Thailand’s first cannabis clinic opened today and was flooded with patients after the country became the first in Asia to legalise the medicinal use of the drug.
Hundreds of locals converged on the government-run facility in Bangkok – which already has a waiting list of more than 2,000 people.
The pilot clinic, based in the Ministry of Public Health, expects to see between 200 to 300 patients daily.
Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirankul said today that patients would receive free treatment for the first two weeks. He said: ”We believe this will be successful and can copy the model across the country.”
The Southeast Asian country legalised marijuana for medical use and research in 2017. Then in 2019 it removed cannabis and hemp extracts from its banned drugs list and pushed laws allowing each household to grow up to six plants.
Protectionist measures allow only domestic drugs firms and farmers to supply the country’s network of clinics.
The new clinic will provide medicines made of Marijuana to use specifically for easing the pain. It additionally provides the other herbs and organic plants grown with cannabis extracts.
Health Minister Anutin Charnvirankul said there were already around two dozen smaller non-specialist cannabis centres but they only form part of general hospitals that see patients sporadically.
The clinic he opened today (Jan 6) is the first one that will be the first full-time facility staffed by doctors who are experts in medicinal marijuana, he said.
The minister added: “The result from the trial turned out to be very good and effective so we wanted to extent the success and establish this first clinic.
“We planned to set up the clinics across the country within this year to provide an optional medication to Thai people everywhere.”
Thailand plans to open 77 similar clinics in the future – one in each of its provinces.