Legalise medical marijuana? Only if proven safe and effective

IPOH: The Health Ministry will only consider registering marijuana for medical use when there is evidence to show that it's effective and safe to use, says Dr Lee Boon Chye.

The Deputy Health Minister was asked to comment on Thailand's recent decision to approve marijuana for medical use and research, and on whether Malaysia would follow suit.

Dr Lee, who is Gopeng MP, said drug companies must produce the necessary evidence on the use of marijuana for medical purposes before it could be registered.

"Some drug company have registered it before, but it was subsequently withdrawn. So if there is any pharmaceutical company that wishes to register marijuana as medicine, they will need to submit a dossier.

"The dossier must contain the necessary information to prove a few things, including whether it is safe and effective when used.

"If there is enough information to show it is safe and effective for use for certain conditions, then the ministry will be able to consider based on the particular indication," he said after a gotong-royong session held at Kampung Rapat Jaya Tambahan near here.

It was reported on Dec 25, that Thailand had approved marijuana for medical use and research, the first legalisation of the drug in a region with some of the world's strictest drug laws.

Dr Lee added that until and unless a pharmaceutical company requested to make such a registration, marijuana was still a chemical governed by the Poison Act, and thus fell under the Dangerous Drugs Act, with possession and sale deemed illegal.

He said usually when a pharmaceutical company wanted to register medication governed under the Poison Act, they would need to register the form and dosage of the drug.

"It must be detailed whether it is in the form of a pill, powder or a solution, and the dosage must be indicated as well. All this must be spelt out in the application.

"Only the doctor has the authorisation to prescribe such medication based on the information indicated," he added.

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