Last updated on July 16th, 2022 at 08:11 am
In what they hope is a New Year’s gift to the people, Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul and Justice Minister Somsak Thepsutin signed a memo of understanding (MOU) which could eventually lead to cannabis and kratom being removed from the Category 5 drug list.
While kratom is not listed as a drug in the United Nations Convention on Narcotic Drugs, it currently remains illegal in Thailand.
Meanwhile marijuana is listed in the United Nations Convention on Narcotic Drugs which ultimately means that kratom will be an easier plant to remove from the Category 5 drug list than marijuana.
Anutin has long been a proponent of medical marijuana and the economic benefits Thailand’s economy and farmers may reap from legalization.
Kratom has similar potential for Thailand as it has long been used as a traditional medicine and some are worried that Thailand may fall behind in patenting medicines based on the plant.
Kratom is a plant that has both opioid and stimulant qualities and it’s usage in the South-East Asia region dates back to the 19th century.
It is typically used to treat chronic pain in traditional medicine.
The leaves are usually chewed to relieve pain. Extracts care also used as a local anesthetic.
A recent upswing in recreational usage has resulted in some countries banning the plant for sale, import, or use.
The US DEA said that the drug has no valid medicinal properties. However, medical marijuana, LSD, and other drugs with known medical properties are similarly classified, and the attempt to classify kratom as a Schedule 1 controlled substance was seen as a shortcut for the agency.
While kratom was officially legalized for medical purposes in Thailand in 2018, it still remains on the Category 5 drug list which makes growing it and researching its medical properties difficult. Removal from the list would open the doors for farmers to begin harvesting the plant and for researchers to be able to purchase it.