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Weird World News: Christmas tree thief leaves trail of pine needles, UK bans fun, new research links researchers to the Grinch and a peek into our ‘Santa Files’

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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PHUKET: With the merriment of Christmas just a few days away, what better way to get in the festive spirit than to pay homage to a few Grinch-like tales of bitterness and to take a peek to see what Santa has been up to this year.

Christmas decorations and snowball fights banned in UK

THE United Kingdom wins first place this week for Grinch-like behavior.

In a bold move, health and safety authorities have banned a number of Christmas decorations in offices, snowball fights and coins in puddings, because they are too dangerous.

The crackdown has even extended to Christmas pantomime performances, with customary “sweet throwing” into crowds pegged as a risk.

To counteract the Grinch-like behavior of local authorities, the British central government has released a slew of “it’s-not-our-fault” statements over the past few days, vowing not to kill the spirit of Christmas.

Some of the seasonal activities that the government says have been unjustly banned by local health and safety authorities are stopping children from having snowball fights on school grounds and office workers being told they can’t put up decorations, the Telegraph reported.

There have also been reports tarnishing carol singers as health and safety risks, although reasoning is unclear.

Christmas trees are bad for your health, according to a Grinch study

RESEARCHERS with too much time on their hands, or inflated budgets, will find any reason to create a syndrome. Christmas Tree Syndrome is the latest affliction being used an excuse not to like Christmas, or mope around and act like a Grinch, in the United States.
According to a new study, a number of ailments are being attributed to Christmas trees in homes, including wheezing, coughing, lethargy and insomnia, the Telegraph reports.

This is because mold growing on trees can cause problems when it is breathed in, according to researchers at Upstate Medical University, part of the State University of New York.

There you go, another reason to hate Christmas. Slow-clap for New York.

Christmas tree thief leaves a trail of pine needles

IT WAS easy for police to catch up with a Christmas tree thief in England this week: he left a trail of pine needles.

Five trees were stolen from the nursery in Spenborough, West Yorkshire, where police were called shortly after the theft by the owner, John Dacre.

Arriving at the nursery, officers soon noticed a line of pine needles leading away from the crime scene.

Mr Dacre and the officers followed the needles for half a mile, eventually leading them to the bungling thief, who was not only in possession of the trees, but also a stash of narcotics.
The officers arrested the 17-year-old on suspicion of burglary and cultivating cannabis. He is currently on bail, pending further inquiries, The Mirror reported.

Santa sacked in Big Apple

NEW YORK’s Suffolk County has done the unthinkable – fired Santa Claus.

That’s right, this year Santa will not be coming to the small community as times of austerity mean the county’s scant coffers can’t afford him.

The county executive said he could not justify paying Santa US$660 from his US$2.7 billion budget this year, Reuters reported.

The man who usually dons the famous red suit each year is World War II veteran and former homicide detective David Mckell, 83, the county’s Santa for the past nine years.

The county executive – dubbed a Grinch by opponents – said that since 750 county employees were facing layoffs as a result of budget restraints the role of Santa should be voluntary.

Dozens of people have since come forward offering to pay for their beloved Santa out of their own pockets, with one good citizen pledging Mckell’s fee plus gas money.

Santa and his machine gun photo-SHOOTS

AN ARIZONA gun club is celebrating Christmas in strange style this year by hosting “Santa and machine gun” photo-shoots.

Families are being invited to pose with Santa and his US$80,000 mini-gun (same kind the Terminator used in the movie sequel) at the Scottsdale Gun Club.

Photo subjects can even test-shoot the guns after they pose for photographs.

Britons opt for ‘Secret Santa’ to save money

SECRET Santa is always a hit with businesses throughout Thailand, but in the United Kingdom it’s being used as a way for people to save money.

About a quarter of all Britons plan to keep costs down this Christmas by using Secret Santa.

The co-operative gift system is made up of group members who buy just one present for a member of the group.

There is usually a maximum amount that can be spent on a present, dubbed “tactical gifting” by consumer research groups.

Now cash-strapped Britons are using the system for family and friends, according to the Telegraph.

A survey of 2,000 adults in the UK also found that seven in ten people are making deals with loved ones to cap the amount they spend on gifts this year.

Remember to tune in next week for more of the Phuket Gazette‘s new Weird World News round-up.

 

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Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

Cannabis

Cannabis drinks now available in Thailand convenience stores

Neill Fronde

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PHOTO: Ichitan is now selling cannabis drinks across Thailand. (via IchitanGroup.com)

From darkened back alleys to brightly lit 7-11 aisles, people in Thailand can now get their once-illegal cannabis fix in flavoured drinks at convenience stores and vending machines. The nation’s biggest bottled tea producer Ichitan Group has launched 2 new drinks with terpenes, the compounds that give that ganja smell.

The cannabis drinks Ichitan launched are not aimed at the party crowd like other combinations of drinks and controlled substances – they are less Four Loko at the club and more sipping while curled up with a good book. One is a terpene scented sugar-free camomile green tea and the other is a lemon and terpene infused sweet green tea. Cannabidiol or other psychoactive elements have been left out of the teas.

These cannabis drinks are selling for 30 baht across Thailand in 7-11 stores, malls, conveniences stores, and more than 13,000 vending machines. Ichitan is hoping to sell 500 million baht worth of the teas this year as the first company to nationally mass market cannabis products. Their CEO said the “urban new generation” is their target demographic and that being first to market is an important strategy.

Thailand first legalised registering medicinal marijuana in 2019, but in January restrictions were loosened to open the gates to various products and usage. Restaurants and cafes sprung up cooking hemp dishes, and bars created hemp-infused cocktails. People can now get a permit to grow hemp and manufacture and sell cannabis products. Thai law still treats hemp and cannabis differently as hemp is almost completely free of THC and is traditionally used for making clothes, rope, paper and similar products from its strong fibres.

Ichitan admits that the cannabis used in their drinks aren’t fully legalised yet, though they expect the entire supply chain and process to be approved soon as the cannabis legalisation trend grows around the world. Farming is still only allowed with strict government observation, and the narcotic use of ganja is only allowed for cultivation, research and medical use.

Recreational use is not permitted in Thailand yet, though 16 states in the US allow it, and Mexico has legislation pending. Medicinal marijuana is legal in 50 countries already.

Covid-19 has delayed a surge of cannabis progress in Thailand, with businesses on lockdown and a Bangkok cannabis convention postponed from April 19-20 (4/20 – cannabis enthusiast’s magic number) to July 19-20, as well as a seminar on cannabis extracts cancelled yesterday.

But in Thailand, the government sees huge potential, with MFC Asset Management planning Thailand’s first hemp-related mutual fund with expectations of over 17% annual growth over the next 5 years. Farmers could grow hemp and cannabis with large profits, and the Thai government is even eying a tourism boost for medical tourism and just plain curious travellers.

SOURCE: Nikkei Asia

 

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Cannabis may ease lung inflammation from Covid-19, study

Neill Fronde

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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

Thaiger

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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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