The Psychiatric Association of Thailand suggested the government limit access to cannabis plantations and usage among the vulnerable groups before the liberalization of cannabis.
The group said the government should provide information on the benefits and harms before planting and using cannabis, including implementing measures to limit access from the vulnerable groups as the plant can be more addictive for them than the general population and can affect their brain development.
The Association, therefore, has prepared recommendations on the permission to use, plant, and produce cannabis in Thailand for relevant parties to consider and improve their regulations in order to make the cannabis liberalization effective. The suggestions include:
- The Ministry of Public Health should have clear instructions on which parts of cannabis should and should not be used even though the liberalization is aimed at the development and use in medical and commercial agriculture purposes. However, some parts of the cannabis plants contain high levels of Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) which could potentially cause long-term psychotic symptoms, especially in children and people who are at risk of developing mental illnesses.
- Cannabis use should initially be for medical purposes. In the meantime, the authorities can continue research and develop the use of the plants while supervising the qualified planting and production with access control systems and systematic data on side effects in order to indicate the usage problems.
- Legalizing cannabis plantations before properly educating the public can cause problems related to dangerous cannabis use. Therefore, the government should provide comprehensive knowledge to the general public and inform the benefits, harms, and precautions, so that the planting legalization can be ultimately beneficial in line with the government’s intentions and can reduce the harm or negative impacts of the cannabis use on people and society.
- The Psychiatric Association of Thailand is concerned and would like to emphasize the need to limit access to cannabis for vulnerable groups, such as children, youth, and pregnant women. Therefore, the Association calls on the government to implement concrete measures beyond what is currently available before the liberalization to protect vulnerable groups due to the followings:
- Children and youth are more likely to become addicted to cannabis than adults
- Cannabis can affect brain development, rational thinking, and restraint during and after use on the unborn child of a mother who used it
- Cannabis addiction can result in more domestic violence
- Cannabis can cause psychosis and schizophrenia. And the Psychiatric Association of Thailand is ready to provide academic information to promote such a control mechanism for the benefit of the Thai people.
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