The moves to legalize what was widely seen as a forbidden drug highlight growing acknowledgement among scientific researchers that cannabis, or marijuana, could help with the treatment of many health conditions. Cannabis has been found to have anti-inflammatory properties and research has suggested it can be useful in the treatment of Alzheimer’s, arthritis, chemotherapy-induced nausea, cancer, anxiety, depression, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis and diabetic nerve damage. Yet there are huge variations in the legal status of cannabis in different nations. In certain U.S. states, the drug is legal for both medicinal and recreational use; in others, it is only for medicinal use, and in yet others it is completely illegal, as it is across Asia. Yet there is a growing social push for decriminalization in many Asian nations. Thailand is flirting with the idea of decriminalization. Privy Counselor-General Paiboon Koomchaya in April told an international meeting on drug policy that Thailand had already softened its stance on narcotics. “Suppression, prevention and rehabilitation will remain, but we need to decriminalize drugs,” he said, according to the Bangkok Post. In the Philippines, amidst a savage, government-led war on drugs, a congressional committee on health has begun discussions on a bill to legalize medicinal cannabis, according to ABS-CBN News. China, meanwhile, has become a leading researcher Medical marijuana on the medicinal use of cannabis, accounting for more than half of the patents filed globally last year, according to the South China Morning Post.