Paediatricians warn of addiction among children as cannabis legalised


After Thailand removed marijuana from its list of banned narcotics on Thursday, the Royal College of Paediatricians has come up with a five-point guideline on preventing addiction among children.

“Removing cannabis from the narcotics list means people in vulnerable groups such as children can legally consume foods and products with cannabis as an ingredient. Some products may contain high levels of tetrahydrocannabinol [THC], which is a psychoactive compound and can be addictive,” the statement released on Friday by college president Prof Dr Somsak Lohlekha said.

“Cannabis can affect a child’s brain development, intelligence level, behaviour and emotional balance. It could also lead to mental disorders and schizophrenia, increase the risk of suicide and offer a gateway to other addictive substances. Continued usage will have negative effects on mental and physical health,” it went on.

The Royal College of Paediatricians of Thailand, along with other related agencies including the Child Neurology Association, the Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Society and the Association for Developmental and Behavioural Paediatrics, came up with the following guidelines to protect children from cannabis addiction and abuse:

• Prohibit persons under 20 from consuming cannabis and its extract unless it is taken under a specialised physician’s guidance for medical purposes.

• Boost public awareness of the impact cannabis can have on child development.

• Make it mandatory that products with cannabis are not sold to persons under 20.

• Prohibit the use of cartoon characters or other means that may attract children in the advertising of products containing cannabis.

• Research must be conducted to study the impact cannabis can have on children.

“The Royal College of Paediatricians of Thailand is ready to provide accurate information and suggestions based on medical science about the impact cannabis can have on children to medical professionals and the general public,” the statement said.