Thai hemp-cannabis industry can gain impetus

Thai hemp-cannabis industry can gain impetus

Leading expert body set up to turn Thailand into Asia’s hub

Thailand has strong potential to become a global hemp centre that would allow it to cash in on the $15.8 billion of worldwide hemp-related business projected over the next five years.

At least five nascent supply chains are being spurred by hemp and cannabis legalisation in Thailand, namely, beverages, food, medicines and supplements, apparel, and personal care products.

The plant also presents the kingdom with a significant opportunity to add new impetus to its medical tourism drive, with foreigners and locals seeking out affordable, hemp-cannabis related healthcare treatments.

But the route to realise the full potential remains bumpy as the country still faces hurdles, including the need to develop new strains of hemp that better meet market demands and overcome challenges surrounding the legality of some business activities.

The ultimate challenge facing Thailand as it transitions its hemp-related industries to global scale is to earn international recognition of the entire product development process based on scientific principles, research and development, and prioritising safety and effectiveness.

The Global Hemp Innovation Collaboration Centre has been established in Thailand to help guide the country towards achieving that aspiration. “More specifically, the centre's mission is to bring science-based knowhow and experience from abroad to spur short-cut and fast-track developments in Thailand,” explained Dr. Aimon Kopera, founder and CEO of the US-based Geneomics Global.

The Thai scientist have teamed up with world-leading researchers in the fields to incubate Thai entrepreneurs and their products so that they achieve excellence and ultimately establish Thailand as Asia’s hemp and cannabis hub.

"Geneomics Global provides end-to-end solutions by collaborating with local and global partners," Dr. Aimon continued.

Located in Chiang Mai and operating under the name Geneomics Global Co.,Ltd., the centre is the first facility of its kind in Thailand to offer vertical integration of the hemp-cannabis ecosystem. Moreover, it is the first Geneomics centre outside the US which has three sites in Oregon, Hawaii and California.

The Thai centre will be able to research and develop formulations for a diverse range of products, including foods and beverages, dietary supplements, hemp fibre-based materials, and animal feed.

Citing projections from the National Food Institute, Ministry of Industry, Dr. Aimon said that once Thailand has gained global recognition, its four hemp-cannabis-related industries combined, namely agriculture & food, energy & bio-chemicals, medicine & health, and tourism, would be able to contribute 21% of its GDP and create more than 16.5 million jobs.

Compared with countries with a well-developed hemp industry, Thailand has been slow to the game given its high quality natural hemp. 

"It is imperative for all parties concerned in Thailand to focus on using science-based  knowledge for development," she said, noting that the country has the fundamentals required to catapult it to become Asia’s prime hemp and cannabis centre.

Dr. Aimon called on leaders in Thailand to provide supports for the endeavour. She recently led a team of world-class hemp and cannabis experts to the Cannabis International Conference 2022 Thailand, to drive home the country's ability to expedite the domestic industry and achieve regional importance.

The team has already conducted field research at sites in Northern, North-Eastern, Eastern and Central Thailand. 

At the forum, the team exchanged knowledge and experiences with partners in the government and private sectors that will drive Thailand’s national hemp and cannabis strategies. The team also announced the success of research projects conducted in collaboration with four hemp and cannabis experts in various fields.

One team member, Prof. Dr. Jay Noller, a hemp-cannabis expert from Oregon State University, revealed that studies have found compounds from hemp can work against coronaviruses.

At a meeting with officials of Thailand's Ministry of Public Health, he pointed out three opportunities related to hemp for Thailand. First, Thailand can be the first country to pioneer integrated hemp-cannabis production. Second, Thailand can leverage hemp-cannabis for medical tourism. Third, Thailand can produce hemp-cannabis effectively to increase trade opportunities.

Dr. Gerard Rosse, an expert in cannabinoid extraction and purification, stated that the herbal medicine, which is popular among many Thai people, provides a basis for Geneomics Global to enhance the potential of hemp and cannabis as a source of herbal treatments.

"I believe that the right technologies, knowhow and knowledge of Thai herbal applications will surely make Thailand a leader in this regard," he said.

Dr. Billy Morrison, an expert in cultivation and product development technology, said he found that Thai people are very creative, able to learn to use technology and make adjustments to fit the contexts of different situations quickly.

"Therefore, we are confident that we will for sure be able to make Thailand a leader,'' he said.

Do you like the content of this article?

11 convicted of 2002 gang-rape in India go free

AHMEDABAD: Eleven Hindu men jailed for life for the gang-rape of a pregnant Muslim woman during Hindu-Muslim riots in 2002 have been freed on remission, officials said on Tuesday, drawing condemnation from the victim's husband, lawyers and politicians.

16 Aug 2022

Govt readies B150bn loan guarantee for oil fund

The cabinet on Tuesday approved a law to guarantee up to 150 billion baht (US$4.23 billion) in loans for the state oil fund to support energy prices as the government fights inflation, according to a government source and media reports.

16 Aug 2022

Two teachers jump off bridge, leave farewell letters behind in Trat

TRAT: Two women - a teacher and a retired teacher - jumped off a bridge into a canal in Muang district of this eastern province on Tuesday morning, with two farewell letters written to their children found inside a car they travelled in.

16 Aug 2022