Thailand has built what’s being described as the biggest industrial-scale medical marijuana facility in Southeast Asia. The medical marijuana facility in Chiang Mai has 12,000 plants under cultivation.
Thailand will soon allow all Thais to grow six cannabis plants “in their backyards like any other herb.”
Recreational marijuana use remains illegal in the kingdom, with punishments including imprisonment. Cannabis enthusiasts hope the medical marijuana boom will eventually result in looser laws on recreational use.
Changes over the perception of cannabis appears to be gaining momentum. On September 2, government officials attended a ceremony were researchers planted 12,000 new marijuana plants. Northern Thailand’s Maejo University in Chiang Mai has created its own variety of cannabis plant of medical research and health.
The promising shoots are being grown inside a newly built 3,040-square meter greenhouse with controls for temperature, moisture and light. Seeds for the 12,000 plants were provided by the government’s Department of Medical Service.
Officials expect the plants will produce medical-grade cannabis flowers and buds within six months.
Thailand’s Government Pharmaceutical Organization (GPO) hopes to use the plants to make one million bottles of CBD cannabis oil. Each containing five milliliters of the CBD cannabis oil, by February 2020.
“These are historic first steps on the path to allowing people to grow cannabis in their homes,” said newly appointed Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul.
“In the near future, families will be able to plant it in their back gardens like any other herb.“The university will be a center where ordinary people can learn how to plant and grow good quality cannabis.
Cannabis is not an issue of politics, it is a product that can benefit people’s health,” he said.
If recreational marijuana is allowed, however, then private growers could make easier profits because quality requirements would be less strict.
Anutin predicted fully legalized marijuana would be a more lucrative crop for Thailand. He has suggested Thailand’s low wages would boost its competitiveness in international markets.
Future Marijuana Strains will Offer Differing Percentages of CBD and THC
Maejo University has reportedly developed a marijuana strain it calls “Issara” (independence). Which offers equal percentages of cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).
Future strains will offer differing percentages of CBD and THC to treat illnesses and symptoms requiring other ratios, the university’s researchers say. Officials hope more Thai universities, labs, agricultural experts and botanists will produce additional local strains.
“We have plans to extend the cannabis-growing to outdoor areas too. Which is likely to be suitable for the local strains that are found in many parts of the country.” director of the Maejo Natural Farming Research and Development Center said, according to local media.
At least 13 hospitals have reportedly received licenses to dispense cannabis oil extracts to patients with prescriptions.
A classroom inside a hospital recently began teaching the public how to grow medical-grade marijuana.
“This training course consists of both classroom lectures and practical sessions in closed-farming plots,” Chaophraya Abhaibhubejhr Hospital’s director Namphol Danpipat said on September 17.
“We aim to provide students with optimal growing techniques that will yield the best quality cannabis for medical purposes,” Namphol said according to local media.
Marijuana Growers School at Thai University
The training course was titled: “Medical Cannabis Organic Farming for Agriculturists and the General Public.”
Teachers will instruct students on how patients can use CBD and THC, how to prevent fungus and pest damage.
Meanwhile, Thailand also lags behind other countries where medical and recreational marijuana has been legalized. They have developed an array of foreign strains with CBD and THC levels suitable for medical use.
“Most Thai marijuana strains contain more THC than CBD, which makes them more suitable for recreational use” Namphol said.
Concerned about foreign competition, Thailand approved US$4 million to expand marijuana farms for medical purposes.
Last month, Thailand announced that its first relatively small pharmaceutical laboratory produced cannabis products; CBD and THC oils, tablets, oral sprays, chocolate wafers and traditional potions for medical use.
They proudly displayed the lab’s tiny but potent garden of 72 plants.
Source: Asia Times