The House of Representatives, with a vote of 163 for and five against, Tuesday approved on third and final reading a proposed law legalizing use of cannabis or marijuana for medical purposes. 

House Bill No. 6517 or the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis principally filed by Isabela Rep. Rodolfo Albano III will be sent to the Senate for approval. 

Albano said the bill does not decriminalize the use of marijuana except for medicinal purposes for qualified patients certified by doctors who have assessed their medical history. 

The bill does not allow smoking of cannabis and its recreational use continues to be prohibited by law, Albano said. 

The Department of Health (DoH) and Department of Science and Technology (DOST)-Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (PCHRD) proposed safeguards be put in place to ensure the medicinal use of marijuana would not be abused. 

According to Albano, marijuana  “has been confirmed to have beneficial and therapeutic uses to treat chronic or debilitating disease or medical condition.” 

These include cachexia or wasting syndrome; severe and chronic pain; severe nausea; seizures, including but not limited to those characteristic of epilepsy; and severe and persistent muscle spasms,including but not limited to those associated with multiple sclerosis, Albano said. 

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