A hospital in Thailand has launched a new cannabis-laced menu for its patients.
The Chao Phraya Abhaibhubejhr Hospital in Prachinburi, about 60 miles north east of Bangkok, aims to offer diners “Ganja Ros” (A taste of ganja) following the country’s recent embrace of medicinal cannabis.
The restaurant’s new menu now includes a “happy” pork soup, deep-fried bread topped with pork and a cannabis leaf, as well as a salad of crispy cannabis leaves served with ground pork and chopped vegetables.
Thailand became the first Southeast Asian country to legalise cannabis for medical purposes in 2017. Since then, it has opened numerous medical cannabis clinics. Some have even given cannabis out to patients for free.
The plant was officially removed from the kingdom’s narcotics list last month, allowing state-authorised firms to cultivate the plant and make use of cannabis leaves, stems and roots in food.
Cannabis has a long culinary history in Southeast Asia, with Thailand’s neighbours Cambodia well known for their ‘Happy Pizzas’ widely sold throughout the country, particularly in tourist hotspots Phnom Penh, Siem Reap and Sihanoukville.
In Thailand, cannabis has been used for centuries as a medicine before being banned in 1035. Farmers used it as a muscle relaxer after a long day in the fields, while it was also used by women during childbirth.
The word ‘bong’ even comes directly from the Thai language (bong or baung, Thai: บ้อง). Bongs, usually made from bamboo, have been used in the area, as well all over Africa, for centuries.
Medical tourism hub
Since legalising medical cannabis, Thailand has become a hub for medical tourism. And no doubt that the new meal options offered at Chao Phraya Abhaibhubejhr Hospital, such as “Giggling bread” and “joyfully dancing salad”, will do more to attract interested parties.
“Cannabis leaves, when put in the food or even a small amount … it will help the patient to recover faster from the illness,” said Pakakrong Kwankao, the project leader at the hospital.
“The cannabis leaf can improve appetite and make people sleep well, and also be in a mood, in a good mood.”
The hospital is known as a leader in cannabis research, with recent studies focusing on pain relief and fatigue.
Thai deputy education minister Kanokwan Vilawan has said that famous Thai dishes will be next in line to be infused with cannabis, with hopes of gaining international attention.
“We plan to add more (cannabis) to Thai dishes that are already well known, such as green curry soup, to boost the popularity of these dishes even more,” Kanokwan said.