Thailand’s Ministry of Public Health has announced some forms of cannabis will be struck from its list of Category 5 drugs under certain circumstances.
In Thailand, substances considered to be narcotics are place in one of five categories. Hemp extract was/is in a Category 5 classification, which also includes “magic” mushrooms and kratom.
Going forward, hemp extract or hemp extract products containing cannabidiol as the main ingredient and having a THC content of not more than 0.2% will be permitted for use in applications including medicines, cosmetics and food. Up to this point, only hospitals and research facilities have legal access, and only with special permissions.
Last December, some of the restrictions on hemp were lifted. However only state agencies were to be permitted to apply for a license to cultivate, distribute, or possess hemp; shutting out private entities.
The new exemption applies only to manufacturers and licenses are yet to be made available to businesses. The Ministry points out that essentially, marijuana and hemp still remain Category 5 narcotics.
The Food and Drug Administration of Thailand (FDA) will be required to develop regulations for related products.
Marijuana was a traditional medicine for centuries in Thailand before it was outlawed in the 1930s, along with its cousin hemp. Cannabis continued to be widely used thereafter, even though harsh penalties can apply. However, Thailand’s legal attitude to cannabis has changed dramatically over the past year. Legislation to legalize medical cannabis was approved in December 2018, making it the first Southeast Asian nation to make such a move.
Thousands of bottles of cannabis oil were delivered to hospitals last month for use in treating patients, marking the country’s first official use of marijuana for medical purposes post-legislation.
On a related note, last month Thai police seized more than a tonne of illegal cannabis, which has been sent to the Department of Thai Traditional, Alternative Medicine and the Department of Medical Sciences to process into cannabis oil to be used in the country’s hospitals.
Also last month, Thailand’s Deputy Education Minister Kanokwan Wilawal announced she is developing a course about marijuana for schools, that will teach the pros and cons of various aspects of marijuana.