Initial studies have found that patients, including those with cancer, have benefited from cannabis extract treatment and it may inhibit cancer cell growth, according to the Government Pharmaceuticals Organisation.
GPO specialist Nanthakan Suwanpidokkul said on Monday studies were being conducted after GPO started distributing medical cannabis products to public and private hospitals in August last year.
She said the Prasat Neurological Institute and Queen Sirikit National Institute of Child Health found that symptoms had improved in 10, or 62%, of 16 children suffering from difficult-to-treat and intractable epilepsy.
The Prasat Neurological Institute also found that five out of seven multiple sclerosis patients who did not respond to standard treatments were improving while being treated with THC:CBD (1:1) extract. THC stands for tetrahydrocannabinol and CBD for cannabidiol.
The National Cancer Institute reported that the 14 terminal cancer patients who were receiving palliative care saw their pains relieved by more than 50%, had more appetite, gained weight and slept better after receiving THC:CBD (1:1) extract for three months, Ms Nanthakan said.
The Department of Medical Services applied THC extract and normal medicines to 42 terminal cancer patients at its medical cannabis clinics in provinces for a month and found improvements in their pain, appetite loss and insomnia.
Most patients responded positively to the treatment without any severe side effects.
They normally suffered from dry lips and throats, confusion, headaches and palpitations, as well as nausea and vomiting, Ms Nanthakan said.
For Parkinson patients, THC:CBD (1:1) was applied to 16 patients at Sakonnakhon Hospital in Sakon Nakhon province for three months. Their conditions improved. Most of them slept better and had a better quality of life without impacts on their memory.
GPO also found that THC and CBD had different effects on inhibiting cancer cells in test tubes. It assumed that a combination of THC and CBD could inhibit cell growth in breast, pancreatic and bile duct cancer.
More tests could be conducted on animals later, Ms Nanthakan said.