Thai Leaf, Cornell team up on hemp
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Thai Leaf, Cornell team up on hemp

Thai Leaf Biotechnology, a private company that imports and produces hemp seed, in collaboration with Cornell University, has unveiled plans to upgrade the Thai hemp market by developing new strains of hemp and seeds that are suitable to be grown in Thailand's climate as well as yielding a high cannabidiol (CBD) content.

The firm is working on three core categories -- beverages, food supplements and cosmetics -- and will later include pharmaceutical products.

Yingyos Charubusapayon, chief executive of Thai Leaf Biotechnology, said his company has set a market share target of 10% and plans to become the leader of the Asian hemp-based pharmaceutical market in the future.

Mr Yingyos explained that CBD extract is a key hemp business-driven factor because it can be used in various ways.

It is effective and useful in many industries, particularly healthcare and wellness, such as caring for the elderly and treating common diseases.

Second, clear legal support from governments in the United States and Canada, parts of South America, Europe and Australia, contributes to growth.

These countries recognise the effectiveness of hemp used in the medical field and plan to expand into other non-narcotic products.

Third, Thailand has a lot of room for growth at the macro level. Many countries, including Asian countries, are currently keeping an eye on Thailand, which has opened free trade for hemp for a year.

He added that the Thai hemp market will likely further expand and reach many other countries including Laos, Cambodia, Singapore, Indonesia and Vietnam.

If the government passes legislation in 2023 to support CBD derived from hemp, clearly defining what can and cannot be done and publicising accurate information, it will increase the likelihood of the Thai hemp market growing faster in the next three years.

This excludes players such as China and India, which have a combined population of about 3 billion people and may decide to enter the same market.

"The aforementioned factors support Thai Leaf's business development as a one-stop service model ready to develop the hemp market from upstream to downstream. Thai Leaf currently has business alliances in Thailand and abroad, ranging from seed importing to planting and extraction," said Mr Yingyos.

"Thai Leaf is the only company in Asia that has collaborated with Cornell University, one of the top three American universities, which has intensively researched hemp strains and seeds for more than 30 years with government funding," he said.

"The hemp seeds developed and imported by Thai Leaf are distinguished by a very high CBD value of 25-26%, making them usable over a long period of time. This contrasts with hemp species grown in Thailand, such as in the Phob Phra district of Tak, Sakon Nakhon, and Chiang Rai, which have a low CBD content of just 4%," he said.

"As a result, it is fibre-producing hemp that is better suited to clothing and textile than medical use."

In the future, the company plans to develop Thai hemp strains with quality comparable to that of foreign countries that are ready to be registered legally and distributed to Thai farmers at reasonable prices. This will help to address the issue of high-priced seed imports.

The global hemp CBD market is predicted to reach US$18.6 billion over the next five years, based on data from

"In Thailand, the value of production in the first year is estimated to be around 3.8-7.2 billion baht, especially if the government participates in building knowledge and understanding with the use of correct information, explaining what can and cannot be done, or highlighting the benefits of hemp to the public sector," Mr Yingyos said.

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