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Thai narcotics police conduct several raids, nab Nigerian lynchpin

Maya Taylor

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Thai narcotics police conduct several raids, nab Nigerian lynchpin | Thaiger
PHOTO: Chiang Rai Times

Narcotics suppression police in Thailand have landed a huge drugs haul and arrested 17 people, including both Thais and foreigners. Speaking at a press conference held at Thailand’s Narcotics Suppresson Bureau, police say they have taken possession of 100 kilograms of heroin and over 500 kilos of crystal meth.

In one case, code-named “Black Sasimi”, a total of 11 arrests were made across 19 separate locations, including a Nigerian man identified as John Ume and a Thai man named as Chatchawal Rojanaphat, both of whom are alleged to be the gang’s ringleaders. Police confiscated 5,200 speed pills, as well as over 700 grams of crystal meth and a quantity of kratom leaves. The Chiang Rai Times reports that they were acting on a tip-off received from Japanese police. The gang is accused of obtaining drugs for African nationals in Japan, using Thai women as ‘mules’.

At a house in the central province of Samut Prakan, police seized 500 kilos of crystal methamphetamine and 2 kilogramss of ketamine worth 250 million baht. In Chiang Rai, the authorities have frozen 42 million baht worth of assets believed to belong to a major drug gang operating in the eastern province of Rayong. This gang is accused of trafficking drugs into Thailand through the northeastern province of Nong Khai, which sits on the banks of the Mekong.

In another case, two men were arrested at a checkpoint in the southern province of Chumphon, with police confiscating 100 kilogramss of heroin. At another checkpoint in the central province of Ayutthaya, police arrested two men and seized 200 kilograms of marijuana.

Police are also investigating a restaurant in central Thailand which is believed to be at the centre of a drug exchange operation, whereby drugs are smuggled from Laos into the Isaan region in the north-east of Thailand, and then distributed to Bangkok and other cities around the country.

Meanwhile, anti-narcotics forces continue to work on combatting the drug smuggling operations in the Golden Triangle region, where the borders of Thailand join those of Laos and Myanmar. The area has long been considered the centre of drug trafficking in the region, with the number of seizures increasing by 1000% in the last 2 years, as industrial-scale production of crystal meth is ramped up in Myanmar.

SOURCE: Chiang Rai Times

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Cannabis may ease lung inflammation from Covid-19, study

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Cannabis may ease lung inflammation from Covid-19, study | Thaiger
Stock photo by Washarapol D Bin Yo Jundang for Pexels

Cannabis may help ease and reduce lung inflammation for Covid-19 patients, according to a recent study. Researchers in the study claim the non-psychoactive component of cannabis, cannabinol, or CBD, has anti-inflammatory properties.

More research should be done on how CBD and treating severe lung inflammation from the coronavirus, according to researchers from University of Nebraska and the Texas Biomedical Research Institute indicates. Their recent peer-reviewed article in the latest issue of Brain, Behaviour, and Immunity investigates cannabis’ anti-inflammatory qualities.

Covid-19 can cause inflammation that leads to pneumonia which can clog lungs and cause breathing difficulties, an often deadly symptom of the coronavirus. This is why researchers are emphasising anti-inflammatory treatments for infected patients.

“There are drug treatments like Tocilizumab that clears patients’ lungs with a 90% success rate, but the side effects are harsh, including the risk of coronary artery disease and pancreas inflammations. Cannabis may be a key solution since it doesn’t carry such severe negative side effects.”

The CBD treatment made from cannabis does not carry the same effects of THC or smoking marijuana would, though THC has also been shown to be anti-inflammatory but is with more side effects. Cannabis already carries FDA approval, even being used for children with intractable epilepsy.

Aside from anti-inflammatory use, CBD also reduces several factors that contribute to severe Covid-19 cases and also increases proteins that prevent the virus from replicating by activating immune cells. Previous studies with asthmatic animals showed CBD reduced airway inflammation as well as pulmonary fibrosis, which can be an after-effect of Covid-19 damaging and scarring lung tissue causing breathing problems.

The cannabis study on lung inflammation shows that doses up to 1500 milligram a day were safe for up to 2 weeks. The researchers also noted that as an added bonus CBD reduces anxiety, something very useful for the stress of life during a pandemic. Helpfully, cannabis was recently legalised in Thailand and the government has been drafting regulations on importing it.

While the article doesn’t directly link cannabis as a treatment for Covid-19, the evidence on CBD’s effect on lung inflammation, a dangerous symptom of coronavirus, makes further research worthwhile. The researchers urge further research to experiment if cannabis can be directly incorporated into Covid-19 treatment to help with inflammation and anxiety too.

SOURCE: Forbes

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Thailand

Thailand drafting new regulations for cannabis and hemp seeds

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Thailand drafting new regulations for cannabis and hemp seeds | Thaiger
Photo by Rick Proctor for Unsplash

A new regulations for cannabis and hemp seeds imports is in the works by Thailand’s Agriculture Department. With certain parts of the cannabis plant now off the narcotics list, many are tapping into the market for CBD, or cannabidiol, the non-psychoactive component in hemp and cannabis.

With the rising demand for hemp and cannabis, the department is revising regulations to make the rules more clear, according to department’s director general, Pichet Wiriyapapha. Those importing cannabis and hemp seeds will also need to get permission from the department. He says they plan to announce the new plan on cannabis and hemp seed regulations in May.

“Now we have only four strains of hemp developed for higher fibre yield, but not for the strain for higher CBD that is currently required for cosmetics and healthcare products. That is why we do need to actively develop such a strain to respond to the high demand in the market.”

CBD is known for its relaxing effects. Although there is still little research to back the claims, many say CBD can lesson anxiety and depression as well as provide relief for muscle pain and arthritis. In Thailand, CBD is growing in popularity, but parts of the cannabis plant high in the psychoactive component tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, are still classified as a Category 5 narcotic.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Thailand

Thai farmers warned of hemp – growing scams

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Thai farmers warned of hemp – growing scams | Thaiger

Thai farmers are being warned of hemp – growing scams after the FDA says some farmers may be approached to grow without gaining permission to import hemp seeds yet. The possible scams have farmers fearing they may be cheated after some have reportedly already started setting up networks in other provinces in preparation to start new enterprises.

According to the FDA, there are only 7 companies currently allowed to import hemp seeds, but they haven’t been given permits yet. Furthermore, none have been told they can start growing hemp as the process has not been solidified. As of now, any company that wants to import the seeds, but notify authorities of where they are getting the seeds from.

They also have to notify authorities of what specific strain of hemp they intend to grow as well as what factories would buy the hemp in order to process it.

Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul is pushing the FDA to start issuing permits for the cultivation, importation and production of hemp seeds as he says it could help farmers increase their incomes, especially after Covid has hit Thailand’s economy hard.

“As for hemp cultivation, each farmer must seek permission individually.”

“A permit to grow hemp cannot be applied to a group of farmers because each one must inform authorities about which land is being set aside for cultivation and when.”

Potential hemp growers can visit www.fda.moph.go.th to get information regarding the application procedures with interested parties needing to contact the FDA to set the process in motion.

Thailand’s Narcotics Control Board agreed late last year to remove cannabis and leaves from its list of banned drugs for medicinal purposes. Now, restaurants are sprouting up nationwide, offering CBD – infused food and drinks for public consumption.

CBD is different from the psychoactive ingredient of THC, which is still currently illegal in Thailand.

SOURCE: Chiang Rai Times

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