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Excuse Buster: Alternatives to the ‘white devil’

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Excuse Buster: Alternatives to the ‘white devil’ | The Thaiger
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PHUKET: “This may seem exaggerated and far-fetched, but sugar is the most dangerous drug of the times and can still be easily acquired everywhere,” says Paul van der Velpen, the head of Amsterdam’s health service. This is the same Amsterdam where the sale of cannabis is legalized.

Research that refined sugar is one of the main reasons for our current epidemic of obesity, diabetes, and possibly heart disease and cancer rates today, looks pretty convincing.

If you are overweight or suffer health issues related to blood sugar, then I recommend getting tested to see where you stand first. The numbers below are based on the American Diabetic Association ranges and I have added my own personal ideals for clients seeking excellent blood sugar balance.

Fasting blood glucose:
You could buy a kit and test it daily in a state of fasting, or you could drop into one of the many clinics on the island and get yourself tested for less than 200 baht at most of them.
Normal: 70-99mg/dl (My optimal range is a bit narrower, between 75-90)
Pre-diabetes: 100-126
Diabetes: Over 126

HbA1c (long term sugar):
Easily done in Phuket and costs less than 600 baht.
Normal: Less than 5.7 per cent (My optimal range is 4.5-5.2)
Pre-diabetic: 5.8-6.5
Diabetes: 6.5 and above

You could also do a glucose tolerance test to confirm this with your doctor, if needed. If you regularly succumb to sweet tooth desires and the numbers above don’t look so good, then perhaps it’s time to seek some alternatives. Here are my favorites.

Stevia
Stevia is a good sugar substitute because it is up to 300 times sweeter than sugar, non toxic and has no calories. It can be quite bitter and have an after taste, which is why it is often mixed with sugar alcohols like Xylitol and Erythritol.

Erythritol / Xylitol
Xylitol is extracted from trees, has minimal calories and will barely impact blood sugar. It’s also shown to be beneficial in reducing cavities – which is why many toothpastes and chewing gums now use it instead of sugar or artificial chemical sweeteners like Aspartame. It is also good with baking.

Erythritol is found in fruits, vegetables and fermented foods. It has almost zero calories and doesn’t affect blood sugar.

Raw Honey
Raw honey has many benefits, including its packaging with minerals, vitamins, and amino acids that have antibacterial, anti-fungal, and antioxidant properties. It is also high in fructose, however, so use it sparingly if you have issues with blood sugar.

Craig Burton is a Certified Sports Nutritionist (CISSN) with a Bachelor of Science degree (Sports Science) and a National Academy of Sports Medicine (PES) certification.

— Craig Burton

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

Thailand

Thai FDA expedites the process to list cannabis as an “essential medicine”

Caitlin Ashworth

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Thai FDA expedites the process to list cannabis as an “essential medicine” | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Healthserv.net

Cannabis could soon become an “essential medicine” in Thailand. While the plant’s euphoria-inducing buds are still illegal and classified as a narcotic, other parts of the plant that do not cause a “high,” like the leaves, are being pushed into the food and medicine industry.

The Thai Food and Drug Administration is even trying to speed up the process to include cannabis on the National List of Essential Medicines and to also allow it to be used in food, according to the FDA secretary general Supattra Boonserm. Yesterday, the FDA committee approved a draft ordinance to allow the once-criminalised plant to be on the essential medicines list as well as to be an ingredient in food.

“Users can put oil extracts from cannabis in breakfast cereals, bakery products, beverages, snacks or butter as well as in food supplements.”

There are 2 main components in cannabis: tetrahydrocannabinol, known as THC, and cannabidiol, known as CBD. THC is the psychoactive component which causes the “happy-hungry high” while CBD is understood to have health benefits and has been used to treat anxiety and insomnia. THC is still illegal in Thailand.

Since the Public Health Ministry approved the use of cannabis and hemp for medical and research purposes, more than 50,000 patients in Thailand have been prescribed cannabis-based treatments, according to Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul.

Anutin says the FDA’s move to expedite the process of listing cannabis as an essential medicine is intended to make sure there is a sustainable supply of cannabis and the products are available to those who need it.

“The efficacy and safety of medical cannabis will continue to be reviewed, and the findings will be used to support further changes to medical cannabis laws.”

The health minister spoke at the official opening of the Ministry’s Institute of Medical Cannabis, which will be the coordinating agency to make sure cannabis-based products are in line with government policies.

“The institute will also provide accurate information about the plants and their use, as public interest in the plants have grown.”

More than 300 community enterprises have joined with the ministry to grow cannabis for medical and research purposes, Anutin said. He adds that households with permission from a local hospital can grow up to 6 cannabis plants on the property.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Cannabis

Thai government hopes cannabis will be a primary cash crop for farmers

Caitlin Ashworth

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Thai government hopes cannabis will be a primary cash crop for farmers | The Thaiger

While marijuana traffickers are still getting busted by police, many smuggling the plant across the Mekong River, the Thai government is encouraging local farmers to grow cannabis, as long as they partner with a provincial hospital to use the plant for medicinal purposes. A deputy government spokesperson told Reuters the government hopes that cannabis and hemp will be a “primary cash crop for farmers.”

Late last year, Thailand removed certain parts of cannabis off the narcotics list. Parts of the plant with high amounts of the psychoactive component tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, are still classified as a Category 5 narcotic.

So far, 2,500 households in Thailand and 251 provincial hospitals have legally grown 15,000 cannabis plants, according to deputy government spokesperson Traisulee Traisoranakul. She says those interested in growing cannabis have to seek approval from authorities. Universities, community enterprises and those in the medical industry can obtain licenses to grow cannabis.

“Everybody has the right to grow marijuana by partnering up with provincial hospitals for medical use.”

With the declassification of certain cannabis parts, the plant can be used in food and beverages at restaurants. Over the past few months, some cafes and restaurants have started to offer dishes made with cannabis leaves. Traisulee says cannabis used in food ends to come from an approved producer. She says the Medical Marijuana Institute will hold information sessions next month.

SOURCE: Reuters

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Cannabis

Thailand becomes more cannabis-friendly after leaves removed from narcotics list

Caitlin Ashworth

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Thailand becomes more cannabis-friendly after leaves removed from narcotics list | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Facebook/ ไปเลย

With cannabis leaves now off Thailand’s narcotics list, the once taboo and criminalised plant is making its way into daily life in Thailand. Since the government decision in December to remove certain parts of the cannabis plant from the narcotics list, Thailand’s first cannabis cafe “Taste of Ganja” opened in Prachin Buri and another called “420 Cannabis Bar” just opened in Bangkok. The Bangkok dessert shop Kanom Siam also announced it was adding a special ingredient to its pandan coconut Thai pancakes… cannabis.

The Department of Thai Traditional and Alternative Medicine is even encouraging the public to use the plant… as long as it has very low traces of the psychoactive component tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC. The plant’s THC-rich buds are still illegal.

The department recently held a 2-day informational event at the Museum of Public Health and Medicine in Nonthaburi, just outside Bangkok, to educate people about the various uses of cannabis… and probably not the uses you’re thinking of. There were no tips on how to make a gravity bong out of household products or how to make cannabis butter for magic brownies. Tips were more like how to use the plant’s stems and fibre to manufacture textiles and paper as well as how to use the leaves to make cannabis tea.

Some are using the cannabis leaves in foods. The leaves have very low traces of THC and won’t cause a “high.” At the Taste of Ganja, people can munch on deep fried cannabis leaves and stir fried meat with basil and cannabis leaves. The cafe is affiliated with Chao Phraya Abhaibhubejhr Hospital which opened Thailand’s first medical cannabis clinic in 2019.

The 420 Cannabis Bar offers cannabis teas and drinks with names like Stoner Plummer, which is made with plum soda, and Herbs Party, which is tea made with lemon. Prices range from around 125 baht to 145 baht. The bar also serves Fly High Cookies and Happy Brownies for 180 baht. Despite the names, the food and drinks won’t get you stoned.

Cannabis buds are still classified as a Category 5 narcotic with fairly harsh penalties. Police are continuously cracking down on the illegal marijuana trade. Just over the weekend, officers seized 484 kilograms of dried, compacted cannabis, commonly known as “brick weed,” in a bust by the Mekong River in the Isaan province Nakhon Phanom, which borders Laos.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post| Coconuts Bangkok

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