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As Thailand greenlights cannabis, patients welcome cheaper supplies

For Jiratti Kuttanam, the easing of cannabis restrictions in Thailand meant one thing above all else: a cheaper supply of the products she uses to manage the pain and illness caused by her breast cancer treatments.

Thailand last week became the first Asian country to legalize the cultivation and private use of marijuana, a move authorities say would boost agriculture by providing farmers with a valuable new cash crop.

Jiratti, 42, said she and other patients would also feel the benefits closer to home.

Read also | Thousands Gather To ‘Smoke’ At Thailand’s First Fully Legal Cannabis Festival

Medical marijuana has been legal there since 2018. But, before the law change, it had to rely on expensive foreign imports. Some patients went to illegal dealers.

Imported cannabis buds used to cost up to 700 baht ($20) a gram, but prices have since halved, Jiratti said.

Watch | Thailand Legalizes Cannabis – What Does It Mean? Are there any usage restrictions?

“I take cannabis regularly so I don’t have to feel any pain,” she said as she shredded and boiled marijuana leaves to make brewed tea, filling her one-bedroom apartment in Bangkok. of its distinctive smell.

She was diagnosed with advanced breast cancer five years ago. Two years later, she started using cannabis oil and other products to relieve the pain, vomiting, fatigue and anxiety she suffered after chemotherapy.

Read also | Thailand donates one million marijuana plants to grow as a cash crop

Legal local cultivation would mean a more reliable supply of these products – a good thing as long as patients know how to use them, she said.

“I think you need education. You need to study how to use it…in the right way. It can be harmful (full). It can also be dangerous, you know.”

Thailand’s easing of restrictions did not mean an all-out melee. Last week, new regulations came into effect prohibiting the smoking of cannabis in public as well as its sale to under-20s, pregnant women and nursing mothers.

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Post expires at 10:47am on Thursday June 30th, 2022