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Myanmar’s Take in CBD and Cannabis

What is CBD?

Cannabidiol or CBD is a cannabis derivative that has a bunch of benefits. From skincare to gummies to treating cancer, CBD has a lot to offer. 

CBD has specific properties that help in treating acne and other skin problems. CBD is also known to address chronic pain that torments men and women but has no risk or severe side effects. Since CBD lacks the psychoactive effect like THC, experts consider it to enhance the person’s well-being. Researches were also conducted to prove its beneficial effects on epilepsy, schizophrenia, and a particular type of cancer.

Can you possess and use cannabis in Myanmar?

Cannabis was banned in 1961 during the Single Convention of Narcotic Drugs, and Myanmar is one of the few countries that objected to this banning. They defended cannabis’ potential benefits in treating many diseases and lack the addictive properties of other drugs.

Aside from the therapeutic benefits of cannabis, Myanmar cultivated and used hemp for centuries to produce textiles, paper, food, and construction materials.

A few years ago, as one of the Asian countries that supports the cultivation of cannabis, Myanmar had a potential for the cultivation and distribution of cannabis. It has enormous land and the right climate that would support the growth and propagation of cannabis. These attract potential investors at home and abroad to invest in the cannabis industry. Ironically, this would not be the case a few years later, as Myanmar implemented one of the world’s most rigid anti-cannabis laws. The Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Law was passed in 1993, and this is where the possession and use of cannabis in Myanmar were anchored. This law states that anyone caught with cannabis on their control shall be penalized and incarcerated from 3 years to 5 years.

The lawbreaker will undergo treatment whether they are addicted to cannabis or not and when he/she fails to be present, “shall be subjected to punishment with imprisonment.” If a person is found with 2 to 75g of cannabis, the court will consider this to sell, which sustains a tougher sentence.

Medicinal cannabis in Myanmar

Myanmar does not have medicinal cannabis, and Myanmar’s government has not indicated that there will be one in the coming years. On the other hand, people from rural areas still cultivate and use hemp for medicinal use. When a resident was interviewed, he mentioned that their grandparents’ use hemp as herbal medicine. They use a hemp heat pack for pain relief.

Will Cannabis and Hemp be legalized in the future?

As many countries legalized CBD and cannabis, Myanmar law does not differentiate between hemp and marijuana. Currently, a handful of countries legitimized the use of marijuana; this includes Thailand, Canada, and the United States.

A recent report of an American national based in Myanmar got detained for cultivating cannabis in 20 acres of land after police confused hemp with recreational marijuana. It happened even after authorities were aware that this company was conducting a scientific investigation. The company claimed that their farm cultivates industrial hemp, peppermint, and coffee and is only doing research with no sales or distribution. 

Myanmar’s laws on cannabis are somewhat draconian as the nation has to deal with smuggling and drug-trafficking. It seems improbable at this time that this drug will be decriminalized anytime soon.