In Vietnam, cannabis is still illegal. It is illegal to cultivate, possess, sell or use cannabis. However, with cannabis and hemp being legalized in many places over the world, Vietnam is being presented with big opportunities that can bring countless benefits. But before considering legalizing this plant, there are still many major problems that the country needs to solve.

Law

Is cannabis legal in Vietnam?

As mentioned, cannabis is illegal. It belongs to Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act in Vietnam. It forbids the use of cannabis even as medicine or researching purposes, except when authorized by the Government.

Despite that, there isn’t any clear distinction between cannabis and hemp written in the law. Do đó, việc liệu Cannabidiol (CBD) và các sản phẩm của nó có hợp pháp hay không vẫn còn là một câu hỏi lớn.

Opportunities

Hemp

Even though cannabis law remains confusing as such, you can still easily find many hemp fields grown by ethnic minorities in the mountain areas of Lao Cai, Yen Bai, Thanh Hoa, Nghe An or Ha Tinh provinces. People here grow hemp mainly for textile fibers, seeds for animal and poultry feed, or used for medicine. Therefore, the hemp plant has become an inseparable part of the cultural life of the people here.

Many hemp products are also being imported into Vietnam without any legal trouble. Hemp seeds from Canada or Europe are being preferred by people who are looking for a nutritious source of vegan food. Furthermore, cosmetics made from hemp are also selling fast.

CBD market

On the other hand, even though CBD is still a new thing, its market holds a lot of potential due to many people wanting to improve their health by using natural products. Knowing this high demand of CBD products, HEMP SAPA was founded by a Vietnamese. The company is based in Czech, now using EU hemp ingredients to make very high quality products to sell in Vietnam. Beside HEMP SAPA, many other CBD companies are also trying to find a way into the country.

Headshop and Growshop

Headshop (selling paraphernalia) and Growshop (selling growing tools) are not illegal, and can be found in many places. These shops operate quite actively, mainly on Facebook.

In addition, many people are also starting to pay attention to vaporizers. Vaporization is the most discreet, economical and low-risk way to consume cannabis. Many brands of vaporizers are already on the market. The most popular ones are Arizer, Mighty, Dyna Vap, K-vape, PAX, DaVinci… In addition to vaporizers, E-liquid pens/vape are also widely used.

Smoking dry buds is currently the main form of cannabis use. However, different types of concentrates are slowly emerging. Just recently, HEMP SAPA has introduced its CBD distillate to the market, with a very total cannabinoid content (>70%) >

Medical Cannabis

In addition to hemp and CBD products, a great deal of public interest is moving towards medical cannabis. News and knowledge about the effects of this plant is being spread more and more widely, mainly through social networks and even in some national news reports on TV. While the official legalization is still a long way to go, at least the stereotypes and misconceptions about cannabis are being removed gradually.

Moreover, with Thailand legalizing cannabis, medical tourism will be possible very soon as an option for Vietnamese people.

Challenges

On the other hand, despite many opportunities, Vietnam also has some pressing problems.

Lack of cannabis knowledge

The number one concern is the lack of knowledge about cannabis in the community, especially among medical professionals. Although a lot of materials has been translated and is available online, such as on Vietgrowers.org website, cannabis education still needs to be promoted further. Doctors, pharmacists and researchers in Vietnam need to update their knowledge about this plant very soon to prepare for future legalization.

Indeed, given what is going on all over the world, legalization of medical cannabis will only be a matter of sooner or later. Medical professionals must be truly ready to be able to provide cannabis health care in the best possible way, for Vietnamese people.

Synthetic cannabis

In addition to the above problem, Vietnam is also facing the problem of synthetic cannabis flooding the market. With many cannabis/hemp/CBD products imported from abroad, many people also take advantage of that opportunity to find ways to sell synthetic cannabinoid-containing products.

Called various names such as aromatic tobacco, CBD (fake), american weed… and has many forms of disguise, these products are causing so much harm to young people. Addiction, strong hallucinations, and trauma to the nervous system are common consequences of synthetic cannabis usage. With it being so difficult to detect (doesn’t show up in a conventional drug test) and having such great harm, the authorities need to handle and address this issue more aggressively. Again, this is such a great danger that should not be underestimated.

Towards the Future

In short, the future of cannabis/hemp in Vietnam is very bright and promising. The hemp and CBD markets have already begun to grow day by day. Therefore, continuing in that direction, it is very likely that medical cannabis will be legal soon, probably in 5 to 10 years.

Hopefully, the government will soon make early changes to seize the opportunity and at the same time, solve the mentioned urgent issues. If the country is able to do that, once cannabis is legalized, it will certainly bring countless benefits.

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