The Dangerous Drugs Board would like to clarify that marijuana use remains illegal in the country for both recreational and medical use. The use of Cannabidiol, however, is being considered to be allowed for treatment of certain rare forms of epilepsy like Lennox-Gastaut and Dravet Syndrome.

Cannabidiol or CBD is just one of the hundreds of cannabinoids found in marijuana. It is by far, the only component proved to have medical benefits. The United States Food and Drug Administration (US FDA) has allowed the use and registered the medicine called Epidiolex which is CBD with not more than 0.1 percent tetrahydrocannabidiol (THC), based on the approved threshold of the United States Drug Enforcement Agency (US DEA). Epidiolex is in oral solution form with a maximum dosage of 20 milligrams per day.

Following this threshold, the Board is considering the adoption of a regulation to allow the use of the medication. The DDB has been in consultation with experts from the academe, professional medical associations, Department of Health, Food and Drug Administration, and Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency to finalize the regulation. Last month, a public hearing was conducted in line with the proposed regulation.

This is part of the functions of the Board under Section 93 of Republic Act 9165 to reclassify, add or remove any drug from the list of dangerous drugs. This is also in line with the fulfillment of the mandate of the same Act to achieve a balance in the national drug control program so that legitimate medical needs are not prevented from being treated with adequate amounts of appropriate medications.

Within its mandate, the Board would like to improve access to dangerous drugs with medical purposes while ensuring that strict protocols are in place to prevent unauthorize use or abuses. The proposed Regulation has been approved in principle but has to be confirmed by the Board in its next meeting. Only then can the use of Cannabidiol-based medication with not more than 0.1 percent THC content can be allowed.

With this regulation, there is no need for a separate “medical marijuana” law since mechanisms already exist to allow the use of dangerous drug compounds in medicine form.

Cultivation and production of marijuana for medical or for any other purposes is still prohibited under RA 9165.

Last year, the Board has also approved a Regulation providing for the issuance of license to acquire, possess and use medicines containing dangerous drugs that are not registered in the Philippines but are registered in other countries. Only specialist physicians with S2 licenses will be allowed to prescribe medicines with dangerous drugs through the use of special "yellow" prescription pads.