Just last year, following the move by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) which allowed cannabis oil to be legally used for medical purposes, the Government Pharmaceutical Organization (GPO) started to introduce its cannabis oil products. Available in three different formulas, the cannabis oil contains either THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) or CBD (Cannabidiol), the former promotes relaxation and helps with pain relief while the latter is known to treat nausea and bloating. Apart from the GPO, Department of Thai Traditional and Alternative Medicine and universities’ departments of pharmacology have also gotten on board. The Ministry of Public Health recently announced that it would allow the general public to use parts of the cannabis and hemp plants in food, provided that they are sourced from the government authorized producers. All these initiatives could position Thailand as an emerging leader of cannabis. With so much untapped potential, maybe it’s time for us to support local crops, don’t you think?
After the announcement, we started to see more and more restaurants and cafes coming out with their own cannabis-based creations. Among them is 420 Cannabis Bar Bangkok, the city’s hottest tea shop. Today, we sit down with singer Petite Yada, one of its co-founders, to talk about what’s on offer at her joint.
“The idea came from one of our business partners, a cannabis enthusiast who’d been following the updates on this whole cannabis thing pretty closely. Once we heard that they officially ‘unlocked’ the restrictions on cannabis on December 14 last year, we got in touch with Suranaree University of Technology where they grow marijuana plants, and acquired the leaves from them. Since one of our partners already has some background in drinks and tea, we decided to combine everything together and open the country’s first cannabis bar based on the businesses we saw in countries like the Netherlands and Canada. The concept for our shop is marijuna greenhouse. There’s even real marijuana leaves on display. The customer can have a sniff and take a photo of them.”
420 Cannabis Bar Bangkok may be modelled after a real marijuana greenhouse. However, when compared to the Netherlands where the use of cannabis is decriminalized, Thailand is still lagging behind. We wonder if this could lead to certain capitalists gaining a monopoly over the industry.
“Personally, I don’t think that would be the case. As a private company, we did everything properly through Suranaree University of Technology. Project director professor Dr. Nantakorn Boonkerd wanted to give away the leaves to SMEs to stimulate the economy. Any company is eligible as long as they submit a clear business plan. The university will then distribute them as they see fit.”
“I think that the government is very supportive in all this, especially the FDA. They’ve been very good with educating the public about cannabis. You can visit the FDA website and get all the information you need. For me, marijuana plants have a lot of benefits as long as you don’t abuse them.” If anyone wants to get into the game, now is the good time to do so!
We’ve sampled a few drinks at 420 Cannabis Bar Bangkok and we must say that we were impressed by the variety on offer. Go for ‘The Original 100% Cannabis’ if you want the real deal. Those wanting something more on the herbal side should try ‘Herbs,’ which has hints of pandan, chrysanthemum, and stevia. Our favorite is ‘Peacefully Lychee Cannabis,’ which comes with a refreshing fragrance.
“We make all our products and make sure that the leaves contain the right amount of CBD. For food and desserts, we collaborated with a professional chef, so besides tea drinks, you can also try our cookies, brownies, pizza, and spinach-cheese baked with cannabis leaves.”
After listening to Petite and tasting some delicious cannabis-infused tea, we wonder how the cannabis boom will pan out in Thailand, especially given the long-ingrained stigma surrounding marijuana and the current Covid-19 situation. “Cannabis is in high demand both here and around the world. We’re the first Asian country to have unlocked the restrictions surrounding the plant. When Covid-19 goes away and tourism is back to normal, cannabis might just be the very thing that attracts tourists to our country.”
“If you have a chance, please stop by our bar and try our drinks. We’re the first cannabis bar in Thailand and we use organic plants grown by the experts at Suranaree University of Technology. You can be sure that there’s no chemicals in our products. We want to build a community for people who are interested in cannabis right here in our shop.”
420 Cannabis Bar Bangkok also has plans to expand into other locations in the near future, check out their socials for more updates: