Break the grass ceiling today!
By Aiden Jewelle Gonzales
When Thailand became the first country in Southeast and East Asia to legalise medical marijuana, the outcry from some was as loud as the celebration of many others who finally saw a path to getting releaf from an array of medical issues.
Since the legalisation of CBD, a host of industries have taken advantage of what many are terming the ‘green rush’, notably many in wellness and F&B. Even the Thai government has realised the importance of this cash crop, and has declared that medical cannabis will be a top priority. But what exactly is and isn’t legal, what is CBD, and where can you find some? Masala has put together a handy guide for those who want to delve into the weeds.
What is it?
Cannabidiol (CBD) is derived from the cannabis plant, and it’s been proven to treat physical and mental health issues including anxiety, epileptic seizures, neurodegenerative disorders, chronic pain, acne, and even, according to the National Cancer Institute, symptoms of cancer and side effects of cancer treatments.
Because of this, CBD oils, creams, sprays and even CBD-infused food have become a budding industry – except not literally, as in Thailand, they mostly use every part of the cannabis plant except its buds. The buds are what contain most of the CBD or tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), depending on the cannabis variety, and the latter is what causes the psychotropic effects of the drug most commonly known as weed. Because of this, under Thai law, most CBD products can’t use cannabis buds, regardless of what variety is being used. To go straight to the punch, however, no, CBD will not cause you to get high.
What’s legal in Thailand?
It’s legal to purchase and use medical marijuana as long as you have a prescription, and to use and consume CBD products, as long as they have under 0.2 percent of THC. Anyone with a permit can also grow hemp for personal use. Travellers can bring CBD to Thailand, but this is not advised, as it can often be mistaken for non-medical marijuana.
The CBD timeline in Thailand:
- December 2018: The Narcotic Addict Rehabilitation Act, B.E. 2545 (NAR) was amended to permit the use of medical marijuana, making Thailand the first East Asian nation to do so.
- September 2019: Thailand (and Asia’s) first-ever part- time medical marijuana clinic opens, in Chaophraya Abhaibhubejhr Hospital.
- December 2020: Certain parts of cannabis (the bark, trunk, fibre, branch, roots, and leaves) are declassified as a Class V narcotic, including any CBD extracts not exceeding 0.2 percent of THC residue. However, all parts must come from cannabis legally grown within the country.
- January 2021: Anyone, from individuals to private businesses, can now legally apply to grow hemp, and the legal parts of the plant can be used to make medicine, food, cosmetic products, and dietary supplements.
- May 2021: Thailand inaugurates the first two full-time clinics dispensing cannabis oil for medical treatment (there were previously 25 part- time clinics doing the same). There are plans to open two more clinics as part of a network of medical marijuana clinics nationwide.
Where can I find it?
Although the industry now spans the entire length and breadth of Thailand, we’ve put together a list just in Bangkok that you can visit one or 420 times:
Some restaurants/cafes in Bangkok that sell CBD-infused food:
• 420 Cannabis Bar (Facebook: @420bar.bkk)
• Kanom Siam (Facebook: @kanomsiam)
• Kiew Kai Ka (Facebook: @kiewkaika)
• Goodsouls Kitchen (Facebook:@goodsoulskitchen.bangkok)
• Carrots (Facebook: @carrotsbangkok)
• Peaktellers (Facebook: @peaktellers)
• Alici Monster (Facebook: @alicimonster)
• GTG Cafe (Facebook: @GTGCafe420)
• Ban Lao Rueng (Facebook: @banlaoreung)
Medical Marijuana Clinics in Bangkok:
• Bangkok Integrative Medicine (BIM Poly Clinic) (Facebook: @BIMclinic)
• HE Clinic for Men (www.heclinics.com)
• Queen Sirikit National Institute of Child Health (www.childrenhospital.go.th)
• Sawasdee Clinic (www.sawasdeeclinic.com)
• Thai Traditional and Integrated Medicine Hospital
We’ve also asked some people in the community to give us their personal insights:
Business partner at El Hefe Bangkok
Senior engineer at Seagate
“It’s about time they legalised CBD, especially in comparison to everything that we’re already consuming that’s legal. I believe that anything plant- based is the future. The consumption and application of CBD has many benefits: CBD oil has been studied for its potential role in easing symptoms of many common health issues, including anxiety, depression, acne, and heart disease. I personally enjoy CBD-based food and drinks, as it helps me relax and gives me a sense of calm.”
Student at Stamford International University
“The recent legalisation of CBD in Thailand has been a kickstart to adapting and exploring new medical pathways. For many years, the marijuana plant has been stigmatised as a dangerous drug. If you break it down, it is made of two components: CBD and THC. CBD is cannabidiol and it helps in relieving anxiety and insomnia, while THC is the psychoactive component. Just the CBD by itself has beneficial medical uses and can be researched further. Its legalisation helps in eliminating the fears that many foreigners have when associating with marijuana in Thailand, due to previous strict laws. Nobody deserves to go to jail for a plant and with the legalisation of CBD, we have moved a few steps forward.”
Masala’s followers on social media have also weighed in with their opinions:
• “It’s exciting! Glad to see people changing their minds on this ‘drug’ that is simply a plant!”
• “Could mean tons of growth in agribusiness and exports – just like in the 70s.”
• “It must have very strict observation on its use, even for research purposes. Otherwise, it indeed has a lot of positives attached with its benefits.”
• “It is useful as it eases health issues (insomnia/anxiety/chronic pain).”
• “Glad to see that people are altering their perspectives and accepting it as a plant instead of a drug.”
• “Its medical uses are so beneficial! Good to see that people are having an open mind about it and are willing to try it out.”
• “It’s a beautiful, versatile plant, with untapped benefits. Time to destigmatise it!”
• “Medical and recreational use should be legalised. No jail for possession.”
• “Dangerous for kids!!”
• “Important because nobody should go to jail for a plant.”
• “If used wisely, it is highly beneficial and has many medicinal uses.”
What are your thoughts? Write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org