6 June 2024

Four people were admitted to hospital for treatment after suspected using cannabis and one later died of heart failure in the first known cases of hospitalisation after the decriminalisation of cannabis use in Thailand on June 9th, according to Bangkok Governor Chadchart Sittipunt.

The governor received a report today (Tuesday) from the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration’s (BMA) Medical Services Department that a 17-year-old and a 25-year-old have been admitted to city-run hospitals for treatment of heart palpitations after consuming cannabis. A 16-year-old was admitted to intensive care, allegedly following a cannabis overdose.

Additionally, a 51-year-old man suffered chest pains after using cannabis and later died of heart failure. An autopsy report shows he had a heart failure due to his underlying condition.

There is no elaboration from the authorities how the hospitalised consumed cannabis, by which amount, and whether they may have other health complications.

According to US health website Healthline, while nobody has died from overdosing on cannabis alone, it’s possible to consume too much and have a bad reaction. This tends to happen more with edibles and high-THC products.

CBC news also reported in 2019 that thousands of young Americans were hospitalised due to use of cannabis and other drugs.

The cases have prompted the BMA to consider measures to protect students at its 436 schools, including the idea of declaring schools and eateries in front of the schools to be cannabis-free zones, with signs erected in front of the schools, he said.

Since recreational use of cannabis and hemp is no longer illegal in Thailand, the governor admitted that the BMA cannot do anything to protect adults, but it can keep a close watch on and prevent students at all schools under its supervision from getting involved in cannabis use.

Recreational use of cannabis and hemp, with a THC content of less than 0.2% (by weight), is not illegal unless its smell or smoke cause a nuisance to other people, in which case the users may face a fine of up to 25,000 baht and/or up to three months in prison if convicted of public nuisance offences.

Trade in the two plants and their extracts needs permission from the authorities. More than 785,000 people have registered for cannabis cultivation on the government’s “Plookganja” app and website, with the majority having been granted certificates.