Dept pushing for cannabis use in Thai traditional medicines
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Dept pushing for cannabis use in Thai traditional medicines

The Department of Thai Traditional and Alternative Medicine is pushing for the use of medical cannabis in traditional Thai medicines, with plans to cultivate the cannabis plant at 150 Tambon Health Promoting Hospitals nationwide.

Director-General of the Department of Thai Traditional and Alternative Medicine, Amporn Benjaponpitak, has declared the department's use of cannabis with Thai traditional medicine in the 2020 fiscal year a success.

Dr Amporn said the Public Health Ministry had included medical cannabis in its service plan for the 2020 fiscal year.

This was in line with the government's policy to make further use of local wisdom and knowledge to develop innovative processed agricultural products.

It is also the government's policy to promote research and development on medical cannabis to add economic value to the plant, said Dr Amporn.

For the 2021 fiscal year, the department will focus on developing quality cannabis farms to generate income for people and ensuring there is a sufficient supply of medication made with medical cannabis in the national healthcare scheme.

According to the department's chief, the department has piloted a project to cultivate cannabis at Tambon Health Promotion Hospitals in collaboration with community enterprises.

In the project's first phase, medical cannabis will be cultivated for the production of traditional Thai medicine. Three hospitals have already cultivated cannabis plants.

The second phase is aimed at increasing the number of medical cannabis farms to 150 nationwide.

Presently, 54 hospitals in 20 provinces and 11 health areas have received a licence to cultivate cannabis from the narcotic drugs committee.

In the third phase, medical cannabis will be used to treat palliative care patients. The goal of this phase is to promote the cultivation of medical cannabis by community enterprises.

Dr Amporn added that the department's medical cannabis plan for the 2021 fiscal year had the objective of developing legal cannabis farms for the production of traditional Thai medicine, educating people about legal medical cannabis and increasing health options for people.

Meanwhile, Justice Minister Somsak Thepsutin disclosed that the draft of the Kratom (Mitragyna speciosa) Act is in its second reading stage by a committee chaired by himself.

The Kratom Act draft is expected to be reviewed by parliament in early 2021.

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