The Legalized Cannabis Market in Thailand: Consumer Survey

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The movement to legalize cannabis (marijuana) for medical and/or recreational use is spreading across the world to a limited but expanding extent. However, what is meant by “legalization” differs greatly by country. Canada, Mexico, Uruguay and some states in the United States have legalized the recreational use of cannabis. On the other hand, many other countries have not yet permitted the use of the substance or have limited it to medical applications.

In 2019, Thailand was the first Southeast Asian country to legalize cannabis for medical purposes. The country has further loosened restrictions and now allows food and cosmetics products containing cannabis leaves, stems, stalks and roots. Cannabis is “not illegal” anymore in Thailand, but there are still certain limitations on its use. This has made companies hold back from an accelerated entrance into the market. Consumer preferences also remain unknown.

To uncover the latest consumers’ intentions and attitudes towards the deregulation of cannabis products, Nikkei Research conducted a survey targeting people aged 20 to 59 in Greater Bangkok, Thailand. A total of 700 responses were collected through an online survey in June 2021, and the data was weighted by age group for analysis.

Nearly 90% (the cumulative total of “I am very aware” and “I have heard about it but don’t know the details”) knew about the recent deregulations allowing cannabis in herbal cosmetics, food products and medical products in Thailand.

Among respondents, 64% are willing to try products containing low levels of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), a psychoactive substance found in cannabis, within the legal range. Over 70% can be said to be "intenders," including those who are willing to use it if it is recommended by friends or family (7%).

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