The Ministry of Public Health has found a new use for cannabis after successfully categorising it as a drug that can be used for medical purposes.
The campaign to promote cannabis extracts for alternative medical treatment took off in earnest last year. Many hospitals have already offered cannabis-based treatment to patients, while the ministry has vowed to invest more in research and development of the plant.
But for much of this year, the plant has been promoted among the wider public.
The Narcotics Control Board agreed to remove cannabis and hemp leaf and their parts from the narcotic drug list.
Board members resolved to remove stems, stalks and roots from cannabis plants and hemp, together with a component of CBD (cannabidiol) and THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) with less than 0.2% of the total gross from the narcotic drug list.
The removal also covers hemp’s non-viable seed, oil extract, or any substance extracted from hemp. Leaves from cannabis and hemp are also off the list, but not the flowers and buds which are still under Category 5 of the narcotic drugs list.
Only institutions or people approved by the government can cultivate cannabis plants.
The ministry wants to promote the use of cannabis for medical purposes and support the cultivation of hemp as a cash crop.
It will also draft a ministerial regulation, which would allow ordinary people to cultivate hemp as long as there is a business plan in place to make sure everything from the plant goes through a controlled process.
However, a licence to cultivate it is still needed, which requires approval from the Narcotics Control Board.
Bottles of cannabis oil produced by the Department of Thai Traditional and Alternative Medicine. Pornprom Satrabhaya front cover