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Thailand Paving Way for Medical Marijuana in SE Asia

For centuries, Thailand cultivated marijuana and treated the plant as traditional medicine, until the 1934 ban which criminalized the drug, despite its historical significance as medical treatment.

In 1979, the nation passed the Narcotic Drugs Act that classified marijuana as a Class 5 narcotic. Thus, anyone caught for cultivation, possession or trade could be charged with tremendous fines and face up to 15 years in prison.

Last December, Thailand legalized the use of medical marijuana solely for patient treatment, research and industry activities. The law focuses on the usage of cannabis and kratom, a local plant native to the Southeast Asia region known for its opioid properties. In terms of possession, patients must have a doctor’s certificate or prescription, and are limited to a certain amount of the herbal extract.

Recent statistics indicate that more than 50,000 patients have applied for medical marijuana amnesty. As for when these patients will find out if they are eligible or have access to legal amounts of cannabis, that remains uncertain.

While studies on its medicinal properties demonstrated mixed results, some of the literature exhibit improvement in varying conditions, from insomnia and asthma to Parkinson’s and cancer. While some argue that the ingredient cannabidiol (CBD) shows more promise as it doesn’t get users high, Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the psychoactive ingredient that’s known to relax blood vessels, helping those suffering from chronic pain, multiple sclerosis or spinal injuries.

This bill sheds new light on the drug’s usage in Southeast Asia, where drug laws are among the world’s strictest.

Singapore deems marijuana as an illicit drug but have in the past allowed for the use of pharmaceutical CBD products for managing seizures and epilepsy.

A few months ago, the Philippine researchers recognized the therapeutic care it could offer for those with arthritis, epilepsy and multiple sclerosis. However, the war on drugs make the legalization of medical marijuana near impossible.

Sheena Bergado

Sheena first met Tricia on a back pain support forum. After becoming online friends they launched PainFreeWorking.com in 2019. Due to suffering from upper back and shoulder pain, Sheena vows to find the best ergonomic office equipment in the Philippines to help fellow desk workers.