Thousands Visit Thai Weed Clinic in First 10 Days

Nearly five thousand people have visited Thailand's first marijuana clinic within just ten days of opening.

It may come as a shock to readers that Thailand, a country known for its strict drug laws, has recently opened two full-time marijuana-based clinics, which have both been a roaring success. Naturally, it may shock readers, even more, to know that the clinics have been handing out free CBD oil to patients who needed it.

As of January 17th, 2020, the main Thai cannabis-clinic, based in Bangkok, had been visited by 4,639 patients who each had booked an appointment in advance. A sizeable portion of the patients booked their appointments through the Dr. Ganja phone app prior to arriving. At the time, 8,094 CBD oil bottles and almost 2,000 traditional medicines had been dispensed to patients who were suffering from insomnia, migraines, chronic pain, and a host of other issues.

The free CBD oil that the government is providing patients comes in 5mg-10mg vials and is part of a larger initiative to promote the medicinal benefits of cannabis in the country.

Most of the medical cannabis in Thailand is sourced through the Health Ministry's Government Pharmaceutical Organisation – the largest producer of cannabis in the country, and according to the director of medical cannabis research at Kasetsart University, Natakorn Thasnas, the university would also be supplying 2200 kilograms of cannabis leaf to the Ministry.

Though if you want CBD, you'll have to act quickly. The Public Health Minister, Anutin Charnvirakul states that the freebies are only temporary, and are a way to gauge the interest and effectiveness surrounding cannabis medicines. "This is a pilot clinic because we cannot produce enough doctors with expertise in cannabis," he told reporters at the opening ceremony in Bangkok on Monday. Patients will receive treatment free of charge for the first two weeks, he concluded.

The second clinic is in Chiang Mai and has 125 medical staff, including 39 doctors and four traditional Thai medicine practitioners. The second clinic will offer cannabis-based treatments to a similar range of ailments.

Thai Cannabis Clinic
Cannabis Clinic in Thailand

With regards to medicinal marijuana, Thailand first made headlines across the globe in December 2018, when it became the first country in Southeast Asia to legalize cannabis for medical use and research purposes. From that point, over 30 CBD clinics have been set up on a part-time basis.

Though Asia has a much longer history with cannabis than just the last year and change. In fact, Thailand had relatively lax marijuana laws up until 1934 when the country introduced the Marijuana Act. The Act stipulated that the maximum penalty for a cannabis-related offense in Thailand would be a year of prison, though this would be short-lived, as the U.S. began to lead the War on Drugs around the same time with its Marijuana Tax Act of 1937.

Following America's lead, countries across the world began to clamp down their own cannabis laws, which culminated in 1979 when Thailand passed its own Narcotics Act. The Narcotics Act prohibited cannabis use in all its forms and came with a 2-15 year sentence for any marijuana crime beyond mere possession and a fine of up to $40,000.

Thankfully, the days of strict cannabis laws are coming to an end all across the globe, and there's no better example than Thailand. Since legalizing medicinal cannabis, Thailand now has cannabis clinics throughout the country and is even giving away CBD for free. Not only that, but the government is allowing its citizens to grow up to 6 plants in their homes, which they can then sell back to the government. How's that for progressive drug laws?

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Louis O'Neill
Louis O'Neill

Louis is a writer based in Sydney with a focus on social and political issues. Having interviewed local politicians and entrepreneurs, Louis now focuses on cannabis culture, legislation & reform.

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