Medical Cannabis: Thailand Aims to Become Products Research and Development Hub

Medical cannabis products are up for sale in a stall.
Medical cannabis products are up for sale in a stall.

Thailand organized the International Medical Cannabis Research Center as it signed an MOU with RxLeaf World Medica. The country wants to become one of the world’s top products research and development centers.

The agreement aims to associate doctors, experts, and researchers from around the globe to do product research and development. At the same time, they will exchange information regarding their medical cannabis knowledge.

The latest move will make Thailand become a world-class cannabis production and development center. Likewise, the Asian country plans to emerge as a knowledge capital for generic studies on medical cannabis or medical marijuana.

The country is fostering medical cannabis as well as its safe treatment, according to the Deputy Prime Minister of Thailand and Minister of Public Health, Anutin Charnvirakul.  Research suggests that it can treat numerous diseases, including epilepsy, cancer, and multiple sclerosis.

Medical Cannabis Industry to Save Slumping Economy

People worldwide witnessed the extent of damage that the COVID-19 pandemic brought to the economy of every nation. Thailand is no exception and sees the medical cannabis industry can save the country’s fading economy.

To ease the situation, the government requires new opportunities and economic reform. It’s difficult to rely on tourism alone because there are still restrictions needed to comply with.

Establishing the International Medical Cannabis Research Center is one of the considered facilitators to bolster economic recovery. At the same time, it meets the Thai government’s propositions in promoting the country as an extensive medical cannabis hub in Asia.

Furthermore, it will help empower the development of the cannabis value chain. It involves product cultivation, standardization, market development, and support for new product investments.

Rehabilitating the Country’s Economy

The medical aspect of the industry is a crucial possibility for economic rehabilitation because of its global estimation reaching US$8.3 trillion. Legalized cannabis market, on the other hand, has an approximate valuation of US$12.5 billion. Thus, it makes an excellent opportunity for Thailand since it has the potential and personnel, and physical capability to take on the challenge.

Establishing a medical and wellness tourism center will entice those who favor integrative medicine and plant-based goods. It includes herbs that can cure cancer or seizures in patients, incorporated in food and cosmetics use. Besides, these products will increase the food and drink market’s value, helping farmers and traders grow and develop organic products.

As the government started to leverage in the global cannabis market, it considered reaching an estimated $48 billion by 2027. It already legitimized bark fiber, branches, leaves, and root and hemp plants to use as raw materials in food, drinks, and cosmetic manufacture.

Several businesses such as cafes, spas, and restaurants offer foods and services infused with cannabis. Yet, Thailand only legalized cannabis for medical use and not recreational purposes, but unlike in California, where both are legal.

Legalized Medical Marijuana But Still Procured Illegally

Thailand legalized medical cannabis in December 2018. In fact, it is the first Asian country to legalize the plant’s consumption. The government declared as a “New Year’s Gift” for its citizens. However, users are still procuring the substance from the black market to cure severe conditions.

Government-run hospitals offer the products at no cost, but patients noticed that it’s not potent enough to treat such conditions. The cannabis oil given to patients as pain relief doesn’t do much to alleviate the pain. That’s why they buy from illegal sellers for more potent doses.

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