent development, he does not see Duterte having a problem with it since he once said he was for medical marijuana.
“Ever since ‘yun naman ang sinasabi ni Presidente. Kung medical, okay lang sa kanya (That is what the President has been saying ever since. If it’s medical, it’s okay with him),” he said.
But in March last year, President Duterte changed his tune about the legalization of marijuana for medical purposes, saying this would give people an excuse to plant their own product.
“They’ll give you the excuse to harvest for … sabihin medicinal. Lahat na lang mag-medicinal na (and tell you that it is medicinal. Then everyone would do it). That would be an excuse,” he said.
“Hindi ako pumayag (I did not allow it). Not in my time, not in my time. Maybe some other time. Some other president, maybe.”
Panelo said Monday that Duterte’s stand on the legalization of marijuana for medical purposes may change depending on the case.
“Pero sinabi niya rin ‘pag kailangan na kailangan sa ikabubuhay ng isang tao at merong scientific findings o medical findings na pwede ‘yun, hindi siya kokontra (But he also said that if it is really needed for a person’s survival, and there are scientific or medical findings that this will help, then he will not oppose it),” he said. “Siguro case-to-case (Perhaps it’s a case-to-case basis).”
In an interview with CNN Philippines, Cuy said they reclassified medicines with the CBD component to keep up with the standards of the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA). He added that the FDA has a 0.1-percent tetrahydrocannabinol threshold which previously allowed CBD use in treatment, making CBD different from cannabis.
Tetrahydrocannabinol is the main psychoactive compound that gives marijuana users the sensation of feeling “high.”
The Department of Health (DOH) also said that there is no full-blown study yet on medical marijuana in the Philippines due to the absence of a law that lists it as a registrable product with the FDA.