Thonburi Health, Chula to study hemp
Joint venture’s goal is to make medical products
SET-listed Thonburi Healthcare Group (THG) will allocate a 300-million-baht budget to a joint venture with Chulalongkorn University to study the medical benefits of hemp, cannabis and krathom in a move to develop commercial products by this year.
Like hemp and cannabis, krathom, known scientifically as Mitragyna speciosa, was removed from the narcotics list.
THG will primarily focus on hemp research because the plant has a high amount of cannabidiol (CBD) oil, which can be used to treat a number of ailments.
“We expect to develop hemp into medical products and it is believed they will generate 200-300 million baht in revenue per year,” said THG chairman Dr Boon Vanasin.
The company plans to spend 300 million baht on building a greenhouse and acquiring technology for CBD extraction as well as supporting the research team.
THG expects the value of the CBD business to reach 1 billion baht this year and rise to 10-20 billion baht in 4-5 years.
The company is also in talks with farmers who are interested in growing hemp, which may become their future cash crop.
“We are talking with 30-40 farmers regarding the cooperation. THG has suggested they group together to form a community enterprise to plant hemp and supply it as raw material to an oil extraction factory,” said Dr Boon.
The company and the farmers are scheduled to meet again tomorrow.
In the next four months, it will also become clear what technology THG will adopt for the CBD extraction facility.
“We are in talks with foreign companies in Canada, the Netherlands, Israel and Germany on the right technology as well as hemp strains,” said Dr Boon.
He said THG plans to import at least four strains of hemp through the College of Public Health Sciences under Chulalongkorn University as the college has obtained an import licence from the government.
The Drug Dependence Research Centre under the college will conduct the study on its 14 rai plot in Saraburi with one rai to be used for growing hemp, said Prof Sathirakorn Pongpanich, dean of the college.