Many people use cannabis to manage pain.
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Thailand's new government has sought public opinion on draft legislation that intends to ban the recreational use of cannabis, nearly two years after the country decriminalised it.

The potential ban was part of the country's new conservative coalition government's election promises.

The draft bill proposes hefty fines or prison sentences of up to one year for offenders, or both. It limits the use of cannabis products to medical and healthcare purposes and outlaws all types of recreational use.

It also bans advertising or marketing campaigns for cannabis buds, extracts, or any devices used in smoking. The government also intends to impose strict licensing rules for cannabis planting and sales.

"We drafted this law to prohibit the wrong usage of cannabis," said Health Minister Cholnan Srikaew earlier this week.

Thai people can give their suggestions concerning the draft bill until January 23, after which the parliament will hold a debate on both the proposed legislation and suggestions, per CNN.

Cannabis has been decriminalised for personal use in several countries, such as the Netherlands and Portugal. Greece allows cannabis use for certain medical purposes. It also allows hemp cultivation for industrial purposes.

It is still illegal in most Asian countries. Last year, Thailand became the first country in Asia to fully decriminalise cannabis and allow its cultivation and possession for medical purposes. However, the government had prohibited people from smoking it in public.

The government had made it clear that recreational use of the drug remains illegal in the country, and decriminalisation was merely a step to boost the country's economy and make the most of cannabis for medical purposes.

However, experts claim that the rushed implementation of the law and loopholes led to its rampant recreational use. The government had to issue a slew of regulations a week after the original law came into force. Thousands of dispensaries and spas sprang up across the country due to insufficient regulations. The new law is meant to put a curb on all these activities.

Currently, cannabis is legal for use to some extent for various purposes in countries like Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Spain, Uruguay, India, the USA, Canada and the Netherlands.

The rules are different from place to place, and there are lots of grey areas. For example, in Uruguay, cannabis is totally legal, and you can smoke it in the street, but in Spain, it is only legal in private spaces.

Cannabis is commonly used to treat MS in the United States in states that have legalised its use medicinally or generally. However, in the UK, the drug remains illegal. It is a crime to possess, grow, distribute, or sell cannabis in the UK. If caught, you can face a maximum of five years in prison, an unlimited fine, or both.

Medical cannabis has been legal in the country since 2018, but it is heavily regulated. Its medical use is allowed in England, Wales, and Scotland.

Health Benefits of Cannabis:

There are arguments that cannabis has medical benefits. It is a muscle-relaxant which is believed to help multiple sclerosis patients, by helping to diminish the neurological effects and muscle spasms. Marijuana is also said to help relieve sickness and nausea in stages of cancer and AIDS.

Cannabis contains a substance called tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which gives its user feelings of euphoria, decreased anxiety, and increased relaxation, writes Forbes.

In 2018, a study found that people who took dronabinol (synthetic THC) for obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) saw the quality of their sleep improve. However, there is a lack of clinical research on whether cannabis can help with other medical conditions as well.