Thai Expert Highlights Cannabis’s Medical Benefits Amid Misconceptions

Dr. Pattapong pointed out that many people focus on cannabis as a recreational drug, ignoring its medical benefits. He cited examples of patients who experienced significant improvements in their conditions after using cannabis. For instance, a patient with bipolar disorder saw marked improvement after switching from conventional medication to cannabis. Similarly, an American veteran managed severe PTSD symptoms with cannabis, which also helped prevent suicidal thoughts.

In Israel, known for its pioneering cannabis research, medical cannabis has been used for over two decades. The success rate is significant, with 87% of patients favoring cannabis products containing 18% THC for smoking. In the United States, cannabis legalization across 24 states has led to an increase in cannabis usage from 11% in 2002 to 18% in 2022. Meanwhile, cigarette smoking rates halved, reducing smoking-related illnesses.

Medical Cannabis in Thailand

Thailand has seen a shift in its cannabis laws over the past few years. Cannabis was prohibited for 40 years, but amendments to the Narcotics Act in 2018 began to open the door for its medical use. A study involving 8,560 Thai patients using cannabis revealed that the most common conditions treated were cancer (49.1%), pain (29.4%), and severe stress (6.4%). The primary symptoms addressed with cannabis included insomnia (79.1%), pain (77.1%), and fatigue (55.6%).

The study found that 87% of patients preferred products with 18% THC for smoking, while 67% opted for 15% CBD products for sublingual use. Over six months, 55.4% to 90.8% of patients reported moderate to significant improvement without complications, with pain scores reducing from 6.7 to 3.4 out of 10.

Addressing Misconceptions and Future Prospects

Dr. Pattapong proposed that opposition to cannabis might stem from concerns over declining tobacco and pharmaceutical sales. He urged for a reassessment of cannabis laws in light of its demonstrated medical benefits. The national media in Thailand has highlighted this significant discussion, sparking a broader conversation about the potential of cannabis as a therapeutic agent.

Future cannabis studies in Thailand aim to explore how cannabis can be integrated into comprehensive treatment plans. The focus is not merely on quantifying effects but on understanding how cannabis can be used effectively in medical practice. This shift in perspective could pave the way for more widespread acceptance and use of medical cannabis in Thailand and beyond.

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