SUPHANBURI, Thailand -- The government is treating for free thousands
of patients suffering cancer and other illnesses with a recently
illegal brew of marijuana boiled in coconut oil, created by Daycha
Siripatra who says a mind-reading Buddhist monk helped tweak its

Mr. Daycha also teaches the public how to make cannabis oil themselves.

It's as easy as cooking soup on a kitchen stove.

Mr. Daycha, an agricultural expert, is now government-licensed to
make, prescribe, and distribute his popular Daycha Oil to the public
for common or serious ills.

His interest began 10 years ago when he worried about contracting
cancer after several relatives died from the disease even with

He searched online for treatments and illegally experimented with a
formula publicized by Canadian cannabis activist Rick Simpson.

Mr. Simpson suggested naphtha, a solvent, to extract oil from marijuana.

To test the oil, Mr. Daycha secretly began treating two terminal
cancer patients.

"Unlike many other cannabis oils, Rick Simpson Oil is high in
tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is the main psychoactive chemical in
marijuana," reported.

The results appeared too intoxicating for Thais.

"The two patients were drunk and could not do anything" Mr. Daycha
said laughing in an interview.

"Our grade of marijuana is too strong, compared to Canada's. The
patients refused to continue."

He sought local advice.

Asians have used cannabis in traditional medicine for hundreds of years.

"So I went to a Buddhist monk. You are surprised why I went to the
monk? Because I used to be a monk before."

Mr. Daycha, 72, was a monk for "about four months" when he was 13, a
tradition followed by most Thai males at sometime during their life.

Mr. Daycha believed an enlightened monk could read people's minds.

"I tested monks by asking the question in my mind. Then I said, 'If
you know what is the question, and can answer correctly, you maybe
have mind power'."

Phra Lad Yom, a monk who seemed to perceive Mr. Daycha's thoughts,
told him cannabis oil was good for cancer patients if diluted.

"He said, 'Dilute with cold press coconut oil. That's very good. Mixed
together. Very diluted.'

"So I diluted it for many percentages. The monk said, 'This one is
good, three percent is best'."

The monk suggested patients consume it before going to bed, because
deep sleep is required for the medical affect.

Mr. Daycha's cannabis oil includes varying levels of THC and other cannabinols.

"The percentage [of cannabis] is not fixed. We want three, but we can
fluctuate, one to five.

"We care about your sleep quality. If you take one drop and it's not
good, take two drops, three drops, until it's good."

Unlike Mr. Simpson's recipe, diluted oil allows patients to easily
adjust how many drops they should consume for deep sleep.

Rick Simpson Oil is "too concentrated. If one drop is not enough, two
drops are too much.

"If too much, you become drunk. It's no use. If too low, it's not enough."

Cannabis oil does not cure cancer, Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, or other
non-communicable diseases (NCD), Mr. Daycha said.

"You must use your body to treat these kinds of NCD. Your body can do
this task when you have deep sleep," longer than 90 minutes a night.

"Marijuana oil can make you have very good sleep. You can test by this
machine," he said, indicating a wristband Fitbit sleep tracker.

"If you can have deep sleep without marijuana, it's OK. Your deep
sleep is the key to make your body to cure any kind of NCD."

He uses cannabis oil every night to improve his health.

Mr. Daycha heads his Khao Kwan Foundation here in Suphanburi, 62 miles
(100 kms) northwest of Bangkok.

He currently teaches the public to make their own cannabis oil during
two-day workshops for about $80.

His recipe is simple:

Chop female marijuana buds and flowers into fine pieces, but not powder.

Mix with coconut oil.


"Not more than one hour. We must keep the temperature not over 130
degrees Celsius (266 degrees Fahrenheit), not lower than 110 degrees
Celsius (230 degrees Fahrenheit). One hundred and twenty degrees (248
degrees Fahrenheit) is best.

"I am training them to help themselves in health, using the cannabis
or marijuana for medicine, not for recreation, because the law in
Thailand does not allow for recreation."

At a recent workshop, Mr. Daycha's slide show included charts
comparing percentages of THC and other cannabinols in marijuana
leaves, buds, flowers, and kief.

One slide showed a painting of Hinduism's Lord Shiva blissfully
smoking hashish in a traditional vertical chillum pipe.

Almost two years ago, however, Mr. Daycha was almost imprisoned.

In 2019, Thailand legalized medical cannabis, but not recreational or
unlicensed use.

Police, military and anti-narcotic officials raided his makeshift
laboratory in April 2019, seized about 200 marijuana plants and
extracts, and threatened to jail him.

Supporters, patients, local media, medical experts and others voiced outrage.

To avoid caging an altruist who appeared to help more than 8,000
patients, a compromise was arranged.

The Office of Narcotics Control Board returned his marijuana plants
and extracts.

The Health Ministry quickly awarded him rare licenses to continue his work.

Today, among 16 approved medicines containing cannabis, the
government's Department of Thai Traditional and Alternative Medicine
(DTAM) uses Mr. Daycha's "formula" for its DTAM Oil brand.

"I gave them [the formula] for free because my patients were too many.

"From us, about 20,000" patients currently receive Daycha Oil for
free, he said.

"From the government, more than 100,000" people receive DTAM Oil for
free through dozens of hospitals and clinics.

"Illegally, at least 600,000" people buy cannabis oil from underground
producers who mostly use Mr. Simpson's formula," he said.

At a recent public exhibition in Bangkok, Health Ministry officials
distributed DTAM Oil for free to Thais who said they suffered
insomnia, stress, cancer and other ailments.

"Patients tended to have their quality of life improved, especially in
cancer and neuropathic-pain patients," said Dr. Pakakrong Kwankao,
head of Chaophraya Abhaibhubejhr Hospital's Empirical Evidence Center.

International tourists are next.

After becoming the first Southeast Asian nation to legalize medical
marijuana, Thailand wants to soon treat international tourists with
cannabis in health spas using traditional recipes mixing herbs with

Neighboring nations are far behind with harsh anti-cannabis laws
enforced across Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Vietnam, Cambodia and
to a lesser extent, Laos.

Officials in all those countries are comparatively timid about
marijuana's medical potential compared to enthusiastic Thailand.

"The cannabis-related medical products and services, now undergoing
development along with other Thai herbs, could further promote the
health and wellness tourism sector in Thailand, making the country one
of the key global destinations for health tourism," the Government
Public Relations Department announced on Dec. 15.

"Patients tended to have their quality of life improved, especially in
cancer and neuropathic-pain patients," said Dr. Pakakrong Kwankao,
head of Chaophraya Abhaibhubejhr Hospital's Empirical Evidence Center.

Thailand's increasingly liberal approach to marijuana includes cashing
in on the medical sector and related businesses while keeping
recreational use illegal.

Fear of foreigners and multinational corporations dominating the
market has forced Bangkok to speed development of cannabis research
labs, university courses, extraction and production facilities,
plantations, and retail and licensing requirements, plus local and
international laws and agreements.

Importing marijuana is restricted.

But licensed medical and research officials are allowed to buy seeds
from abroad to improve and diversify yields.

"Thai Sticks" and other local marijuana is world-renown for its steep euphoria.

But some patients want only the plant's medical benefits without being
mentally interrupted.

Foreign investors are also set to soon benefit. But Thais must remain
majority share-holders, according to Wirot Poonsuwan, a Bangkok-based

"Foreigners will be allowed to get involved, as long as they hold
shares not exceeding one-third in a company incorporated under local
law," Mr. Wirot wrote in a December report about Thailand's private
medical cannabis production.

"International travelers are the most relaxed category and are always
eligible to apply for import and export licenses to bring in and take
out cannabis medicine to treat their illnesses," he said.

It was unclear how rapidly permission would be granted.

The Health Ministry and related facilities have been focusing on
COVID-19 instead of their earlier plans to prioritize cannabis
liberalization after legalizing medical use in 2019.

As a result, thousands of Thai patients are waiting to be treated with
marijuana for common and serious illnesses while there is not enough
locally grown and processed medical-grade cannabis.

To meet those needs, traditional folk healers are being given licenses
to grow, produce, prescribe and sell cannabis for any sickness they
believe it will relieve.


Richard S. Ehrlich is a Bangkok-based American foreign correspondent
reporting from Asia since 1978. Excerpts from his new nonfiction book,
"Rituals. Killers. Wars. & Sex. -- Tibet, India, Nepal, Laos, Vietnam,
Afghanistan, Sri Lanka & New York" are available at