The Pattaya City Expats Club welcomed Paisan Bundityanond, owner of the Rabbit Resort and Ganj Coffee in Pattaya, at their meeting on Wednesday, 1 December. Paisan’s talk was about his involvement with the legalization of marijuana’s use for medical purposes.
He began by pointing out he was not a doctor, nor an expert on cannabis. His interest in studying the medical benefits of cannabis was because he had a severe sleeping disorder. He noted that cannabis is a Latin word for marijuana (Spanish), Ganja (India), and Gancha (Thailand).
In late 2017, he began attending seminars and conventions and taking classes at universities about cannabis. There were many experts in the medical industries, modern medicine doctors, traditional Thai medicine doctors, pharmacists, lawyers, public prosecutors, speakers from the Drug Enforcement Agency, Food and Drug Administration, and so on. In addition, many sick people who recovered from their illness by using Gancha were guest speakers, relating their own personal experiences.
He then gave a history of his involvement. He described his attendance at many activities and meetings. One in particular was in Isaan’s Chaiyapoom Province, where he met with many Gancha activists. They were community leaders, farmers, Thai medicine doctors and more, there to discuss how to lobby politicians to legalize cannabis for medical use. Many were patients with cancer problems, diabetes, chronic pain and Parkinson’s disease. He also attended meetings in three temples, which had given up on modern medicine and where people waited in long lines to get cannabis dispensed by Thai medicine doctors in the hope of miracles.
Paisan related his opportunity to visit the largest herbal factory in Isaan, where the University of Suranaree in Korat had invested a few hundred million baht on equipment for herb production. Additionally, he visited hemp farms where cannabis was being grown by the Mong, a hill tribe in Chiang Rai. “I held a huge Gancha flower similar to the size of a squirrel tail,” he said. Squirrel Tail (Haang Grarok) is where he inspected a bag full of Gancha plants cut for use in Thai herbal medicine.
Paisan was in the first group of people who signed an MOU with a university, presided over by the Assistant to the Minister of Health, hoping to grow cannabis. After the signing ceremony, they visited the first indoor medical-grade cannabis farm on the university’s rooftop. There was very tight security following strict restrictions for access.
He was also involved in studying alternative ways to cultivate cannabis, including a visit to the largest tissue culture factory in Thailand, which previously specialized in Thai orchids before switching to cannabis.
Paisan then gave a history on the Marijuana Laws in Thailand, beginning with the Narcotics Act, B.E. 2522 (1979), which was replaced in 2019 to legalize cannabis for medical use. This made Thailand the first country in Southeast Asia to legalize cannabis use for medicinal purposes. Also, it was in the same year the World Health Organization changed their classification of cannabis due to evidence that some cannabis-based preparations have medical use. He followed this with a description of how US soldiers during the Vietnam War used Thai cannabis for recreational purposes.
Paisan described the many health benefits of cannabis and the many ways it can be consumed or applied to the skin. Although there may be some side effects, they are not severe and can be treated easily. He mentioned how drinking tea from the cannabis leaf helped him tremendously to overcome his bad sleeping disorder.
He concluded his presentation by holding a “lucky draw” with several vouchers to be used at Rabbit Resort’s Ganj Coffee, where only legally approved parts of Gancha are available. He noted that those include anything other than cannabis flowers and seeds. These parts are leaves, stems and branches that are non-psychedelics.
To view the video of the presentation on YouTube, visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ujwRjQxrqrw. MC Les Edmonds took up the mic to bring everyone up to date on the latest events. This was followed by the Open Forum where attendees can make comments or ask questions about Expat living in Thailand, especially Pattaya. For more information visit the PCEC’s website at https://pcec.club.