Dr Yongyot yesterday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Prince of Songkla University, Phuket Campus, to promote, support and develop research studies on technology and innovations for health tourism.
“The current expansion of the herbal market is in line with the country’s clear policy to promote the herbal industry,” Dr Yongyot said.
The goal is to “develop the stability, prosperity and sustainability of the country by establishing guidelines for promoting the development of Thai herbs Under the National Herbal Action Plan,” he said.
The key goal is becoming a leading exporter of quality medicinal raw materials and herbal products in the ASEAN region, and increase the value of medicinal raw materials and herbal products in the country, he added.
“It also supports the government’s policy on building competitiveness,” he said.
Dr Yongyot also visited the “Herbal Health Tourism Community Enterprise Phuket Province” in Soi Dechanarong, in Phuket Town.
Enterprise President Wandee Petchchu explained that the community enterprise project grows cannabis for medical and scientific benefit.
“Its purpose is to promote and develop medical and scientific cannabis cultivation, to deliver quality cannabis inflorescences to the cannabis raw materials warehouse of the Department of Thai Traditional and Alternative Medicine,” she said.
The raw foliage supplied is to be used to produce Thai traditional medicines that contain cannabis extract, Ms Wandee added.
The community enterprise is rearing its first seedlings, Ms Waandee said.
The plan is to rear 1,608 seedlings a year, or 804 seedlings per production cycle, she said
The seeds are provided by the Department of Thai Traditional and Alternative Medicine, she added.
“There is a lot of research showing that cannabis can be used to make medicines for many diseases, such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Tourette’s, psoriasis, etc., as well as many diseases that modern medicine can’t cure,” Ms Wandee said.
“It can also be used to make a wide variety of products including food and cosmetics. Cannabis has become an economic crop that could make a lot of money,” she added.
“Recognising the medical and economic importance of marijuana, the Thai government has now legalised marijuana for medicinal uses. The roots, leaves, stems and branches of cannabis are no longer classified as a Category 5 drug, so people and agencies have the idea of using cannabis in food business, lots of cosmetics and medicines.
“Therefore, there must be systematic quality control. Growing cannabis for long-term results requires knowledge and research support, which requires personnel with knowledge of agriculture, as well as funds and time, including having real intentions to achieve goals,” Ms Wandee added.