Medical Marijuana Card & Program in the Philippines

Updated on January 31, 2019.  Medical content reviewed by Dr. Joseph Rosado, MD, M.B.A, Chief Medical Officer

Citizens of the Philippines with debilitating conditions are one step closer to receiving medical marijuana treatments. Although the country has a staunch anti-drug stance which has included cannabis for over 40 years, new legislation is in the works to legalize medical marijuana.

A committee on health in the country’s House of Representatives voted unanimously in favor of HB 180, also called the Philippine Compassionate Medical Cannabis Act. Although the bill still has a long way to go before it’s enacted, it does lay the framework for the program and the process for patients to get a medical marijuana card.

Benefits of Applying for a Medical Marijuana Card in the Philippines

Currently, if a person is found with marijuana, they could be found guilty of possession. The Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002 lays out some hefty penalties for these individuals. The most severe punishments come to those with over 10 grams, with life in prison and even the death penalty being on the table. Even if someone has less than five grams of cannabis, they could face 12 to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to 400,000 Philippine pesos.

Having a Compassionate Medical Cannabis Identification Card will allow patients access to one of the country’s Medical Cannabis Compassion Centers, where medical marijuana treatments will be distributed. The nation’s Food and Drug Administration will ensure all cannabis medications found at these locations are safe, effective and pure.

In addition, citizens with an ID card will be free from both criminal and civil liability, as long as they only carry the recommended dosage and follow specific guidelines about usage.

How to Apply for an Identification Card in the Philippines

The Republic of the Philippines Department of Health will oversee the country’s medical marijuana program. Only patients with qualified debilitating conditions will be allowed to apply. This includes disorders like HIV or AIDS, cancer, glaucoma and more. The steps will be similar to those found in other nations where medicinal cannabis is legal:

  1. Patients must establish a bona fide relationship with a doctor qualified to recommend cannabis.
  2. After the relationship is established, that doctor must confirm the patient’s diagnosis and verify medical marijuana would be a good treatment option.
  3. Patients can then apply to the Department of Health.
  4. If approved, they’ll be issued an identification card from the DOH secretary.

Recertification to the Medical Marijuana Program in the Philippines

Since medical cannabis hasn’t been legalized yet, there isn’t an established protocol for patients who wish to recertify into the program. The patient’s certifying physician will be responsible for determining if they should maintain their status as a patient in the medical marijuana program.

Certification Criteria for Medical Cannabis Physicians in the Philippines

If a physician wishes to diagnose a patient with one of the qualifying conditions and recommend cannabis usage, they need to meet a few criteria laid out by the Department of Health:

  • Have a degree in medicine and a license to prescribe prescription drugs
  • Receive training and become registered as a medical cannabis physician by the DOH
  • Be able to explain the risks and benefits of medical marijuana to patients
  • Have a bona fide relationship with a patient before recommending cannabis

Who to Contact for More Information

Because there isn’t an active medical marijuana program yet, there isn’t a Compassionate Medical Cannabis department in the DOH. However, once this legislation becomes law, the Department of Health will oversee it. Be sure to check the DOH website for updates. They upload news articles about the status of HB 180.

Stay Updated With

As the Philippine Compassionate Medical Cannabis Act progresses through the House of Representatives and the Senate, the above information will be updated. Be sure to check back with for the latest news and updates. We strive to be the go-to source for those looking for information, news and legislation about medical marijuana usage around the world. Check out our blog for other cannabis-related information.

Resources for Medical Marijuana Patients in The Philippines