Thai authorities have quietly allowed scientists to put together the country’s first-ever cannabis laboratory , one of the few legal facilities of its kind in Asia.
The lab, at a school north of Bangkok, Rangsit University, is finally being unveiled. On a guided tour, Thai media was given access to more than a dozen pharmacists, medical researchers and agricultural specialists who are helping build the Thai medical cannabis industry from scratch.
Importing marijuana to Thailand — even for medical purposes — is still illegal. Researchers have had to work with cannabis confiscated by police and supplied via Thailand’s anti-narcotics bureau. In other words, drug users and traffickers may have inadvertently contributed to the advancement of medicine.
Earlier this year, the scientists were handed about 40 kilo-sized bricks of weed. Most of it was contaminated by pesticides, heavy metals and other residues. But there was enough usable stock to create quality oils laden with Tetrahydrocannabinol, known as THC, which the researchers have practiced distilling in their labs.
Expect some flavorful THC-infused products
The scientists aim to make life more bearable for people suffering through chemotherapy, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis and chronic pain. They’ve been creative in coming up with ways to administer doses of THC.
Prototypes presented so far include THC-infused wafers, massage oils (which can be rubbed on the stomach) and a nasal spray.
But the most inventive prototype is a flavorful powder that combines marijuana with signature Thai ingredients: sandalwood, ginger and three types of pepper.
The powder is consumed as a liquid after mixing it with coconut oil. This will produce a peppery drink that, according to the researchers, also has “floral and sweet” flavors of coconut.
Thailand will be home to Asia’s first ‘ganja studies’ curriculum
The college hosting the cannabis lab, Rangsit University, is putting together what they call a “ganja studies” program taught by professors specializing in pharmaceuticals, medicine and cutting-edge agriculture. (In the Thai language, “ganja” isn’t slang. It’s the formal word for cannabis.)
At this point, the curriculum is envisioned as a minor, not a major, though demand is very high. Several dozen students have already tried to land spots on the enrollment list even though the program may take more than a year to roll out.
As the program is more fully built up, researchers will start creating their own unique cannabis strains that don’t rely on confiscated marijuana from the police, says Thanapat Songsak, dean of the university’s College of Pharmacy.
Source & full article at https://www.pri.org/stories/2019-08-06/thailand-betting-big-cannabis-visit-its-first-legal-lab