JULY 11, 2011 - CULTURAL HISTORY OF CANNABIS IN THAILAND
Like many other parts of
the world, Cannabis has a long history of recorded use in Southeast
Asia. Cannabis has historically been used in Southeast Asia as: an
ingredient, a condiment in foods, a medicine and a source of fiber.
The most well known historical example of Cannabis being used as a
spice in Thailand is boat noodle soup (kway teeow rua -
the use of cannabis as a spice in Thailand is currently outlawed,
cannabis can still be found in provincial markets in the neighboring
countries of Laos and Cambodia. Traditional Thai medicine and Thai
massage practitioners also historically used cannabis to treat a
variety of health conditions. The Thai Institute of Healing Arts
describes marijuana, cannabis, cannabis sativa, and cannabis indica
as an “analgesic and sedative to control pain”.
The fibers of the
cannabis plant have historically been used for clothing and rope in
Thailand. The Hmong in Thailand, a minority ethnic group originally
from China, have used hemp as a textile fiber to make clothing and
other items. Hemp fiber clothing is a popular export item from
Thailand even today.
Hemp was also used in
early Muay Thai fights. Thai fighters would protect their
hands during fights with hemp hand wraps that ended in
seashell-shaped knobs over each knuckle. This method of
hand-protection would eventually be replaced by Western-style boxing
gloves in the 1920’s.