In an article posted on its website, the Philippine Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (PORMAL) said marijuana, also known as hemp and cannabis, has shown "established" effects in the treatment of nausea, vomiting, premenstrual syndrome, unintentional weight loss, and lack of appetite, reports Kimberly Jane Tan at GMANews.tv.
Other "relatively well-confirmed" medicinal effects include the treatment of spasticity, painful conditions (especially neurogenic pain), movement disorders, asthma, glaucoma, inflammatory bowel disease, migraines, multiple sclerosis, spinal cord injuries, and hepatitis C, according to PORMAL.
It also said cannabis-based drugs could be "useful" in treating psychological and mental conditions like attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), autism, bipolar disorder, childhood mental disorders, depression, alcoholism, and Tourette's syndrome, among others.
"What other medicine or drug do you know of that has so many applications, without dangerous side effects?" the group asked.
PORMAL also said hemp can be the solution to the Earth's vanishing resources. "Pollution, poisons and chemicals are killing people," the group said. "These great problems could be reversed if we industrialized hemp."
According to PORMAL, the only reason marijuana was made illegal was because it would have rivaled oil as the material used in the production of synthetics.
"Marijuana is not illegal due to it being dangerous -- because it is not," PORMAL said. "Marijuana is illegal because billionaires want to stay billionaires. That's the bottom line."
PORMAL said it will responsibly disseminate information about proper uses of the marijuana plant and products than can be derived from it, and ultimately, lobby for the legalization of its use.
Predictably, the director of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency, General Dionisio Santiago, said he is opposed to the idea of legalizing marijuana. He claimed it would lead to more widespread drug use in the Philippines.
"That's why we call marijuana a gateway drug, so I am a little afraid we might become a loose cannon," he said Tuesday.
Santiago, however, claimed he is prepared to listen to PORMAL's arguments. "They should justify it," he said. "I am ready to face them anytime."
Philippine Senate Majority Leader Vicente "Tito" Sotto III, former head of the Dangerous Drugs Board, challenged PORMAL to submit empirical data to prove their claims that marijuana is, in fact, beneficial.
"That group is misguided," Sotto claimed. "They're completely wrong. That's probably just a gimmick."
No bills have been filed in the Philippine Senate regarding legalization of marijuana for medical, recreational, or industrial uses, according to GMANews.tv.