With the country’s support for medical marijuana growing, a professor from the Ateneo’s School of Science and Engineering has taken upon himself the responsibility of meticulously studying the plant and its purported benefits.
Botany professor Arnel Dodriguez, PhD, is leading the charge by requesting that the school start its own Marijuana plantation for “scientific research.” In an interview with the Guidon, Dr. Dodriguez says that while there are many studies about Marijuana already, there are no specific studies examining Marijuana in the Philippine context.
“Before the country makes any decisions regarding Marijuana legalization, we need to know the facts about Marijuana, its effects on the body, and its possible impact on our local society.” He also adds that one can never be too sure when it comes to dangerous, illegal substances like pot. While researchers abroad claim it is safe, Dr. Dodriguez says that it wouldn’t hurt to verify that these “positive test results” are repeatable. “We believe that it is important to always doublecheck findings, because results should always be repeatable. I mean, we need to make sure it is 100% safe. The PMA (Philippine Medical Association) wouldn’t cling to archaic, unfounded conservative notions about pot without reason, right?”
Of course, in order to study Marijuana, he would need a steady supply of samples to perform their tests on, so the University has requested for an exemption from current laws restricting its import and cultivation for research purposes. The school also has to meet strict standards in regards to accountability, experimentation, and security.
The University says that if allowed, they could find ways to properly purchase seeds and starter plants. “Hypothetically, if we in the Botany department have ever grown pot illegally, which we have never done before, we would’ve grown it in, say, an unused closet in the Faculty lunch room. If we are allowed to start our for-research-only Marijuana project, we could use those totally imaginary plants and our totally hypothetical growing experience to everyone’s benefit.”
They also said that they are ready to accommodate any changes to security, but doubt the need for any big security upgrades because “security has never been a problem for us before”. Not that they had something worth securing. “We’re experts at hiding things in plain sight. Because we’re scientists. Yes. That is, uh, that is a totally logical train of thought.”
As for budgets and test subjects, the Professor says that he can hit two birds with one stone. Most of the time, people are paid to act as medical test subjects. He thinks that he can ask for volunteers from the student body or from scholars who need extra work hours to help in his research, or even charge people for the opportunity to “intern” with the researchers.
“We’re giving these students a wonderful opportunity to learn first-hand what it’s like to be a scientist working in the field of botany. We think it’ll be very easy for us to find willing student volunteers.”
In the long-run, Dr. Dodriguez thinks that the field of Marijuana, I mean, the field of Marijuana research, could expand to include the other schools of the University. He foresees Social Science majors studying the effects of Marijuana on communities, or its Psychological impacts on users. Management majors can learn how to dominate a market even before it becomes legal, and SOH Majors, well, SOH majors can probably use it to find something to blog about or something. But only when they’re sick, of course, only when they’re sick.