Thai Medical Weed Market to Double by 2032

Stephen Andrews
20 Mar 2024

Thailand has recently moved backwards with its cannabis legalization initiative. Less than two years after the Kingdom permitted recreational use of the plant, its new government has decided to stick only with the medical part of the market in the future. Even with this scaled-down version of legal use, Thailand’s medical cannabis market is on a path to double in size and value within the next decade.

Thailand’s medical cannabis market value climbed to US$187.1 million in 2023. Between 2024 and 2032, it’s anticipated that the Kingdom’s market experiences a growth rate of 46.4% and becomes worth US$6,328.2 million, according to a report from the research firm IMARC Group. 

The IMARC Group evaluation has segmented Thailand’s medical market into five parts:

  • Cultivated species (indica, sativa, hybrid)
  • Cannabinoids (CBD, THC, and more)
  • Delivery methods (oral solutions, topicals, vaporizers, and more)
  • Application areas (cancer, arthritis, epilepsy, migraine, and more)
  • End-use sectors (pharmaceuticals, research centers and others)

Thailand’s medical weed market is undergoing a significant growth period, largely driven by favorable government policies for therapeutic uses and applications of the plant, the authors of the report noted. 

The market has been dynamized also by supportive initiatives across the kingdom to promote cannabis cultivation. One popular measure is that households have the option to grow a limited number of cannabis plants for medicinal use. 

Over the past few years, Thailand has also established a system of specialized clinics and dispensaries where patients can easily access medicinal cannabis. 

More and more people are aware of the therapeutic benefits of cannabis, in particular for the plant’s ability to help with conditions such as chronic pains, epilepsy, or cancer symptoms, among others. 

It feels that this integration of cannabis into medical practice has taken place almost seamlessly. After all, the use of cannabis has been part of traditional Thai medicine for centuries. 

Popular Trends in Thailand’s Medical Cannabis Market

The IMARC report reveals that Indica varieties dominate the cultivated species segment of Thailand’s medical market. The reason for that is the high THC ratio in these strains, effective in the treatment of some of the most common health problems, including pain, insomnia and anxiety. 

In line with that, Tetrahydrocannabinol or THC, is the largest derivatives segment in Thailand’s market. 

Oral solutions and capsules are currently the most popular delivery method of cannabis in Thailand, primarily because of the convenient use of these products. 

The report further highlights that cancer is the largest application area segment in the Kingdom. The authors note that cannabis is increasingly recognized for its benefits in managing common cancer symptoms, such as nausea, pain and loss of appetite. 

By end-use, pharmaceuticals constitute the largest sector, more so than research and development centers or other facilities and institutions. 

Pharmacological companies “extensively utilize medical cannabis in the formulation of drugs to treat various medical conditions, supported by ongoing research and regulatory approvals,” it says in a press release

A diverse set of factors is speeding up Thai market development. Among them is the rising demand for cultivating high-quality and medical-grade cannabis, and an upscale in research funding and new grow technologies. 

Another significant factor for market growth is “the escalating need for various cannabis-based products, such as oils, tinctures and capsules” aimed for the health care of cannabis patients. 

Last but not least, Thailand is also expected to strengthen its position as a leading medical tourism hub in the region. If recreational weed was a main reason for many overseas tourists to come to Thailand in the last two years, in the future, it will be all about medicinal cannabis treatments. 

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- Thailand Unveils Bill to Restrict Cannabis Recreational Use

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Stephen Andrews