FDA would like cannabis on its list of essential medicines

23 Feb 2021

By its deputy secretary-general, Supattra Boonserm, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is pushing to expedite the listing of cannabis on the National List of Essential Medicines and for the use of food products. 

She said on Monday, the FDA committee approved the draft Minister of Public Health Ordinance that places cannabis on the National List of Essential Medicines and allows it to be used in food products as ingredients. 

"Users can put oil extracts from cannabis in breakfast cereals, bakery products, beverages, snacks or butter as well as in food supplements," Ms Supattra told the media on Monday in a press briefing.

Anutin Charnvirakul, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Public Health said the move by the FDA is intended to ensure its availability to those who need it. 

Speaking at the official opening of the Medical Cannabis Institute, Mr Anutin said that since the Ministry of Public Health approved the use of cannabis and hemp for medical and research purposes, licensed health professionals have prescribed cannabis-based treatments to more than 50,000 patients. 

At present, he added, there are over 300 community businesses that have joined hands with the ministry for medical and research purposes to grow cannabis and hemp.

The FDA will push to speed their inclusion in the National List of Essential Medicines to ensure the sustainable supply of cannabis to patients and to promote further research into hemp-based products, he said. 

"The efficacy and safety of medical cannabis will continue to be reviewed, and the findings will be used to support further changes to medical cannabis laws," he added. 

The Institute of Medical Cannabis will serve as the coordinating agency, according to Mr Anutin, to help ensure that the use of cannabis-based products by public health agencies and community enterprises complies with existing government policy.

The Institute will also provide accurate information on the plants and their use, he added, as the public interest in the plants has grown. 

Households can grow six cannabis plants each, according to the minister, but they must first get permission from a local hospital.