Ask Our Experts: CBD Products in the Philippines
Q: What is the legal status for CBD products in the Philippines?
A: Given the recent history of a violent war on drugs as deployed under the Philippine government of President Rodrigo Duterte, the Philippines remain a highly dangerous arena for cannabis consumers.
Last year, the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) essentially banned a rap song about cannabis. If that was as benign an action as the PDEA tends to involve itself in, its stance nevertheless reflects the government’s reflexive opposition to drugs. Though the country’s Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB) earlier this year approved a resolution “in principle” to allow the use of CBD by patients suffering from severe forms of epilepsy, the scope is quite narrow. The legislation would be limited to apparent accommodation of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)’s approval of Epidiolex, a patented drug sold by UK-based GW Pharmaceuticals. Beyond Epidiolex, however, the Filipino government’s view of CBD remains discouraging.
Last February, Undersecretary Benjie Reyes (a DDB permanent member) tacitly endorsed a resolution by the World Health Organization (WHO) to allow CBD with 0.2 percent THC for medical purposes. Should the FDA classify CBD as a nutritional supplement, as opposed to a pharmaceutical ingredient, the government may further reform its stance.
For the time being, however, the prospects for opening a CBD market to serve a population of 109 million remain DOA in the Republic of the Philippines.