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Arroyo admits using medical marijuana to ease pain from cervical spine condition

Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo on Tuesday admitted that she herself had used medical marijuana to deal with the pain from her cervical spine problem.

Arroyo made the remark as she expressed her support to the bill seeking to legalize the use of medical marijuana in the Philippines.

"I really believe in medical cannabis," Arroyo told reporters in an ambush interview during a medical mission in Barangay Holy Spirit in Quezon City.

"As you know I have my problem here (cervical spine) and when I’m in a country that allows it, I put a pain patch but here in the Philippines I cannot do it," she added.

It is for this reason that Arroyo co-authored the House Bill 6517, she said, which has recently been approved at the committee level and is set for plenary deliberations.

According to Kabayan party-list Ron Salo, another author of the bill, health conditions that medical marijuana could help cure include cachexia, seizures, including those characteristic of epilepsy, or severe and persistent muscles spasms, including those associated with multiple sclerosis

"We are just letting the legislative process take its course," Arroyo said.

If enacted into law, House Bill 6517 will also establish Medical Cannabis Compassionate Centers (MCCC) which are authorized to sell, supply, and dispense cannabis to qualified patients or their caregivers through S3-licensed pharmacists.

The MCCC is licensed by the Department of Health based in department-retained hospitals, specialty hospitals and private tertiary hospitals.

The bill will also provide for the establishment of the Medical Cannabis Research and Safety Compliance Facilities mandated to conduct scientific and medical research on the medical use of cannabis. — MDM, GMA News