Phuket health chief supports medical cannabis cultivation

PHOTO: Unsplash: Matteo Paganelli

Phuket’s health chief says he backs the production of medical cannabis and suggests those in the island province should look into growing it for research. The local public health office held a workshop at Phuket’s Rajabhat University discussing cannabis production in Phuket.

Right now only state agencies, private universities or state approved farmers can produce medical cannabis. Phuket’s public health chief Thanit Sermkaew says a permit from the Ministry of Health is needed to legally grow cannabis for medical purposes. Those interested in growing cannabis need to research the best weather conditions for cultivation, how to prepare the soil and how to test for residues in the soil, such as heavy metals or pesticides, he says.

While promoting cannabis research, the health chief reminded those at the workshop that cannabis is still classified as a Category 5 controlled substance under Thailand’s Narcotics Act. Police are still doing major busts at illegal cannabis farms.

A bill to the Act is in the works that would allow cannabis to be grown at home, both for personal use and to sell, but growers would need permission from the Food and Drug Administration.

The government is also drafting up a law that would allow people to grow medical cannabis as an economic crop, meaning it would be allowed to be exported to other countries. State-approved grow facilities can only (legally) grow 4 cannabis cultivars. The government is looking into allowing more strains to keep up with the demanding industry.

Phuket’s health chief says researchers need to study and produce different types of cannabis products.

“We also need to look at dry processing marijuana and producing hemp oil to provide medical and research benefits.”

Phuket Vice Governor Phichet Panaphong supports cannabis research and says many people can benefit from using cannabis.

“Every aspect of growing marijuana can bring us more knowledge, especially in the medical benefits of using treatments made from marijuana. Further study of its uses can help the future treatment of various diseases and medical conditions.”

SOURCE: Phuket News

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Caitlin Ashworth

Caitlin Ashworth is a writer from the United States who has lived in Thailand since 2018. She graduated from the University of South Florida St. Petersburg with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and media studies in 2016. She was a reporter for the Daily Hampshire Gazette In Massachusetts. She also interned at the Richmond Times-Dispatch in Virginia and Sarasota Herald-Tribune in Florida.

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