Following the relaxation of cannabis restrictions in Thailand, aimed at reducing the barriers for patients to access the plant and cannabinoid medicines, the country could be on the cusp of permitting research around another burgeoning field of therapeutics – psychedelics.
As research continues to present resounding evidence of the efficacy of psilocybin (the main hallucinogenic component of ‘magic mushrooms’) and other psychedelic compounds in tackling an array of mental health conditions, the Thailand National Narcotics Control Board has announced that it will start developing psilocybin-based therapeutics.
Speaking at a press conference, Thai Justice Minister Somsak Thepsuthin declared that he fully backed the government’s decision to progress the development of psilocybin therapeutics, citing research and patents registered with the World Medical Association by medical companies from the UK and US.
The initiative will be run in collaboration with the country’s Narcotics Control Board and Khon Kaen University, with specific areas in Khon Kaen designated to farming ‘magic mushrooms’ – known as “het khee khwai” (buffalo pooh mushrooms) – that will be used in research.
Thepsuthin was keen to point out that, like the recent relaxation of Thailand’s policies on cannabis, this change in tack is specifically aimed at the medical market and will not lead to the inception of a legal recreational market for psychedelic mushrooms.
Currently, psilocybin is illegal in Thailand, listed as a Category 5 narcotic.
Vendors of magic mushrooms could be jailed for two to fifteen years, in addition to receiving fines of 200,000 to 1.5 million baht.
Consumers caught with using psilocybin could also face jail time (up to one year), receive a fine of up to 20,000 baht, or both.
It is anticipated that, similar to cannabis and kratom in 2018, psilocybin will be rescheduled in Thailand, so that the compound can be used within wider research and for medical purposes.
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