Thailand prepares to launch unique international medical cannabis research center

Bethan Rose Jenkins, Cannabis News Writer/Editorial

Thailand’s Public Health Ministry a governmental body tasked with providing oversight for the country’s public health system has sealed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Rx Leaf World Medica

Reports confirm that the signing occurred on Wednesday, November 10 at Pullman Bangkok King Power Hotel. 

This agreement initiates the launch of an unrivaled international research center that will explore the prospective benefits, uses, safety and efficacy of medical cannabis.

According to Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul, the ministry is actively advocating medical cannabis as a way of helping in-need patients to safely receive treatment in a law-abiding manner.

During the signing, Charnvirakul referenced a study spotlighting cannabis’ ability to cure various diseases, including cancer, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis (MS), chronic pain disorder and neuralgia.

“In 2022, the Public Health Ministry will focus on promoting Thai herbs and wisdom in order to create jobs, generate revenue and improve patients’ quality of life,” declared Charnvirakul.

Thailand set to become global leader in cannabis production

During the signing at Pullman Bangkok King Power Hotel, Charnvirakul drew attention to the fact that Thailand has the potential to become a world-class hub for cannabis development and production. 

During a discussion with reporters, Department of Medical Services director-general Somsak Akksil said that MOUs to ascertain intellectual property contributors will be assessed on a case-by-case basis.

Akksilp went on to say that the center will encourage doctors, pharmacists, scientists and cannabis professionals from around the world to carry out research and share knowledge. 

As a direct effect of this, he says, Thailand is likely to develop into a global leader in cannabis production within the next three years.

The fact that Rx Leaf World Medica is involved in the MOU is sure to benefit Thailand’s cannabis market. 

Why? Because the physician-led medical cannabis website is a subsidiary of Amara Asia, which boasts extensive expertise in cannabis cultivation and extraction. 

Specifically, Amara specializes in solvent-free extraction for medical purposes on a plantation that covers 67 rai (equivalent to 26.5 acres.)

Thailand has emerged as an up-and-coming medical cannabis market

Back in January of 2017, a pilot project led by Thailand’s Narcotics Control Board hemp resulted in the decriminalization of hemp. Soon after, in December 2018, Thailand’s National Assembly voted to amend national laws in favor of medical cannabis. Then, in February 2019, cannabis and hemp extracts were banished from state control, before hemp-containing products were recategorized in August 2019. 

The following year, a number of cannabis reform efforts in Thailand resulted in the legal cultivation and trading of cannabis crops by private medical operators. Authorities eliminated additional components of the cannabis plant from criminal decrees in December 2020. By March of 2021, the Deputy Prime Minister and Charnvirakul confirmed that households could legally start growing a maximum of six plants.

Over the course of the last four years, ongoing legislative reform efforts have been initiated by the Thai government with the sole purpose of establishing a robust medical cannabis market. Two of the industry’s main goals are to financially benefit the Southeast Asian country’s economy and to support patients who rely on plant-based medicines for their medical conditions and/or ailments.

More than 30,000 Thai residents registered to gain medical cannabis access three months before the plant was legalized for people with 38 different health conditions. What’s more, during the same period of time, an additional one million patients discovered that they were eligible to use the plant.

In August 2019, 10,000 bottles of medicinal cannabis oil were allocated among patients who had already obtained a prescription. By November of last year, medicinal cannabis oil was being issued among 14,236 patients in Thailand.