Medicana to invest B120m in hemp farm
Newly established Medicana Lab Co plans to spend 120 million baht to strengthen its medical hemp business by producing cannabidiol (CBD) oil from its hemp farm via a closed system.
CBD oil is seen as having the potential for further development to treat many ailments.
Medicana Lab wants to market its products along midstream and downstream supply chains for domestic and overseas sales, said its chief executive Vorapat Phornprapha.
The company is growing 1,000 crops in Bangkok and aims to meet a medical-grade standard for its CBD oil.
"This will be our pilot project. We are interested in businesses related to hemp and marijuana, which will be new Thai economic crops," said Mr Vorapat.
Medicana Lab has joined hands with US-based Taratera Corporation, which has 20 years of experience in breeding and developing plants, as well as extracting substances from plants.
The 120-million-baht investment will support use of Internet of Things technology to control farming in a closed environment which is suitable for hemp growth.
This type of plantation ensures 22% higher crop yields than those of hemp planted outdoors.
There is an opportunity to grow more hemp locally and abroad as high-quality crop yields from closed-system farming are currently in high demand.
Sirasit Praneenij, chief operating officer of Medicana Lab, said the company is looking forward to new investment worth around 100 million baht in the second phase in order to grow more hemp and increase the production capacity of CBD oil within the second half of 2022.
In the second phase, the company also plans to grow marijuana to extract its tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) oil.
"The company is seeking land plots spanning around 10 rai upcountry to expand its hemp farm as well as certain areas in Bangkok to grow marijuana," he said.
THC is a key component of oil extracted from cannabis. Rangsit University researchers discovered the substance can curb the growth of tumours and are eager to conduct more studies to see if it can combat certain types of cancer.