Thailand first full-medical cannabis clinic
Thailand was previously known for its strict anti-drug law, but now is eyeing the economic value and potential market of medical cannabis. In 2017, Thailand became the first country legalized medical cannabis in Southeast Asia. The health ministry’s Government Pharmaceutical Organisation is contemporary the largest producer of cannabis in Thailand.
In early January of this year, Thailand has opened its first full-time medical cannabis clinic in Bangkok. This is a great effort for the Thailand government, not only help promote the licensed use of marijuana products, more important to support the medical cannabis industry. About 2,200 people registered at the clinic as of March, which seems to be popular. This clinic dispensing cannabis oil for medical treatment for free. This cannabis oil mainly works for conditions such as migraines, insomnia, nausea, and pain. Chamroen Nakurai was diagnosed with lymph node cancer two years ago. Cannabis oil helps lessen the side effects of her chemotherapy, as she said. Before the open of this medical cannabis clinic, however, she could only get cannabis oil from illegal underground suppliers with much higher prices.
Because of the lack of staffs and doctors with expertise, around 25 clinics attached to public hospitals in Thailand currently open intermittently. Just as the country’s public health minister Anutin Charnvirakul said, “This is a pilot clinic, because we cannot produce enough doctors with expertise in cannabis”.
Why using medical cannabis?
For ordinary who never hear about the medical cannabis but only ‘drug’ may have no idea about the medical cannabis let along with the medical cannabis clinic.
THC and CBD are the two main chemical components with medical benefits. Marijuana (the components of benefits) intake can supplement the body’s natural cannabis system, the endocannabinoid system (ECS).
What is the endocannabinoid system? The ECS actually could mostly be found in vertebrate species, and it is a vital molecular system for helping maintain homeostasis of the human body. This system has influences on memory, sleep, appetite, anxiety. It also has efforts on the control of cancer, modulation of pain, the heart, and the hormonal. Cannabinoid receptors (CB1 and CB2) are one of the components of ECS. Natural chemicals circulating in the human body that attach to cannabinoid receptors, this process will motivate the functioning of the endocannabinoid system to maintain homeostasis. The medical principle of cannabis treatment supplement is generally based on the natural chemical circulation function in the endocannabinoid system.
Is medical cannabis safe?
‘Addition’ may be one of the most important concerns.
As well known, the two major compounds: THC and CBD have great benefits in medical treatment. THC is the main psychoactive cannabinoid and causes the sensation of getting high, which usually associated with ‘drug’ or marijuana. Unlike THC, CBD is not psychoactive and doesn’t contain any forms of toxicity. Therefore, the CBD is more widely used in medical applications than THC and much safer.
However, unlike prescription and over-the-counter drugs, for CBD medical products, it doesn’t have adequate medical experiments to show that these products are not addictive in 100%.
There is no specific standard of the dose ingested. Because CBD binds to so many different receptors of different people, it is hard to determine the exact dose of CBD for each person with different health problems. Thus, it is vital to take CBD products under the instruction of doctors with expertise. However, this may lead to another problem, the lack of enough normative medical cannabis clinics, staff, and doctors with expertise. This also the same problem for the Thailand medical cannabis clinic mentioned above.
Furthermore, Every medicine has its side effects medicine, not to mention controversial medical cannabis and related products. The side effects of medical cannabis generally include (from Mayo Clinic, a nonprofit organization):
- Increased heart rate
- Impaired concentration and memory
- Slower reaction times
- Negative drug-to-drug interactions
- Increased risk of heart attack and stroke
- Increased appetite
- Potential for addiction
- Cyclic vomiting syndrome
- Hallucinations or mental illness
- Withdrawal symptoms
In conclusion, the establishment of the medical cannabis clinics, such as the first full-time medical cannabis clinic in Thailand is a great improvement of the medical cannabis industry. It is much safer for people to get medical cannabis products from clinics rather than illegal underground suppliers. However, the safety of medical cannabis products still needs more medical researches to guarantee.
Nick Jikomes, What is the endocannabinoid system and what is its role?, 12/12/2016
Healthline, 7 Benefits and Uses of CBD Oil (Plus Side Effects), https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/cbd-oil-benefits
Mayo Clinic,Medical marijuana, https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/consumer-health/in-depth/medical-marijuana/art-20137855
JERRY HARMER and BUSABA SIVASOMBOON,
Thailand launches full-time clinics dispensing cannabis oil, 06/01/2020, https://abcnews.go.com/Health/wireStory/thailand-launches-full-time-clinics-dispensing-cannabis-oil-68091282
Chayut Setboonsarng, Thailand rolls out cannabis clinic based on traditional medicine, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-thailand-cannabis-idUSKBN1Z50MI
The Medical Cannabis Clinic, What is medical cannabis?, https://themedicalcannabisclinics.com/treatments/#what-is-medical-cannabis