The supplies are stocked and packaging ready. Now the first batch of cannabis oil is being distributed at state-run hospitals and even available to those receiving government universal healthcare, the public health minister announced today.
Anutin Chanvirakul told reporters at the Government House that hospitals operated by the Public Health Ministry have started distributing marijuana extract after receiving 4,500 bottles, each containing 5 milliliters of cannabis this week.
“The drug, which was produced by the Government Pharmaceutical Organization, is in the National List of Essential Medicines,” he said.
Anutin explained that people enrolled in the universal health scheme “gold card,” Social Security Fund or civil service healthcare programs are eligible to obtain the oil free of charge. His decision to classify marijuana an “essential drug” will make it widely available to citizens across the kingdom.
The gold card program provides free services to eligible recipients under the 30-baht public healthcare program.
Anutin said he hopes 350,000 bottles are produced within four months to meet his goal of distributing one million bottles to patients within about six months.
Last month, the Chao Phraya Abhaibhubejhr Hospital in Prachin Buri province – home of the kingdom’s first medical marijuana clinic – declared plans to distribute upward of 9,000 bottles containing 1.4% THC beginning Aug. 23 following successful clinical trials.
The hospital was preparing to use roughly 660 kilograms of seized marijuana provided by the Narcotics Control Board, according to chief hospital pharmacist Suphaporn Pitiporn. She guaranteed the oil would be free of chemical contaminants such as pesticides including paraquat.
Thailand legalized medical marijuana late last year and has been rolling out regulations and working out supply issues since then.
Find all episodes of The Coconuts Podcast