KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 7 — Thailand opened its first full-time public cannabis clinic in Bangkok yesterday to expand medical marijuana treatment, offering hundreds of patients free cannabis oil.
Bangkok Post reported that general hospitals around the country have some 25 cannabis clinics attached to them, but these operate only a few days a week because of a lack of specialised staff, unlike the newly launched pilot clinic.
“This is a pilot clinic, because we cannot produce enough doctors with expertise in cannabis,” Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul was quoted saying at the opening ceremony.
Thailand’s health ministry reportedly said four types of medicines containing different combinations of cannabidiol (CBD) and THC were available to treat migraine, insomnia, neck pain, and muscle stiffness. CBD is a compound of the marijuana plant that purportedly doesn’t produce a “high” unlike the psychoactive chemical, THC.
The largest producer of medicinal cannabis in Thailand is currently the health ministry’s Government Pharmaceutical Organisation.
The pilot clinic based in Thailand’s Ministry of Public Health reportedly expects to see from 200 to 300 patients every day.
“If we talk about cannabis extraction, I have a sense people view it as medication rather than it being a narcotic,” Anutin was quoted saying.
CBD is generally marketed as relief for anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder. The New York Times reported that Epidiolex, a purified CBD extract, is the only CBD-derived medicine approved by the United States’ Food and Drug Administration; it treats rare seizure disorders.
Almost 2,200 people have reportedly registered at the Bangkok cannabis clinic until March, while the Thai health ministry plans to open 77 clinics across the country, one in each province.
The Asian country dropped last year marijuana and hemp extracts from its narcotics list and proposed legislation to allow each household to grow six cannabis plants, according to Bangkok Post.