BANGKOK — Rangsit University on Tuesday launched what it claims to be Thailand’s first medical cannabis research institution.
At a press conference held on campus today, Rector Arthit Urairat said the institution’s main objective is to develop high quality medical marijuana that is affordable for the general public. He said the university has recently been allowed to cultivate marijuana to find or improve strains best suited for medicinal research.
“If we use a strain that contains only slight amounts of cannabis compounds, the extraction process will be very expensive and take longer amounts of time,” he said. “We will find the best strain to maximize production and affordable prices.”
Arthit added that the university’s plantation isn’t meant for mass production, with capacity for about only 50 cannabis plants.
Pharmacist Surang Leelawat, director of the center, said its researchers are now studying possible uses of cannabis extracts for treating cancer patients.
Prior to the legalization of medical cannabis, Rangsit University was the only institution with authorization to conduct research on marijuana. In April last year, the university’s researchers unveiled an oral marijuana spray that can be used to relieve pain suffered by patients with cancer or multiple sclerosis.
Several other institutions have initiated medical marijuana-related projects after the law was officially enacted in February. The Government Pharmaceutical Organization unveiled the country’s first legal marijuana plantation days after the law came into effect. It said yesterday that the plants will be ready for medicinal extraction in July.
The Department of Medical Services has approved short training courses for both modern and traditional medicine practitioners who wish to legally prescribe marijuana for patients. Officials said this year’s seminars will be held monthly until September, with the first sessions beginning next week.