In a recent Media Health Forum by Bauertek Corporation, advocates for the legalization of medical cannabis in the Philippines made a thought-provoking comparison. They revealed that everyday products such as sugar and coffee can be even more addictive than marijuana, highlighting the need for a change in perspective.
Chuck Manansala, president of Masikhay Research, emphasized the potential health risks associated with sugar consumption. “When you consume excessive amounts of sugar, it can lead to kidney and heart problems,” he cautioned. He further added coffee to the list of addictive products, while highlighting the significantly lower addictive potential of marijuana.
Meanwhile, Arthur Reyes, CEO of Mabuhigh Maharlika Corporation Company, Ltd. in Thailand, joined the discussion alongside Maria Guadalyn Reyes, co-founder of Sensible Philippines Business Development Medical Company. They are the first Filipinos to establish a cannabis dispensary, alongside their Thai partners, both in Thailand and around the globe. Apart from medical cannabis, they also promote and sell various other medical products and goods from the Philippines.
Arthur expressed his frustration over the slow progress in Congress regarding the legalization of marijuana for medical purposes, saying, “We’ve been left behind. Let’s hope for a faster approval. Many people question why this hasn’t been approved yet.” While the advocates eagerly await progress on this issue, the Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB) convened a meeting to discuss a petition related to the medical use of cannabis.
Dr. Richard Nixon Gomez, president and general manager of Bauertek, highlighted the global demand for cannabis for medical purposes. Countries like Germany, France, and Switzerland rely on imports due to their limited ability to cultivate cannabis domestically. This serves as an opportunity for the Philippines to explore the potential of cultivating cannabis for medical use, reducing the need for imports.
In the coming days, the joint congressional committee on health and dangerous drugs will hold a hearing where advocates for medical cannabis use will make their case. Additionally, the DDB technical working group is scheduled to meet to address the proposed joint study with Bauertek, aiming to evaluate the potency of locally grown cannabis compared to those from the United States, Europe, and other countries. This collaboration between the government and the private sector is a crucial step toward self-sufficiency and securing a reliable source of medical cannabis.
Manansala revealed that there are currently nine bills pending before Congress that advocate for the legalization of marijuana for medical use. He emphasized the importance of considering factors such as affordability, accessibility, and safety when crafting regulations for the production of cannabis-based medicines.
As the discussions and debates continue, it becomes increasingly evident that everyday products like sugar and coffee, which are readily available and consumed without restrictions, can be more addictive than marijuana. With proper regulation and education, legalizing medical cannabis in the Philippines can offer alternative treatment options while ensuring the safety and well-being of individuals who could benefit from its therapeutic properties.