Study Shows Cannabis Helps Reduce Dependency on More Harmful Drugs, Says Rangsit University Dean

National —

On June 16th, 2024, Prof. Panthep Puapongphan, the Dean of the College of Oriental Medicine at Rangsit University, commented on efforts to reclassify cannabis as an illegal narcotic by some parties. 

Prof. Panthep warned that such a move could exacerbate drug problems rather than alleviate them. He emphasized that cannabis has helped individuals quit more harmful substances like methamphetamine and heroin.

Supporting his argument, Prof. Panthep previously addressed claims linking the decriminalization of cannabis to a rise in psychiatric patients. He argued that data comparing post-decriminalization periods with the lockdown year of 2021 is misleading, as fluctuations in psychiatric cases were due to the COVID-19 pandemic, not cannabis use. 

Prof. Panthep highlighted that reclassifying cannabis could remove a critical tool in combating severe drug addiction. Results of the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions indicate that cannabis is less addictive than alcohol and tobacco, with only a 9% probability of addiction compared to 15% for alcohol and 32% for tobacco. 

Additionally, a 2022 Canadian study published in the Harm Reduction Journal surveyed 3,110 people and found that 83.7% used cannabis to reduce dependency on opioids, alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs. The study revealed that 50% used cannabis to reduce stimulant use, 31% to reduce opioid use, and 25% to reduce alcohol consumption. 

Another study from the American Journal of Public Health in 2024 indicated that 25% of cannabis users in Vancouver used it to reduce more dangerous drug use, with 50% reducing stimulant use and 31% reducing opioid use. 

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime reported in 2020 that among the 284 million global drug users aged 15-64, cannabis users accounted for 209 million (73.6%), while opioid users accounted for 61 million (21.5%), amphetamine users for 34 million (12%), cocaine users for 21 million (7.4%), and ecstasy users for 20 million (7%). 

Despite the high number of cannabis users, cannabis-related deaths were significantly lower than those related to opioids, methamphetamine, and cocaine. Opioids accounted for 77% of drug-related deaths, methamphetamine for 7%, cocaine for 4%, and cannabis for 4%.

Prof. Panthep concluded that controlled cannabis use has proven effective in reducing dependency on more dangerous substances and should be considered a strategic tool in addressing drug addiction issues.

The original version of this article appeared on our sister website, The Pattaya News, owned by our parent company TPN media.

Goongnang Suksawat
Goong Nang is a News Translator who has worked professionally for multiple news organizations in Thailand for many years and has worked with The Pattaya News for five years. Specializes primarily in local news for Phuket, Pattaya, and also some national news, with emphasis on translation between Thai to English and working as an intermediary between reporters and English-speaking writers. Originally from Nakhon Si Thammarat, but lives in Phuket and Krabi except when commuting between the three.