A Thai chain is making waves for its pizza that boasts a marijuana-molecule topping. While the food item may be innovative and popular, it’s still illegal to eat in Thailand.
How will future cannabis-related innovations interact with laws on recreational drugs?

A Thai chain's cannabis pizza is trendy, but it won't get you high

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This month, one of Thailand’s largest fast food businesses has been pushing its “Crazy Happy Pizza,” a low-profile dish topped with a cannabis leaf. It’s legal, but it’s not going to get you high.

Backpackers who are acquainted with the famed pizza parlors of neighboring Cambodia’s capital Phnom Penh, which serve potent marijuana as an optional condiment, may feel duped.

In an interview last week, Panusak Suensatboon, general manager of The Pizza Company, stated, “Of course, they can’t get high.” “It’s simply a publicity stunt. You can taste the marijuana, and if you take enough, you may get asleep.”

The Crazy Happy Pizza is topped with a deep-fried cannabis leaf and a mix of ingredients replicating the tastes of Thailand’s famed Tom Yum Gai soup. The cheese crust is likewise laced with cannabis, and the dipping sauce contains chopped cannabis. A 9-inch pie would set you back 499 baht (about $15). Customers who want a more hands-on experience may pick their own toppings for a fee of 100 baht ($3) for two or three cannabis leaves.

The cannabis plant has been used for two main purposes: as hemp for rope and textiles, and as a psychoactive substance known as pot, ganja, and dagga.

Cannabidiol, or CBD, a compound present in cannabis that can be turned into what is described as a cure-all pharmaceutical, has developed in recent years as a type of middle-ground product. CBD may be distinguished from tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the molecule in marijuana that causes the high.

CBD has legitimized cannabis-based goods, allowing them to capitalize on the mystique of marijuana without breaking the law or generating severe health concerns. It has grown in popularity, particularly in the United States.

Even though Thailand’s drug laws have been liberalized in recent years, recreational marijuana is still prohibited and may result in a fine and time in prison. Individuals are authorized to cultivate a modest number of plants for personal use, and cannabis is controlled for therapeutic purposes.

Thailand was the first nation in Southeast Asia to remove certain portions and extracts of cannabis from its list of prohibited drugs in December of last year, allowing them to be used in foods and drinks in February of this year. THC content in CBD products must be less than 0.2 percent of total weight, therefore removing the chance of getting high.

Cannabis products had been a cottage business in Thailand even before they were decriminalized, but their acceptance by The Pizza Company — run by Minor Food Group, a part of Minor International, which is listed on the Thailand Stock Exchange – propels them into the commercial mainstream.

According to Panusak, Crazy Happy Pizza has been offered in all of The Pizza Company’s Thai locations, but sales have been disappointing. It has a number of drawbacks, including the fact that it cannot be promoted or sold to anybody under the age of 12. He thinks that after the company’s sales campaign expires on Tuesday, around a fifth of the cannabis leaves it bought would be thrown away.

“I don’t believe the market for cannabis goods is ready now. We’ve known this from the beginning “Panusak said. “All we wanted was to be the first to market with something fresh and original.” Another example of his company’s inventions, he said, is durian pizza, which incorporates the exotic and pricy tropical Asian fruit noted for its strong odor.

“We strive to obtain some new stuff, anything that is trendy,” he added. “We utilize it and want people to speak about it.”

The dean of Bangkok’s Chulalongkorn Company School, Associate Professor Wilert Puriwat, feels that utilizing cannabis for marketing may be helpful in the short term, but that business owners need ways to make it work in the long run.

“People who try it in general don’t anticipate to get high,” he remarked. “All they want to do is stay current and snap images to share on social media to prove they’ve tried something that was previously banned.”

Cannabis, he claims, has an emotional value that complements the product’s primary worth. “People should come to your restaurant for the cuisine and service, not for the cannabis.”

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