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Survey Reveals Thailand’s Complex Stance on Cannabis: A Nation Divided

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In the ever-vibrant and dynamic landscape of Thailand, a country renowned for its lush greenery and rich cultural tapestry, an issue has recently sprouted that has everyone talking: cannabis. Amidst the backdrop of bustling cities and serene countryside, a new narrative is unfurling, according to a fascinating survey conducted by the National Institute of Development Administration (Nida), a beacon of research in the region. With a sampling that painted a vivid picture across age, education, and occupation, the survey managed to capture the pulse of the nation between May 14 and 15, engaging 1,310 participants in a dialogue on a topic that is as complex as it is controversial.

The findings? Well, they’re as intriguing as a plot twist in a bestselling novel. The survey revealed that a significant majority, about 60%, of Thais are in harmony with the government’s chorus, supporting the initiative to cast cannabis back into the shadows as a narcotic, albeit with a silver lining that it’s to be used strictly for medical melodies. Meanwhile, a smaller chorus of about 15% gently echoed this sentiment, harmonizing with the policy’s direction. In the grand amphitheater of public opinion, however, not all were swayed by this tune, with approximately 24.4% strumming a different chord, voicing their disagreement with the plan. A solitary 0.9% of respondents remained the silent observers of this orchestral debate, unswayed and uninterested.

The plot thickens when the conversation turns to the perception of cannabis itself. A slight majority of 53.7% of respondents nodded in agreement that cannabis leads a double life as a narcotic with a secret healing power, hinting at its medicinal properties. Then there’s the 33.6%, staunch in their belief that cannabis wears the mask of a medicinal aid without any real powers to boast of, branding it a narcotic plant devoid of medical benefits. On the flip side of the coin, 11.6% rallied behind the idea that cannabis is not the villain it’s painted to be, denying its label as an illegal drug, with about 1% left scratching their heads in uncertainty.

The crescendo comes when discussing the future of cannabis in Thailand. A resounding 75% sang in unison that the use of cannabis should be choreographed strictly within the realms of medical purposes, while about 19% pondered why the government ever decided to pull back the curtains on cannabis or its related products. Delving deeper, about 11% stepped into the spotlight, advocating for the government to play the role of a supportive backstage crew to cannabis and its related products, with 7.4% envisioning cannabis as a star cash crop deserving of the limelight. As for personal encounters with cannabis, the stage was divided: 69% admitted to a rendezvous or two, while 31% have never ventured backstage.

Through the lens of this survey, Thailand stands at a crossroads, with its people weaving a tapestry of opinions that is as diverse as its landscapes. The issue of cannabis, much like a play, unfolds in acts and scenes that capture the essence of debate, tradition, and progress. It’s a narrative that continues to evolve, as complex and captivating as the land it sprouts from. In Thailand, the conversation on cannabis is not just about a plant; it’s about the heartbeats of its people, navigating the waves of modernity and tradition.


  1. Tara May 19, 2024

    The findings are pretty fascinating but not surprising. The cultural significance of cannabis in traditional medicine can’t be ignored, yet there’s a clear global trend towards cautious legalization. Thailand seems to be in the middle of this transition.

    • SammyJ May 19, 2024

      It’s all about moderation and education. The fear mongering around cannabis has overshadowed its benefits for far too long.

      • Tara May 19, 2024

        Exactly, SammyJ! Education is key. People need to be informed about the uses, benefits, and risks in a balanced manner. That’s the path to informed decisions.

    • DrLeaf May 20, 2024

      However, we must also consider the potential for abuse and the societal impacts of widespread legalization. The benefits do exist, but they come alongside risks that must be managed.

      • SammyJ May 20, 2024

        Risks exist with anything. The point is cannabis should not be demonized when its potential benefits, especially in medicine, are so vast.

  2. KBanker May 19, 2024

    As someone from the financial sector, I’m more interested in cannabis as an economic opportunity. The survey seems to hint at a split opinion on this, but imagine the possible boost to the economy from a new, well-regulated cannabis industry.

    • Nate739 May 19, 2024

      Right, but consider the social cost. Not everything that’s profitable is good in the long run. We’ve seen the downsides of such industries elsewhere.

      • KBanker May 20, 2024

        True, Nate739, there’s always a balance to strike. But think about the jobs created and the medical advances. With proper regulation, I believe the pros could outweigh the cons.

  3. JennyLovesCats May 19, 2024

    15% supporting the strict policy feels low. Are we ready to deal with the implications of loosening cannabis laws? Look at what’s happened in other countries; it’s not always a positive story.

    • GreenThumb May 19, 2024

      But you can’t ignore the progress made in pain management, cancer treatment, etc. due to medical cannabis. It’s not a black and white issue.

      • JennyLovesCats May 20, 2024

        Sure, GreenThumb, I acknowledge its medical uses. I’m more concerned about recreational use spiraling out of control.

  4. ProudVeteran May 19, 2024

    I’m all for medical use but against recreational. There’s a line that shouldn’t be crossed. Medicinal properties are a boon, but recreational use often leads down a slippery slope.

    • 420Everyday May 20, 2024

      That ‘slippery slope’ is just a myth perpetuated by those who refuse to see the benefits. Cannabis has been unjustly demonized.

      • ProudVeteran May 20, 2024

        Benefits for medical use, yes. But I’ve seen too many lives negatively affected by recreational abuse. It’s not a myth; it’s reality for many.

      • TinkerBell May 20, 2024

        It’s about personal responsibility, like alcohol. Why should cannabis be treated differently?

  5. GreenFingers May 20, 2024

    This is all great, but let’s not ignore the environmental implications. Proper regulation is needed to ensure sustainable cultivation practices. The environmental footprint of cannabis cultivation can’t be overlooked.

    • EcoWarrior May 20, 2024

      Absolutely! The rush to cultivate cannabis should not lead to environmental negligence. There must be standards to ensure that it’s not just profitable but also sustainable.

  6. Historian101 May 20, 2024

    The cultural shift is monumental. From traditional use to prohibition, and now potentially back to acceptance with regulations, it reflects broader global changes in perception. Thailand is at a crossroads.

  7. PolicyPioneer May 20, 2024

    The key here is regulation and creating frameworks that protect everyone. Education on use, risks, and benefits must be part of the package. Without it, we’re walking blindly into potentially risky territory.

  8. CuriousCat May 20, 2024

    Why is there so little talk about the downsides? Every substance has its cons, especially ones that are psychoactive. Isn’t anyone else worried about this?

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