Bangkok: Thailand opens its first full-time clinic specializing in traditional and alternative herbal medicines, on Monday, as part of a move by the government to promote a pharmaceutical cannabis industry.
"This is a pilot clinic, because we cannot produce enough doctors to specialize in cannabis," Minister of Public Health, Anton Charnervi ۔l, told reporters at the opening ceremony in Bangkok. Patients will receive free treatment in the first two weeks, he added.
Thailand, which has a tradition of using cannabis to relieve pain and fatigue, legalized marijuana in 2017 for medical use and research to increase agricultural income.
There are already close to 25 herbal clinics in general hospitals across the country but, unlike newly-launched pilot clinics, they work only a few days a week due to a shortage of specialized staff.
The largest producer of medicinal herbs is currently a government pharmaceutical organization of the Ministry of Health. Natakorn Thanasnas, director of Kesstart University's Medical Fung Research, told Reuters that the university would provide 2,200kg of cannabis leaves to the ministry.