Thailand opened its first full-time public cannabis clinic in Bangkok on Monday, 6 January, giving free cannabis oil to hundreds of its patients
According to Bangkok Post, the clinic, which specialises in traditional and alternative cannabis-based medicine, is in line with the government's vision to develop a medical cannabis industry.
General hospitals around Thailand already have around 25 cannabis clinics attached to them, however, they do not operate every day due to a lack of specialised staff, unlike the new clinic.
"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, as quoted by Bangkok Post.
He also added that patients will be receiving free treatments in the first two weeks.
While Thais have been using marijuana in their traditional medicine for decades, Thailand only legalised medical marijuana back in 2018, making them the first Southeast Asian country to do so
The health ministry's Government Pharmaceutical Organisation is the largest producer of medical cannabis in the country.
In a report by CodeBlue, the health ministry said that four types of medicines containing different combinations of cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) were available to treat migraines, insomnia, neck pains, and muscle stiffness.
CBD is a chemical compound of the marijuana plant that allegedly does not make you 'high', unlike the psychoactive chemical, THC.
The pilot clinic, located in the Ministry of Public Health, expects to treat 200 to 300 patients daily
According to CodeBlue, almost 2,200 people have already registered with the clinic until March, and the Thai health ministry intends to open 77 clinics across the country with one in each province.
Although marijuana is legal for medical purposes, recreational use and trade of it is still illegal in Thailand, and anyone caught with a joint could be jailed for up to 10 years.