Over 1,000 cannabis clinics have opened this year
Over 1,000 clinics offering cannabis-based treatments have opened since the start of the year, promising better public access to the medicinal plant, according to the Public Health Ministry.
Out of the 1,026 clinics which opened this year, 929 are clinics run directly by the ministry, while the rest are managed by private hospitals nationwide, said Dr Rungrueng Kijphati, the ministry's spokesman.
In addition to dispensing both modern and traditional cannabis-based treatments to patients, these clinics also double as research units which allow the ministry to prevent the unwanted consequences of the plant's legalisation, the spokesman added.
Since cannabis was decriminalised for medical and research purposes back in 2019, the ministry and the Government Pharmaceutical Organisation have reviewed the results of 60 studies on the benefits of using cannabis to treat patients suffering from various ailments, including chronic pain, sleep disorders and decreased appetite in end-stage cancer patients, he said.
These studies will be cited in the proposal to include at least five cannabis-based treatments on the country's essential drug list, he said.
Since the start of the year, the number of patients seeking cannabis-based treatments has increased by 142.18%, he said.
Prachin Buri's Chao Phraya Abhaibhubejhr Hospital, the first hospital in the country to offer cannabis-based therapies back in June 2019, has over 2,000 regular patients. The number of patients receiving such care nationwide exceeds 10,000, he said.
Separately, the cabinet on Tuesday approved the Public Health Ministry's proposal to appoint one more deputy permanent secretary, who will monitor implementation of the ministry's core policies, including the legalisation of cannabis, said deputy government spokeswoman Traisuree Taisaranakul.
Bhumjaithai Party MP Supachai Jaisamut, who chairs the House panel vetting cannabis and hemp laws, meanwhile, said on Wednesday deliberation on the bill on cannabis and hemp control, currently stalled in parliament, will resume in November.
The bill is meant to protect the public from cannabis abuses.