Bangkok medical clinic offers free cannabis oil
A medical clinic in Bangkok opened on Monday offering free cannabis oil to hundreds of Thais seeking relief from cancer, insomnia and muscle pain. Thai government claims economic and health benefits since 2018 Thailand has become the first Southeast Asian country to legalize medical marijuana, although many Thais have long used the herb in traditional medicine.
Only one year has passed since Parliament approved the creation of a medical cannabis industry and that the first government clinic was opened. it will supply cannabis products to approximately 300 patients per day. During the first two weeks, cannabis products will be distributed free of charge.
The government is eager to harvest the multi-billion dollar potential by investing in technology to extract, distill and market cannabis oils.
"Today marks the beginning“Said Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul at the launch of the Bangkok clinic.
"We are fighting for the better health of Thai people and for a better economy," he said, standing next to a marijuana leaf mascot wearing a doctor's coat.
Hundreds of Thais, mostly older people, were waiting to receive the 5-10 mg vials of muscle pain oil, although some came with much more severe symptoms.
Patients were divided into 4 different types of cannabis products at different levels of integration between THC and CBD for the treatment of various health conditions such as migraines, sleep problems, neck pain and stiffness muscular, said the minister.
Anutin, a construction tycoon who became a minister and whose Bhumjaithai party rode on a pro-marijuana platform in last year's elections to become a major player in parliament, promised his rural voters an economic windfall.
He added that the drug had been “destigmatized” in Thailand.
"If we are talking about extracting cannabis, I have a feeling that people view it as a drug rather than a narcotic," he said.
Still, a knot of rules governs who can grow marijuana plants and extract cannabis oil, and critics say the legislation will limit opportunities for small farmers and likely benefit large agribusinesses.
Medical research has shown that cannabis oil may help relieve pain in patients with conditions such as multiple sclerosis and epilepsy, but science is about its impact on other serious illnesses, including different forms of cancer.
Recreational use and the cannabis trade are still illegal and could result in anyone facing a joint being subject to harsh terms of up to 10 years in prison.