One of the severe penalties Mark Anthony Fernandez may face for illegal possession of drugs is life imprisonment.
The actor was arrested on October 3.
Currently detained at Angeles City Police Station 6 in Pampanga, the former matinee idol insisted that he took marijuana as a preventive measure against cancer.
But Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB) Chairman Benjamin Reyes stated, “Yung latest statement ng World Health Organization (WHO) sa ngayon, kailangan pa rin natin nang masusing pag-aaral at mahaba pa na clinical studies.
“Pinag-aaralan nila a range of disease from glaucoma to cancer to Crohn’s disease, but still, wala pa rin tayong conclusive evidence that it can cure nor prevent.
“So far, ang only approved therapeutic value pa lang ng marijuana component used in medicine form is yung Marinol pa lang for dyspepsia, para sa sakit ng tiyan.
"So sa ngayon, wala pa talagang scientific and clinical evidence that it can be used for any other disease."
Here are five fast facts about marijuana.
1. Marijuana has the highest rate of drug abuse in the country.
In the interview, Chairman Reyes noted that marijuana had already surpassed shabu.
“Kasi madaling tumubo yung marijuana, especially sa mga kabundukan natin. Tumutubo lang iyan nang basta’t-basta, and so nahihirapan din yung ating enforcement agents na umakyat.”
Another probable reason why the use of marijuana surged: people think of it as a form of herbal medicine.
Chairman Reyes underlined, “Ang kumakalat na message ngayon, ‘Wala naman masama sa paggamit ng marijuana. In fact, gamot pa ito.’
"And this encourages, as far as my personal opinion is concerned, yung paggamit ng marijuana."
2. Yes, it is highly addictive.
According to the DBB chairman, the user would eventually have “psychological dependence” on the drug.
The 20-year research conducted over 20 years by Professor Wayne Hall, an adviser to the World Health Organization, indicated that "one in six teenagers who regularly smoke cannabis become dependent on it, as are one in ten regular adult users."
3. It can lead to mental problems.
Professor Wayne Hall to Telegraph.co.uk that it marijuana can double "the risk of psychosis and schizophrenia, with withdrawal symptoms including anxiety, insomnia, loss of appetite and depression."
4. It has hallucinogenic properties.
According to the official site of DDB, it can also impair a person’s memory and focus, making him or her feel "stoned" and in a "trance-like" state.
It can also disarray motor coordination, balance, and reaction time.
5. You can legally possess marijuana as long as you have a special permit.
The Compassionate Use of Dangerous Drugs under the Administrative Order No. 4 issued by the Department of Health (DOH) on 1992 allows use of marijuana for medical purposes.
But Chairman Reyes argued, “1992 pa ‘yan and yet wala pang nag-a-avail. And since lumabas yung marijuana bill natin way back 2014, sinabi na namin ‘yan doon sa mga pasyente na puwede nila i-avail yun, pero so far wala pa po nag-a-avail.”
The first step: It has to be prescribed by a doctor.
But frequency of use has to be monitored.
Chairman Reyes underlined, “In any medicine, dosage spells the difference. Habang tumataas, umiiba rin yung epekto.
"So dapat kontrolado at kung gaanong karami ang iniinom ng isang tao.”