KUALA LUMPUR: Cannabis extract products for medical purposes, whether made locally or overseas, can be registered with the Drug Control Authority (DCA) before it is approved for sale in Malaysia, says Deputy Health Minister Datuk Dr Noor Azmi Ghazali (pic).
He said if there were any groups with enough scientific proof on the use of medicine containing cannabis extract, they were welcome to register their products with the DCA.
"The Health Ministry does not reject any studies on the efficacy of medicinal cannabis. If there are products concerning medical cannabis that were approved overseas, the said company can register their products in Malaysia," he said.
Dr Noor Azmi added that medical cannabis falls under the purview of the Dangerous Drugs Act (DDA) 1952, the Poisons Act 1952 and the Sale of Drugs Act 1952.
"It does not stop the imports, sale, supply, and mass production of cannabis extract for medical purposes, as long as the activity is in accordance with the law," he said during the oral question and answer session in the Dewan Rakyat on Thursday (July 28).
Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman (Muda-Muar) then asked what would happen to people using medicinal cannabis and ketum for treatment saying that in Thailand and Indonesia, the process to approve medicinal cannabis had started.
"Doctors here are ready to prescribe, but according to the law, criminal charges can be made against the doctor and even patients, as well as their guardians," he said.
Dr Noor Azmi said there were benefits of using medical cannabis to treat depression, cancer, epilepsy and other diseases, but stressed that until the present laws are amended, those using the drug will be charged.
"If we are still stuck with previous laws, we can't do anything. That's why we need everyone's cooperation to amend it.
“Studies have shown that these products can be used and are efficient in treating certain illnesses.
"The issue here is the stigma when we mention cannabis, people are still scared. But, those involved are patients who are benefitting from it, so they shouldn't be arrested or jailed," he said.
Dr Noor Azmi said presently there were no clinical trials on any products containing cannabis extract for those who were using it for medical purposes in Malaysia.
Section 6 of the DDA prohibits the possession of cannabis, which is an offence punishable with five years’ prison or a fine not exceeding RM20,000.
Section 39A of the DDA states that those found with over 50g of cannabis are punishable with five years’ jail and at least 10 strokes of the rotan.