Thailand: Medical marijuana use training begins, for 2-year licence

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The Public Health Ministry on Monday launched a two-day training course in the medical use of marijuana for physicians, dentists, pharmacists and folk doctors, with those who pass subsequent exams eligible for two-year licences.

The course sessions were organised by the Department of Medical Services and the Department for the Development of Thai and Alternative Medicine at different hotels in Bangkok.

In one venue about 200 doctors, dentists and pharmacists received training from the Department of Medical Services and at another about 150 Thai traditional practitioners and folk doctors were given instruction.

Dr Somsak Akhasilp, director-general of the Department of Medical Services, said participants were being  given fundamental knowledge on marijuana, its medical use in this country and abroad, and the illnesses that could be treated with marijuana, such as epilepsy, muscle pain syndrome, vomiting from chemotherapy, Parkinson's disease and Alzheimer's disease.

Those who passed an examination at the end of the course could apply for two-year marijuana prescription licences from the Food and Drug Administration, he said. Licensees would have to go through the training and examination process every two years to keep abreast of new knowledge, he said.

The Department of Medical Services would organise course sessions every month until September, Dr Somsak said.

At the training venue of the Department for the Development of Thai and Alternative Medicine, Dr Pramote Sathianrat, deputy director-general of the department, said information provided by folk doctors showed that catering to their patients required about 10 tonnes of marijuana-based drugs annually.

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