The legalization of cannabis is a hot topic all around the world. Thailand has recently legalized cannabis for medical purposes, however, the black market is selling smuggled cannabis products like edibles. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a warning to parents to be cautious about these illegal cannabis-infused edibles as they are appearing in southern Thailand. Withid Sariddeechaikool, the FDA deputy secretary-general, stated in an interview with Bangkok Post that a few children were hospitalized after consuming smuggled chocolate cookies. These cookies were labeled “Twix Chocolate and THC 600 MG PER BAG PER 2 Cookies,” which obviously exceeded the THC limit of 1.6 milligrams per bottle, box or sachet set by the FDA. It’s suspected that these cookies were smuggled into the country since they hadn’t been imported through FDA checkpoints or sold through any online shops. The FDA deputy secretary-general further urged parents and consumers to purchase only approved products and to examine product labels to see if they contain cannabis or not. He stated that one of the casualties was a long term stoner who ate a few cookies that escalated faster than smoking cannabis. Even though THC-infused edibles are popular in western countries, the Thai culture is not familiar with them, which can be highly dangerous for children. To conclude, the FDA warns that not all edibles with cannabis as an ingredient are safe. The illegitimate products on the market can have unknown concentrations of THC, which can cause serious complications, especially for children. With the state of cannabis legalization in Thailand at present, it’s understandable how these things can occur, but it’s essential to be aware of the risks involved. So, parents and consumers should purchase THC-infused products only from licensed sources. ## Legalization of cannabis brings challenges for public health ## Cannabis legalization in Thailand was a major political and social milestone, but its implementation is posing new challenges for public health officials. Even with the legalization to a certain extent, the illicit market and smuggled products are still visible. In response to the recent hospitalizations of children, the Thai Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has warned the public regarding the illegal cannabis products, especially THC-infused edibles that have plagued Thailand. There are no restrictions or regulations in place for edibles or extracts. As a result, many vendors and retailers are making these illegal products and exposing the public to unknown risks. It’s important to understand that edibles with THC-infused ingredients are not regulated in Thailand, and consumers should be cautious about products that aren’t approved. The FDA official urged people and parents to examine product labels of any product that could contain cannabis, and only buy approved products. In hindsight, keeping track of the cannabis industry is a critical aspect of public administration. The Thai government should start thinking about regulations and follow up with policies, especially in the edibles category. To ensure public safety and public responsibility, proper legislation, and regulations to manage the cannabis industry should be put in place.
As a disclaimer, the opinions expressed in this article don’t reflect those of High Thailand.