ONLY certified alternative-medicine practitioners with special training will be permitted to prepare and prescribe cannabis-containing medicines to patients, regulatory authorities insist. Preparations and prescriptions must be done at hospitals only.
Dr Pramote Stienrut, deputy director-general of the Department of Thai Traditional and Alternative Medicine, said last Thursday that the first round of the two-day training would be provided on April 29 and 30.
At present, there are 16 approved formulas of cannabis-containing medicines in Thailand.
“These medicines have already established clear proof of their effectiveness and that they are rooted in local wisdom,” he said.
Pramote said that if alternative-medicine practitioners wish to prepare other cannabis-containing medicinal formulas, they must first seek prior approval from his department. Records of Thai traditional medicines list 96 formulas with the herb. But further research or solutions to legal constraints are required for 80 of them.
“So if anyone wishes to work on any of these 80 formulas, we need to review their applications first. We need to make sure that they are safe and are fully in line with the knowledge of Thai traditional medicine before granting an approval,” Pramote said.
Once endorsed as being Thai traditional medicine, such formulas have the potential for widespread use if research is conducted on them based on scientific procedures. Thailand has only recently legalised medical marijuana and it is still classified under law as an illegal narcotic. Anyone who possesses or uses “pot” is liable to a jail term.
Early this month, an official at the Kwan Khao Foundation was arrested for marijuana possession. The case caused a public uproar as the foundation, led by prominent folk-remedy doctor Decha Siriphat, has a reputation for helping people. Decha has had about 5,000 patients and won acceptance from many respectable institutes.
Cannabis conditions for folk doctors
TOTAL number of folk-remedy doctors in Thailand: 59,414 What are the requirements for them to qualify to legally
administer medical marijuana?
1. Being certified as folk-remedy doctors by the Public Health Ministry;
2. Having received special training in medical-marijuana use;
3. Having received licences from the Food and Drug Administration;
4. That they prepare and dispense only the approved 16 traditional formulas; and
5. That they seek permission if they wish to prepare and dispense other formulas.