500 cannabis clinics successful, Health Ministry plans to expand

FILE PHOTO: Following the success of 500 Cannabis clinics, the Health Ministry looks to add more.

The Ministry of Public Health has opened more than 500 cannabis clinics throughout Thailand since the first one opened its doors in August of 2019. 60% of public hospitals now have cannabis clinics in 878 districts, and can be found in every single province in Thailand. More than 40,000 patients have now been treated with the use of cannabis.

The Ministry of Public Health’s Department of Thai Traditional and Alternative Medicine oversees all of these clinics and the deputy director-general does the results have been overwhelmingly positive. 74% of patients who were treated in the clinics with some form of cannabis for a variety of illnesses have reported improvement in the condition of their health according to department records.

With the overwhelming success of the clinics so far, the department plans to expand the number of cannabis clinics to put one in nearly every tambon throughout Thailand.

In the past 2 years, the clinics have given out more than 100,000 bottles of cannabis oil to patients free of charge. In addition to the oil extracted from the cannabis seeds, the clinics also use traditional remedies using the flowers, leaves, and roots of the cannabis plant.

The clinics use three different formulas of cannabis oil:

  • Daycha Oil
    • Mild formula
    • Made of 95% coconut oil
    • Approved by the Food and Drug Administration
    • Developed by traditional medical herbalist Daycha Siripatra
    • Given to 40,000 patients
  • Phu Phrao Oil
    • Medium formula
    • 10% concentration
    • Developed by the abbot of Wat Phu Phrao in Ubon Ratchathani
    • Given to about 500 patients
  • Metta Osot Oil
    • Maximum strength formula
    • 50% concentration
    • Translates to “mercy medical cannabis oil”
    • Only used in the Nonthaburi clinic under close supervision
    • Developed by Canadian engineer Rick Simpson to treat his own skin cancer

The latter 2 oils are still undergoing trials and are provided only in extreme cases where are the mild Daycha Oil has proven ineffective. Cannabis oil has been used by clinics to treat things like migraines, loss of appetite, and insomnia, and as a substitute for painkillers. But the stronger oils are often used in cancer patients where some claim to have seen tumours shrink or disappear, but the oil use will at least help with eating and sleeping.

Cannabis clinics prescribe the oil in very small microdoses, starting with a dipped toothpick before gradually increasing to one drop if necessary. They also use 16 different remedies made up of herbal ingredients including cannabis that draw on 300 years of traditional medicine. Traditional remedies have not undergone clinical trials as they have centuries of usage but are still tracked in the patients that receive them.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Neill Fronde

Neill is a journalist from the United States with 10+ years broadcasting experience and national news and magazine publications. He graduated with a degree in journalism and communications from the University of California and has been living in Thailand since 2014.