Photo by Bernama on Malay Mail
On Nov 9th 2021, Malaysia’s health minister, Khairy Jamaluddin announced that Malaysia will now allow the usage of marijuana for medical purposes as long as it passes regulations from the Ministry of Health (MOH). This announcement finally clears the air on the on-going confusion among Malaysians over the status of medical marijuana from the government’s point of view. The announcement was made in a written parliamentary reply to Syed Saddiq Abdul Rahman, who’s a member of the parliament.
Syed Saddiq had previously asked the MOH of Malaysia to state their position on the usage of medicinal marijuana as alternative medicine, thus leading to Khairy’s long awaited announcement. However, the announcement has raised many eyebrows among Malaysians on how the procedures will be implemented and enforced before an individual is allowed to consume marijuana legally here in Malaysia.
Photo found on The Rakyat Post
What does Khairy mean by ‘for medical purpose only’ and what medical conditions allow the consumption of marijuana in Malaysia?
In his statement, KJ mentioned that anyone with sufficient scientific proof that cannabis or hemp can be used for medical purposes can register their product, which will then be evaluated and registered under the Control of Drugs and Cosmetics Regulations 1984. KJ further added that consumption of medical marijuana is allowed in Malaysia as it does not violate the Dangerous Drugs Act 1952, Poisons Act 1952, or the Sale of Drugs Act 195.
Now, this doesn’t mean that Malaysia is following the footsteps of Amsterdam where hitting up a pot outside a convenience store would be a day-to-day routine.
According to recent research done in America, medicinal marijuana typically acts as a substitute to taking pain killers used for chronic pain, insomnia, depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), multiple sclerosis and even cancer pain. Therefore, only registered pharmacists who have a type A license can sell or supply marijuana products to individuals with the necessary medical certificates from a licensed governing body, or a prescription from a licensed medical practitioner.
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Will medicinal marijuana be the perfect substitute for the already existing pain killers?
Based on a recent research, it was proven that cannabis indeed is a perfect substitute for pain killers.
Marijuana or cannabis contains compounds, namely cannabidiol (CBD) or tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) that are meant to relive pain, nausea and other symptoms. What is the difference you may ask? Well, even though they sound similar, they vary in their function towards a human body. THC is a psychoactive compound referring to the cannabinoid chemicals that occur naturally within the body. It stimulates the brain’s cannabinoid receptors, which in turn activates the brain’s reward system and significantly reduces pain levels. This is what most pot heads commonly label the feeling as a ‘high’ as THC binds itself with the cannabinoid receptors producing an elevated state of mind.
On the other hand, CBD doesn’t cause a high but it heavily interacts with the pain receptors found in the brain, which in turn produces pain relieving and anti-inflammatory effects within the body. This is why when a person is ‘high’ on marijuana, they become more relaxed, relieved and resilient to pain. Nevertheless, as much as this sounds intriguing, we can’t divert from the fact that anything consumed in excess can bring severe consequences, even when it comes to medical marijuana.
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What are the procedures before you can import medicinal marijuana into Malaysia? Are there still implications on an individual caught in possession of marijuana?
In all honesty, there’s no reason for pot fans to jump off their seats just yet.
Khairy mentioned that marijuana-containing products should be checked and registered with the Drug Control Authority (DCA) as prescribed by the Control of Drugs and Cosmetics Regulation 1984 under the Sale of Drugs Act. before it can be imported into the country.
Importers must be prepared with a license and import permit under the Control of Drugs and Cosmetics Regulation, the Poisons Act as well as the Dangerous Drugs Act, to bring such products into Malaysia. Similarly, only dealers with a license under the same regulation and Acts are allowed to carry out the wholesale trading of products that contains marijuana.
Therefore, any individual that is caught in possession of marijuana without proper prescription from a certified medical practitioner or a licensed pharmacy will still be penalized under the Dangerous Drug Act, in which the punishments can lead up to life imprisonment if found guilty.
In conclusion, we should definitely pay attention and note down all the rules and regulations following KJ’s announcement. While this could be a step in the right direction for the medical field in Malaysia, the usage of marijuana comes with its own flaws because in the end it is still a drug. Excessive intake of marijuana can lead to extreme paranoia, confusion, sudden loss of memory and traumatic headaches. That is why it’s important for us to understand these circumstances before consuming or being in possession of marijuana as its better to be safe than sorry. What do you think about KJ's announcement? Are you for or against Malaysia legalizing the use of medical marijuana?
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