You may all remember when Thailand legalized marijuana back in 2018. But, unlike back home, that did not usher in a wave of marijuana dispensaries on every corner.
In fact, you might even wonder if marijuana is even legal based on the complete lack of prominent advertising.
But it is legal and people are receiving medical marijuana in Thailand. It's just being done under the radar.
Thailand specifically wanted to avoid what they saw happening in other countries where medical marijuana was legalized. Shady doctors doing a two-minute physical exam and signing off on a medical marijuana card. Dispensaries popping up all over the place, some with proper licenses, some deciding to forego licensing and just hoping to stay in business until they got caught.
Thailand has used a much more controlled approach. That has been both good and bad.
First, every doctor and clinic that wants to prescribe medical marijuana must receive special training on medical marijuana and licenses are strictly controlled. They're listed in the Thai government's online FDA database so you can look and see if the doctor or the clinic is licensed.
Second, the government wanted to avoid a free for all in the marketplace so they have only issued a very few licenses, mostly to universities, to grow marijuana. Those growers must only sell their plants to a handful of processors who then take the raw plant and turn it into medicine.
Unfortunately, this has created a shortage of medical marijuana medicine in Thailand. Many clinics have long waiting lists as there are more people trying to receive treatment than there is medicine to treat them.
Early on, when faced with a shortage of marijuana plant to make medicine from, the police gave the Ministry of Public Health several tons of seized marijuana, but they quickly discovered that the drug bust marijuana was too contaminated with pesticides and other impurities to be used for medicinal purposes.
So, where does that leave farangs who want to treat a condition with medical marijuana? Well, there are some clinics that are accepting foreigners as medical marijuana patients. The only downside is, probably due to the previously mentioned shortage of medicine, it's expensive. 5ml of THC oil runs around 1,500 baht and the same amount of 1:1 CBD/THC runs 1,000.
Thais that go to Thai government run clinics receive the same medicines free of charge.
But, if you have the cash, you can get it.
Hopefully the Thai government passes the proposals that would allow everyone to grow their own. That would help greatly as people could grow up to 6 plants each. But until then, the options are pretty limited.