Thailand opened its first medical cannabis clinic this week in the country.
According to The New York Times, while the country legalized medical cannabis in 2017, this is one of the first steps that the country has taken to starting up a comprehensive, medical cannabis program. Although there are already 25 small cannabis clinics attached to hospitals across the country, they lack staff and are usually only open a few days a week.
“This is a pilot clinic, because we cannot produce enough doctors with expertise in cannabis,” Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul, said at the opening ceremony in Bangkok. He added that patients will receive treatment free of charge for the first two weeks.
The clinic is being run by the Ministry of Public Health, and organizers expect to see between 200 to 300 patients daily. As the stigma against medical cannabis begins to disappear, many who didn’t think they would accept cannabis as medicine are starting to turn to the new remedy. “I was worried at first, but I studied the effects and decided it was better because its natural,” said Waraporn Boonsri, who was prescribed four vials of cannabis oil to help her sleep.
So far, 2,200 patients have registered at the clinic, representing the folks who have signed up for slots up until March, according to The New York Times. State officials claim that there are plans for 77 clinics to be opened across the country, with one in every province across Thailand.
So far, Thailand has been one of the country’s most accepting of medical cannabis. The prime minister was seen using medical cannabis at an event, and it’s unique legal structure allows patients to sell cannabis plants to the government. The new year will be an exciting time for Thai cannabis.