BANGKOK – Thailand’s Government Pharmaceutical Organization (GPO) is set to distribute about 10,000 bottles of cannabis oil for hospital patients.
The first official use of medical marijuana since a law legalizing it came into effect this year.
The GPO will deliver 4,500 5ml bottles of cannabis oil to the Ministry of Public Health to be distributed to hospitals throughout Thailand on Aug. 7th.
The Cannabis oil will be for about 4,000 registered patients, GPO executive managing director, Withoon Danwiboon, told a news conference.
The remaining 5,500 bottles will be gradually distributed later, Reuters reported.
Thailand, which has a tradition of using cannabis oil to relieve pain and fatigue, has legalized marijuana for medical use and research.
The legalization was also to help boost agricultural incomes.
Cannabis oil will be used to treat patients who suffer from nausea from chemotherapy, epilepsy, and aches and pains.
Patients with Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and in palliative care would also benefit Withoon said.
The GPO will begin planting its second crop of cannabis plants later this month and by early 2020. It plans to expand production to greenhouse cultivation and aims to produce 150,000-200,000 bottles of the oil.
“We have to speed up production because there is an under supply,” Withoon said.
For five years, foreign investors and imports of cannabis will be prohibited. This will allow the domestic industry to build up capacity and knowledge.
Health minister Anutin Charnvirakul, said Thursday that cannabis must only be used for medical purposes, not for recreational ones.
Steps would be taken to allow public health volunteers to grow cannabis at home for health benefits, but it would not be allowed to be sold.
A new civilian government has said it has made developing the medical marijuana industry a top priority to create economic opportunities in rural areas.