Government hospitals in Thailand allowed to prescribe cannabis oil for free

photo via Ministry of Public Health

Yesterday, the Ministry of Public Health announced that 3 types of cannabis oil have been added to Thailand’s National List of Essential Medicines, or NLEM. Now that cannabis is listed as an “essential medicine”, government hospitals may freely prescribe cannabis extract oil to patients in selected circumstances, according to Thailand’s Government Pharmaceutical Organisation, or the GPO.

The first type of cannabis oil contains a higher percentage of tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the psychoactive compound found in marijuana. The second type has a higher rate of CBD, or cannabidiol, which has medicinal properties but no psychoactive effects. The third solution has equal levels of THC and CBD, according to Dr Nathakan Suwanpiddokul, a pharmacist for the GPO.

The oil will primarily be used by cancer patients, especially those suffering side effects from chemotherapy treatment such as nausea and vomiting. The oil will also be used to ease the pain of terminally-ill patients, especially those struggling to sleep or eat.

The addition of cannabis oil to the NLEM will also make the medicine much more accessible in Thailand because the government will cover the costs for anyone prescribed cannabis oil in a state-owned hospital.

Nationwide, doctors from 893 government hospitals may now prescribe cannabis oil to patients. In total, there are now 1,173 marijuana clinics in Thailand, according to Minister of Public Health, Anutin Charnvirakul.

Anutin said that the use of cannabis for medicinal purposes is one of the Ministry of Health’s important policies…

“It is gratifying that all three formulations of medical cannabis extract oils have been included in the NLEM. On May 14, this will not only provide patients with more healthcare options, but will help to strengthen the nation’s medicine. It also reduces the cost of importing expensive drugs from abroad.”

The addition of cannabis to the NLEM will soon be published in the Royal Gazette.

The decriminalisation and legalising of cannabis products was a central platform for the Bhumjaithai Party when they ran for election in 2019. Anutin Charnvirakul is the leader of the Bhumjaithai Party which bring 51 elected MPs to the government ruling coalition government.

SOURCE: Ministry of Public Health

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Leah is a translator and news writer for the Thaiger. Leah studied East Asian Religions and Thai Studies at the University of Leeds and Chiang Mai University. Leah covers crime, politics, environment, human rights, entertainment, travel and culture in Thailand and southeast Asia.

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