Seeds from Asia for the medical market

Thailand, Singapore and China continue their research on health care uses; seeds from Asia could invade the world market.

Several Asian countries such as Thailand, Singapore are considering measures to decriminalize cannabis for medical use. This could make Asia the world's leading cannabis production center. China remains the main producer of hemp, despite its refusal to legalize. Elsewhere in Asia, India, Sri Lanka and the Philippines are discussing the legalization of the medical cannabis market. The seeds from Asia, are likely to invade the medical market.


A proposal to revise the legal framework in Thailand was submitted last month to Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha, who supported the plan. This allows theadoption of legislation on cannabis for medical purposes by the end of the year.

Buntoon Niyamapha in the Royal Agricultural Station of Pang Da. PHOTO: Jonas Gratzer

Our law firm Thai approved in May a bill to allow further research into the effects of cannabis for medical purposes. The State Pharmaceutical Organization, a state-owned pharmaceutical company, has started clinical trials to produce drugs for four diseases.

"The best cannabis strains in the world 20 years ago were from Thailand, and now Canada has taken over, we can no longer claim that ours are the best in the world" ... "That's why we need to develop our effort to be able to compete again with them. Said Dr. Nopporn Cheanklin. , executive director general of the GPO.

But Southeast Asia is not Canada, which last month legalized cannabis for recreational purposes. The region has some of the most stringent narcotics laws in the world.


Yet a recent case Malaysia seems to show a change of attitude on the part of the authorities. The Malaysian government has begun informal talks in September on revising laws to allow the medical use of cannabis.

In October, Liew Vui Keong, Minister of Legal Affairs, said the country would abolish the death penalty completely, including for drug-related offenses. The minister also said that if "drugs" like cannabis and morphine are used to treat cancer patients, the country can review its legal status.


The city-state of Singapore

Even in Singapore, there are signs of change. Although the city-state imposes severe penalties for cannabis-related offenses, it announced earlier this year a program to release the therapeutic potential of cannabinoids (the chemical compounds found in the cannabis plant).

As part of 25's million dollar research and development program (18,2 $ USD) in synthetic biology, the initiative aims to discover cannabinoid genes for the sustainable production of medical cannabinoids and their derivatives.

Elsewhere in Asia, the governments of India and the Philippines are discussing the legalization of the medical cannabis market, while Sri Lanka is preparing to launch its first national medicinal plant and export to the United States.


While China does not seem to want to do the same for the legalization of cannabis, the world's second largest economy produces more than half of the world's industrial hemp ... This member of the family of cannabis plants contains a high content of cannabidiol, or CBD , a compound with proven anti-inflammatory and anti-anxiety properties.

A growing area in Yunnan Province; where the production of the hemp plant is regulated since 2003.

This substance can help reduce chronic pain, muscle spasms, epilepsy and side effects of chemotherapy. This makes it a major application of hemp in the United States and Europe.

Elsewhere in Asia

Governments of theIndia and Philippines discuss the legalization of the medical cannabis market, while the Sri Lanka is preparing to launch its first planting for national medical use and export to the United States.

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