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Thailand Study Finds No Association Between Cannabis Retail Density And ‘Hazardous Use’

Thailand made regional history when it implemented a historic cannabis policy change in June 2022, declassifying cannabis from the nation’s narcotics list and allowing every household in the entire country to sign up to legally cultivate low-THC cannabis plants.

The nation’s prime minister recently announced that cannabis will be reclassified as a narcotic in Thailand by the end of 2024, and that the nation’s cannabis shops will all be closed by April 2025. Thailand is currently home to an estimated 6,000 to 8,000 cannabis stores, depending on who you ask.

A team of researchers in Thailand conducted a study in which they compared the density of cannabis retail outlets in Thailand with the prevalence of cannabis use disorder.

“The objectives of this study are: (1) to describe the prevalence of cannabis use behaviors and cannabis use disorder among the general adult population of Thailand; (2) to describe the extent that the density of cannabis outlets is associated with cannabis use behaviors, cannabis use disorder, and the amount of cannabis smoked per day.” the researchers stated about their study.

The team of researchers were affiliated with Prince of Songkla University and the Centre for Alcohol Studies in Thailand.

“We conducted a community-based cross-sectional study in 11 provinces and the Bangkok Metropolitan Area. Participants were residents of sampled communities aged 20 years or older. We requested literate participants to self-administer the questionnaire and interviewed participants who could not read. We analyzed data using descriptive statistics with sampling weight adjustments and multivariate logistic regression analyses.” the researchers stated about their study’s methodology.

“We found no association between outlet density and hazardous cannabis use or cannabis use disorder, nor association with the amount of cannabis use among cannabis smokers.” the researchers stated about their findings.

“The patterns of association between outlet density and cannabis use behaviors were inconsistent. Furthermore, limitations regarding outlet density measurement and lack of temporality should be considered as caveats in the interpretation of the study findings.” the study’s authors concluded.

In February 2024 Reuters reported that, “After Thailand became the first country in Southeast Asia to free up medicinal use in 2018, and then recreational use in 2022, tens of thousands of cannabis shops have sprung up in an industry projected to be worth up to $1.2 billion by next year.”