European backpackers in south-east Asia may soon be tucking into a cannabis pizza on their travels.
One of Thailand’s major fast food chains has been promoting its "Crazy Happy Pizza" this month, an under-the-radar product topped with a cannabis leaf.
The “Crazy Happy Pizza” is a mashup of toppings evoking the flavours of Thailand's famous Tom Yum Gai soup along with a deep-fried cannabis leaf on top. Cannabis is also infused into the cheese crust and an accompanying dipping sauce.
A 9-inch pie costs 499 baht (about $15). Customers preferring a do-it-yourself variety can choose their own toppings, with a 100 baht ($3) surcharge for two or three cannabis leaves.
The use of cannabis for medicinal and taste purposes has exploded in recent years, legitimised in the global CBD market.
CBD can be separated out from tetrahydrocannabinol -- THC -- the chemical in cannabis that produces marijuana's high.
CBD has legitimized products made with cannabis, drawing on the mystique of marijuana without flouting the law or raising major health questions. It's become a boom industry, especially in the United States.
Will the pizza get you high?
Recreational cannabis is illegal in Thailand and anyone hoping to get high from “Crazy Happy Pizza” will be disappointed.
"Of course, they cannot get high," Panusak Suensatboon, general manager of The Pizza Company, said in an interview this week.
Those familiar with the legendary pizza parlors of Cambodia's capital Phnom Penh will find this product very different. The powerful marijuana as an optional condiment on offer in the neighbouring country, is not replicated by The Pizza Company.
"It's just a marketing campaign. You can taste the cannabis and then if you have enough, you may get a bit sleepy,” Suensatboon said.
However, Thailand's cannabis laws have been liberalised in recent years. Last year the country was the first in Southeast Asia to remove specific parts and extracts of cannabis from its controlled narcotics list.
In February 2021, the government allowed them to be used in foods and beverages. The amount of THC in the CBD product must not exceed 0.2% of its total weight, virtually eliminating the possibility of seriously feeling any effects.
Crazy Happy Pizza has been available at all of The Pizza Company's branches in Thailand, but sales have been lacklustre, according to Panusak.
"I don't think the market is ready for cannabis products yet," says Panusak.
"We only wanted to be the first mover to launch something new and innovative in the market."