MANILA, Philippines — The Dangerous Drug Board has approved “in principle” the use of cannabidiol (CBD) for alleviating severe forms of epilepsy.
The country’s policy-making and strategy-formulating body on the prevention and control of drug abuse said the CBD, a pain reliever, is one of the two most active with the other being known as tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).
The THC is the one that produces the “high” or its psychoactive effects.
DDB’s move is backed by science with the World Health Organization (WHO) saying that “In humans, CBD exhibits no effects indicative of any abuse or dependence potential … To date, there is no evidence of public health-related problems associated with the use of pure CBD.”
The CBD, which is derived from the hemp plant, a “cousin” of cannabis, has scientific proof that it alleviates seizures in people with epilepsy.
“This new study adds rigorous evidence of cannabidiol’s effectiveness in reducing seizure burden in a severe form of epilepsy and, importantly, is the first study of its kind to offer more information on proper dosing,” said one physician in the New England Journal of Medicine.
Undersecretary Benjie Reyes, a DDB permanent member, said the WHO recommended to the Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) — the DDB’s counterpart in the United Nations — to allow CBD with 0.2 percent THC to be reclassified in the 1971 United Nations Convention on Psychotropic Substances as Schedule 4, or substance with currently accepted medical use in treatment and has a low potential for abuse.
Reyes also said the Philippines is a signatory to the UN Convention on Psychotropic Drugs.
In 2018, the United States Drug Enforcement Agency approved the legal use of CBD with 0.1 percent THC.
“This approval serves as a reminder that advancing sound development programs that properly evaluate active ingredients contained in marijuana can lead to important medical therapies. And, the FDA is committed to this kind of careful scientific research and drug development,” said FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, who is a doctor.
An estimated 250,000 children in the Philippines, as of 2014, suffering from epileptic seizure disorder, according to Dr. Donnabel Cunanan, a dentist and founding member and spokesperson for the Philippine Cannabis Compassion Society (PCCS), the lead advocate of House Bill No. 279 may benefit from the DDB approval.
“Actually, our position is, there is no need for a bill,” said DDB’s Reyes. “It can hasten (the process), if the legislature will pass the bill. We don’t have to wait for the CND decision because our local laws will take precedence.”
“But even without the law, as long as it’s in medicine form, it (CBD) can be registered,” he said. “Just like opiates, morphine, those are dangerous drugs, but in medicine form, it can be used. Cocaine is used for anesthesia.” (IAMIGO/sovereignph.com)