BANGKOK – The Government Pharmaceutical Organization (GPO) has officially signed a purchase agreement with a community enterprise consisting of cannabis growers in Buriram province, securing local supplies for the agency to begin production of cannabis and hemp-infused medicine.
Dr. Sopon Mekthon, Deputy Public Health Minister, in his capacity as chair of the event, outlined that securing cannabis supplies is vital as the plant can be utilized to effectively treat patients with various ailments such as Epilepsy or act as a strong pain reliever. “So far, there has been demand from the public, and securing a supply with the first community enterprise in Buriram will help the agency better meet the demand,” assured the Deputy Minister.
Having signed the agreement today, the community enterprise in Buriram province should be able to supply their first lot in June this year, totaling 18 kilograms, while plantations in the area will expand further.
In the very near future, the GPO will sign a purchase agreement with three more community enterprises in Lampang, Nakhon Ratchasima and Mae Hong Son provinces.
Market prices for the plant have been set, with prices varying from 30,000 to 45,000 baht depending on the Cannabidiol (CBD) concentration levels per one kilogram of dried Cannabis leaves. CBD is an active ingredient in cannabis-derived from hemp. CBD is a chemical that may help treat conditions like pain, insomnia, and anxiety.
According to the GPO, cannabis with CBD concentration levels of 12% or beyond, which is segmented as ‘A’ grade, will be sold to the GPO at 45,000 baht per kilogram. Meanwhile, ‘B’ grade cannabis with lower CBD concentration levels of 10-11.9% will be priced at 37,500 – 43,125 baht per kilogram, while that with CBD levels of 8-9.9% will be priced at 30,000-35,625 baht per kilogram.
The reason for state agencies like the GPO seeking the cooperation of community enterprises is to expand the amount of cannabis containing CBD exceeding Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). THC is the marijuana plant’s primary component causing psychoactive effects, once absorbed into the bloodstream; it also travels to the brain, suppresses the brain’s activeness, and acts as an anti-inflammatory drug that helps relieve pain.
Dr. Witoon Danwibul, GPO Managing Director, added that CBD is an essential component in cannabis that could be beneficial in terms of medical use but also creates a psychotropic effect on consumers. He shared that “the typical and naturally grown cannabis often carries more THC than CBD, but cannabis effective for medicinal use should contain higher CBD levels than THC. Therefore, the GPO plans to start a planting activity with community enterprises, so they can produce cannabis with higher CBD levels while maintaining quality standards.”
Those interested in participating in the plantation program are urged to form a community enterprise that can contact the GPO on hotline 1648; by email at [email protected] or by looking up the GPO’s website www.gpo.or.th/กัญชา (NNT)