Medical marijuana products in the United States. Thailand hopes to produce similar products soon. Photo: AFP/Josh Edelson

With polls showing 72% of Thai people agreeing that marijuana should be legalized for medical purposes, senior officials are now urging the country’s rulers to hasten the process. 

Thailand’s Narcotics Control Board has suggested that Prajin Jantong, a Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Justice, work on law clauses to make medical use of marijuana legal. 

The Narcotics Control Board also suggested the ruling National Council for Peace and Order use Section 44 – which gives the head of government the ability to override existing legislation and issue new laws at will – to create a law legalizing marijuana for medical purposes in Thailand.

However, at present marijuana is still classed as a category 5 drug under Thai law and its use is forbidden. 

Sopon Mekthon, a former Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Public Health, said he agreed with the use of Section 44 to legalize marijuana because it would help a lot of people in need – extracts of cannabis oil can be made into various types of products to treat patients such as body lotions, suppositories, oil and other things. 

In 2016, the Ministry of Public Health created a ministerial regulation on the import, export and possession of drugs classed as category 4 and 5. Those who wish to plant, sell, import or export marijuana for research or for medical purposes must file a petition with their reasons, the amount and other details to the Ministry of Public Health for approval. 

CBC (Cannabidiol) and THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol), which are found in cannabis, can help reduce nauseousness, swelling, heal wounds, reduce pain and also help people relax.

The Faculty of Pharmacy at Rangsit University has conducted research and developed sample products from cannabis extracts. One of those products is oromucosal spray. The spray has been found to help reduce pain from multiple sclerosis and cancer and it could become a treatment of choice for patients.

Research into the medical uses of marijuana is ongoing in Thailand and public opinion is leaning more and more towards legalizing its use to assist those in need.

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