Hospitals get green light to produce cannabis meds
Health promotion hospitals in the provinces have been given the go-ahead to concoct traditional medicines using cannabis to cure illnesses common in their areas, the Department of Thai Traditional and Alternative Medicine says.
The department has authorised the hospitals, formerly known as suk sala clinics, to produce traditional medicine from among 16 recipes permitted by the government which include cannabis as their base ingredients, said Marut Jirasetthasiri, the department director-general.
The hospitals, however, must have a traditional Thai medicine expert on duty to prepare the medicine.
Dr Marut said the hospitals will be free to produce medicines which they believe will provide effective cures for common illnesses in the localities.
More people have begun to seek treatment using traditional medicine, he said.
A total of 291 units have been set up at state-run medical outlets nationwide to dispense cannabis-mixed medicines and more than 60,000 rounds of treatments have been provided to patients this year.
Dr Marut said demand continues to rise for cannabis-based medicines, prompting the department to allow 152 health promotion hospitals to expand their cannabis farms.
Four such hospitals -- Khlong Muang in Nakhon Ratchasima, Chiang Pin in Udon Thani, Ban Nayor Nua in Sakon Nakhon and Ban Na Pakor in Phatthalung -- have gone ahead with expansion.
The Public Health Ministry already farms cannabis in tightly-controlled environments in Lampang, Mae Hong Son, Pathum Thani, Sakon Nakhon and Nakhon Ratchasima.