Thai experts voice concerns about widespread use, dependence on weed

MONDAY, JUNE 13, 2022

Several experts expressed concerns about the misuse of cannabis at a seminar held by Chulalongkorn University’s Centre for Addiction Studies (CADS).

Chanchai Sittipunt, dean of the university’s Faculty of Medicine, said the recreational use of cannabis may rise even though the Public Health Ministry has legalised the herb for medical use and to stimulate the economy.

He also told the seminar, held via Facebook Live! on Friday, that consuming cannabis without knowing its effects is also worrisome.

“Hence, we have asked medical schools and private hospitals to build a database on patients affected by cannabis,” he said. “We have also urged the Bangkok governor to beware of the possibility of cannabis being used on school campuses.”

Separately, Sirichai Chaisirisophon, neurologist and researcher for medical cannabis in the US, said this herb can only relieve symptoms, not cure diseases.

He said consumers should be aware of the amount of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in the cannabis they are consuming as it will not only affect their emotional state but may also give them diarrhoea and amnesia.

He also advised the government to launch a campaign against smoking marijuana because it will affect the smokers’ lungs more than tobacco.

CADS director Rasmon Kalayasiri said the number of cannabis users has been rising since the government legalised it for medical use and as a food additive.

However, she said, there are no laws preventing people from using cannabis for recreation. She also warned that the number of cannabis users and people affected by the drug has risen in countries like Canada and Uruguay, where recreational use of pot is allowed.

Rasmon said Thailand should raise public awareness on using cannabis properly and protect children from pot as they will be at risk of slow development and suicidal tendencies. She also said that the Thai medical industry should be ready to deal with cannabis dependence as well.

Pachima Lormprakhon, deputy director of the Medical Cannabis Institute, said cannabis is currently being used to treat the following conditions:

• Nausea and vomiting from chemotherapy

• Epilepsy

• Muscle spasms in multiple sclerosis patients

• Nervous tension

• Loss of appetite in Aids patients

• To improve the quality of life for patients with serious illnesses

She added that the Department of Medical Services is looking into using cannabis for patients dealing with Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, anxiety and cancer.