Medical Cannabis Research in Thailand

Efforts on Putting pressure on Medical Cannabis Research in Thailand, marijuana, weed pot, cannabis news
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Efforts on Putting pressure on Medical Cannabis Research in Thailand

Asia’s aggressive approach to police use and the manufacture of drugs is infamous for Southeast Asia. But reform is underway in Thailand as authorities aim to grow the medical cannabis research industry in the country. Their military-dominated, conservative government has led the effort to turn Thailand into a regional hub for medical marijuana cultivation and distribution.

The first full-time medical marijuana clinic in Bangkok was opened by the Ministry of Public Health in Thailand earlier this month.

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What has pushed the monarchy to pass the bill on Medical Cannabis research

Marijuana was first legalized during 1935 and has been a traditional Thai medicine, often used as a complex pain reliever for hundreds of years. In December 2018, Thailand legalized medical marijuana, making it South-East Asia’s first country.

The military-dominating parliament has voted to amend the Narcotic Act of 1979 to allow marijuana as a “new-year gift” for the Thai population. The Thai public is now provided information on growing marijuana, medical studies, and the status of weed in the country on a dedicated website of the health ministry.

The first medical cannabis research institution was founded in Bangkok in April of last year. In a statement, Rafarma Pharmaceuticals, a United States corporation, recently hired a Thai business officer to take on the Thai “forward” activities. In addition to creating “the most coordination between the European and Thai cannabis growing operations of the firm.”

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How and where to get marijuana for medical use?

The Federal Government has approved the selling of medicinal marijuana, but the issuance of a prescription will still not be straightforward.

Cannabis extracts have been approved for use to treat several disorders and diseases including cancer, epilepsy, Alzheimer’s disease, and Parkinson’s disease and anxiety. The Regime has undertaken to open more clinics in Bangkok with a mobile app that will allow patients to book appointments. The character Dr. Ganja, an approachable, leaf-headed scientist, is at the forefront and the heart of the administration’s medicinal campaign to legalize marijuana.

Former General Prayut Chan-o-cha, the despot of Thailand, has personally endorsed legal cannabis, which was recently discovered in a cannabis nebulizer alongside Dr. Ganja. So where has this drive come from?  And could signal the further liberalization of drug use in South-East Asia, towards establishing Thailand’s legal cannabis market?   

In brief, the military understands that there are tremendous possibilities for industry and for increasing tax revenues.

Efforts on Putting pressure on Medical Cannabis Research in Thailand
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What are the outcomes of this bill when it becomes legal?

The worldwide legal marijuana industry is forecasted at US$ 66.3 billion ($96 billion) by the end of 2025.  As per the 2019 report by Grand View Research, a US market research company. Gino Vumbaca, chairman of Harm Reduction Australia, said that “the cannabis market, like all illicit drugs, is dominated by the black market, organized crime.”

“Equate this with alcohol and cigarettes in which the government collects money that goes directly to the care and to health promotion. For example, the US state of Colorado pays fees and taxes for legal cannabis in excess of $29 million per month. The Prohibition Partners’ Managing Director, Daragh Anglim, said in a statement: ‘a controlled legal cannabis industry could turn doctors, farmers, and economies across Asia.’

Marijuana has been reported to diversify the crop production of poor Thai farmers.
In 2018, Prapat Panyachartrak, Chairman of the National Farmers Council of Thailand told AFP: “I hope the country will be able to produce 100 billion Baht annually from cannabis and from raw materials and cannabis oil. Thailand is now one of the world’s main destinations for medical tourism.

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Efforts on Putting pressure on Medical Cannabis Research in Thailand
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Thailand tourism and other industries

The Thai Tourism Secretary Pipat Ratchakitprakan announced on his first day in office in mid-2019 that, as cited by the Bangkok Post, “The packages we want to sell medical tourism facilities, such as detoxification, Thai massages and other healthcare courses using marijuana substances. His name is a crazy brave alter-ego “Weedman,” who Mr. Charnvirakul embraced the concept of allowing normal Thais to cultivate up to six marijuana plants at home.

Phil Robertson, deputy head of Human Rights Watch Asia section, told ABC last year: “I agree that Thailand is justified in modifying their attitude to drugs, because you look at marijuana in a different way, and look at methamphetamines,” he added. Nevertheless, experts say that Thailand is unlikely in handling certain illegal substances like marijuana or easing its aggressive attitude to illicit drugs.

As in other areas of the world, incremental improvements happen. Jeremy Douglas from the UN Office on Drugs and Crime and Eamonn Murphy from UNAIDS, wrote in recent opinions, “The detention was expensive and proved to be unsuccessful in curbing substance usage and prison communities in south-east Asia increased with increasing rates of methamphetamine output, trade, and consumption.

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