Agency notes high demand for CBD stock
Govt collaboration ‘good for farmers’
The Government Pharmaceutical Organisation (GPO) has shed light on its collaboration with community enterprises to manufacture and distribute premium cannabidiol (CBD) products using high-quality cannabis, signalling that the agency is open to the participation of more farmers.
Sopon Mekthon, assistant to Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul, on Friday said Thailand is the first country in Southeast Asia with a government that supports the legal use of medical cannabis products.
The GPO is one government agency that produces medical cannabis, from cultivation to distribution, he said.
Dr Sopon said private cannabis cultivation for sale is currently prohibited, but farmers who are interested in planting the crop can form a community enterprise in partnership with a government agency.
He predicted the demand for medical cannabis products would continue to rise for the manufacturing of medicines, supplements and cosmetics.
The GOP has already given permission to 82 community enterprises to plant cannabis for medical use.
The agency and a network of medical cannabis community enterprises have established the criteria for their collaboration and the purchase of dried cannabis flowers.
The cooperation between the GPO and community enterprises was an important milestone in the country’s commercial medical cannabis development, the adviser said.
According to the agency, it has distributed cannabis extracts to over 100 hospitals nationwide. The organisation is planting its own high-grade cannabis for CBD products and is keen on finding farms that can cultivate it.
The farms must obtain a licence to cultivate medical cannabis from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), GPO said.
A high-grade product needs to contain at least 8% of the cannabinoid compound, it added.
Nuntakan Suwanpidokkul, director of the GPO’s Research and Development Institute, said the GPO has signed a contract to buy dried cannabis flowers from the Play La Ploen community enterprise in Buriram.
She said three more community enterprises have passed the GPO’s assessment and more would follow to keep up with demands.
According to the institute director, the GPO wants high-quality leaves that have been dried in a dark room with low temperatures.
The price of high-quality cannabis can fetch about 45,000 baht per kilogramme.
Sasikarn Lorjirophas, president of Play La Ploen, said the FDA has given the community enterprise permission to plant cannabis indoors together with the GPO.
Ninety saplings of their Charlotte’s Angel cannabis strain will be planted in March this year on a 50-square metre area with plans to expand it to 360m², he said, adding 18kg are expected to be harvested in June.
Prapat Panyachatraksa, chairman of the National Farmers Council, said the collaboration with the GPO will help attract foreign investors.