Friday, October 30, 2020

Law change to light up Thai medical cannabis market

Aug 04. 2020
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By The Nation

The Public Health Ministry will propose an amendment to the Narcotic Act to the Cabinet on Tuesday (August 4), seeking to maximise the benefits of medical cannabis.

The move comes after Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha announced urgent projects to enhance local research and development of medical cannabis, said Food and Drug Administration deputy secretary-general Paisarn Dunkum.

Under the current law, the Thai medical establishment and patients do not have full access to cannabis-based treatments, resulting in a lack of knowledge.

Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul wants to unlock the full potential of medical cannabis under a new draft of the act that has been screened by every sector and approved by the narcotics commission.

The draft focuses on supporting marijuana plantations for medical treatment, developing local knowledge, and boosting the medical cannabis industry.

Under the new act, drug manufacturers would also be able to export more cannabis-derived medicines, increasing Thailand’s competitiveness in the market and boosting development to benefit the public.

Thai cannabis clinics in 291 public health centres had received 60,000 requests for treatment so far this year, said Marut Jirasrattasiri, director-general of the Department of Thai Traditional and Complementary Medicine.

He said the amended law would help boost knowledge to produce cannabis extracts for factories to produce medicines under World Health Organisation good manufacturing practices (GMP) for 152 hospitals in Thailand.

Four hospitals are currently piloting medical cannabis treatments on 15,200 patients while the Public Health Ministry has established six cannabis plantations to support future development.

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