Renowned for its delectable cuisine, glistening turquoise waters, and palm-tree fringed islands, of which there are 1,430 dotted around the “Kingdom,” Thailand is famous for many things. However, one of its most recent accolades is its newfound status as the first Southeast Asian country to legalize medical cannabis, including CBD oil.
“This is a New Year’s gift from the National Legislative Assembly to the government and Thai people,” chairmen of the drafting committee, Somchai Sawangkarnm, is quoted as saying after the country’s parliament amended the Narcotic Act of 1979 on Christmas Day 2018. Cannabis’ primary non-psychoactive compound CBD (cannabidiol) was officially removed from the counted list of illegal narcotics by the Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) on August 30, 2019. Now, while CBD oil is legal in Thailand, the new law comes with some exceptions.
Let’s dive straight in and discover what conditions are tied to Thailand’s CBD oil law:
- CBD (Cannabidiol) extract is only legal if it is (at least) 99% pure and does not contain more than 0.01% of the psychoactive compound THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) by weight.
- Cannabis extracts that contain CBD as the primary compound and contain more than 0.2% by weight of THC are still deemed to be “Drugs” as per the Drug Act or “Herbal Products” per the Herbal Products Act.
Obtaining CBD in Thailand: What’s legal and what’s not?
As CBD contains no more than 0.2% – the same legal threshold as set out in the European Union’s cannabis regulations – it is entirely legal to sell and purchase CBD oil and related products in Thailand. However, it is currently legal to obtain the non-psychotropic compound from a licensed clinic with a doctor-authorized prescription.
Certified physicians and healthcare practitioners working at Thai clinics are prescribing CBD oil for a broad scope of qualifying medical conditions, including chemotherapy-related nausea and vomiting, central nervous system pain, and nerve degeneration-associated muscle spasms. Most natural health stores and alternative medicine retailers stock cannabis extracts like CBD, especially in tourist-dense locations. Online purchases are forbidden.
Relaxed Laws Create Cultivation Opportunities
With Thailand’s Narcotic laws making CBD oil legal, the general public has been informed that they can legally begin cultivating hemp – a low-THC variety of the Cannabis Sativa plant species – for personal use. People require specific permits and licenses to grow low-THC strains, gaining approval from Thailand’s government for home-growing. It is also possible for all Thais to cultivate a maximum of six cannabis plants in their homes and sell yields to the government for as much as $2,225 each.
Additionally, under a recently proposed law, Thai farmers who want to grow cannabis and hemp for exportation purposes don’t need to obtain certification via universities or medical institutes. According to the National Farmers Council President Praphat Panyachatrak, the new law will act in 2021. It is currently in the hands of the Public Health Ministry and National Legislative Assembly.
CBD for Foreigners in Thailand: Country’s Tourist Appeal Could Bolster Economy
Thailand’s CBD laws state that tourists can legally travel to Thailand with a 30-day supply of the product for personal consumption. However, you need to procure the import permit from the Thai Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Although it is 100% legal to do so, tourists who plan on taking an extra dose of CBD to Thailand must conform to the cannabinoid potency rules mentioned above. In addition to this, a doctor in the medical cannabis patient’s country of residence must issue the patient with a permit and documentation outlining their ailment(s) before they can travel with the substance.
The fact that tourists can buy CBD oil in Thailand with a prescription means that the country could be turning over some severe profits, particularly so post-pandemic. Currently, foreign participants are not allowed to participate in Thailand’s approved cannabis business until February 20, 2024. Foreigners are also advised against home-growing.
Thailand’s Cannabis Industry is Rapidly Developing: Recent Takeaways
A December announcement by tourism and sports minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn confirmed that Thailand would soon be embarking on Southeast Asia’s first-ever weed tour. The industry has already made news headlines this year, too, with the Ministry of Public Health issuing a notification that makes it legal for hemp to be used in cosmetics throughout Thailand. A restaurant at the Chao Phya Abhaibhubejhr Hospital in Prachin Buri province also began serving cannabis-infused meals to patients this January.
Some Parts of Cannabis are Still Listed as Narcotics in Thailand
Although CBD oil is legal in Thailand, the laws aren’t entirely relaxed. Based on the rules:
- “Stalks, fibers, stems, roots, branches, leaves without the tip and inflorescence, extracts comprising CBD with less than 0.2% THC by weight” are considered the legal parts of marijuana (cannabis).
- “Stalks, fibers, stems, roots, seeds, branches, seed oils, leaves, seed extracts without the inflorescence and tip, with extracts comprising CBD with less than 0.2% THC by weight.
Although cannabis and hemp parts are now legal substances under the Narcotics Act, marijuana buds, seeds, and the complete flower head are still controlled narcotics. Nonetheless, the progressive liberalization of restrictions on cannabis-related substances – such as CBD oil – in Thailand indicates that the Southeast Asian country is leaning significantly more towards cannabis reform than against it.