New pot scare alert: 'heart problems'

New pot scare alert: 'heart problems'

Teachers tell pupils about the danger of cannabis at Ban Bang Kapi School in Bangkok on June 16. (Photo: Varuth Hirunyatheb)
Teachers tell pupils about the danger of cannabis at Ban Bang Kapi School in Bangkok on June 16. (Photo: Varuth Hirunyatheb)

The Forensic Physician Association of Thailand has warned that people who consume cannabis run the risk of contracting coronary heart disease and other heart-related diseases.

Dr Smith Srisont, the association's president who also heads the operational forensic lab at the Faculty of Medicine, Ramathibodi Hospital, said on Tuesday the information came from overseas research on toxicology published in 2019.

It included the cases of 13 people who died from using cannabis. Most were between 17 and 52 and had no underlying diseases or other toxic substances found in their bodies.

Blood tests also showed they did not consume unusually large amounts of the drug.

Aside from the deaths, 35 people aged 15 to 53 were found to have fallen ill after using cannabis. It also caused them to suffer ischemic heart disease and cardiac arrhythmia.

Dr Smith also cited research which found that almost 4,000 patients were 4.8 times more likely to contract ischemic heart disease after smoking cannabis for around an hour a day.

As such, he stressed Thailand must have strict laws to control the use of the plant similar to other countries, while also raising the public's awareness of the potential risks involved.

The government should also mete out legal punishment against restaurants or eateries for using cannabis as an ingredient in their menus without warning their customers about the risks, he said.

Dr Smith advised people who experience nausea after consuming cannabis to consult a doctor immediately.

In Buri Ram, four novice monks were defrocked after a video clip online showed them smoking cannabis.

The Buri Ram Provincial Office of Buddhism launched a probe and the four men later admitted their wrongdoing.

Meanwhile, the Department of Mental Health has confirmed that a Thai man with a history of psychiatric illness cut off his own penis while hallucinating after he consumed too much cannabis and feeling sharp pains in that part of his body.

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