Health Researcher Slams Reclassification of Cannabis as Regressive

By Thailand THC

thailandTHC > News > Health Researcher Slams Reclassification of Cannabis as Regressive

  • Driving The News: Thai health expert Dr. Theerawat Hemachudha criticizes the move to reclassify cannabis as a narcotic, highlighting previous studies on its medical benefits.
  • Why It Matters: Reclassifying cannabis could hinder access to medical treatments and negatively impact patients relying on its benefits.
  • The Big Picture: The debate reflects broader tensions between traditional practices and modern regulatory approaches in Thailand’s healthcare system.

BANGKOK, THAILAND – Dr. THEERAWAT HEMACHUDHA, a prominent Thai health expert and former head of the Emerging Disease Health Science Centre at Chulalongkorn Hospital, has publicly criticized the recent move to reclassify cannabis and hemp as narcotics. He emphasized that this decision undermines previous efforts to recognize the medical benefits of cannabis and could harm patients who rely on it for treatment.

In 2020, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and various departments within the Ministry of Public Health had extensively studied the therapeutic benefits of cannabis. These studies showed promising results in treating a range of health conditions. However, in 2024, the same authorities are spearheading efforts to revert cannabis back to narcotic status, citing a lack of supporting evidence for its benefits and focusing solely on its potential harms.

Dr. Theerawat expressed his frustration on Facebook, highlighting the inconsistency in the government’s approach. He pointed out that while many global studies have acknowledged the medical benefits of cannabis, Thailand seems to be regressing by emphasizing only its risks. He questioned why Thailand needs to wait for foreign validation of cannabis benefits when the country itself has conducted substantial research.

“Reclassifying cannabis as a narcotic disregards the significant medical advantages it offers,” Dr. Theerawat stated. He argued that the decision ignores the potential for cannabis to provide affordable and accessible treatment options for various conditions, including neurological and inflammatory diseases. Dr. Theerawat also mentioned the economic implications, noting that importing cannabis-based treatments from abroad would be prohibitively expensive for many Thais.

He criticized the current stance of the Ministry of Public Health, which appears to be influenced more by conservative views than scientific evidence. Dr. Theerawat called for policies that are based on pure science, free from prejudice, and aimed at improving public health and happiness.

Dr. Theerawat also highlighted the discrepancy in how cannabis is treated compared to other substances like alcohol and tobacco, which are widely used despite their known health risks. He urged the government to adopt a more balanced approach that recognizes both the benefits and risks of cannabis, advocating for its regulated medical use rather than outright criminalization.

Contributing Sources: Manager Online, Daily News