Thailand is not the first country to legalize the cultivation and sale of cannabis and hemp for recreational purposes, but it takes a well-planned approach and preparation to keep people safe.
To market the crops, the seller must have the proper training and know-how, to offer the consumer the real benefit and minimize the damage.
Unarin Kitpaiboonthawee, the owner of Southeast Asia’s largest greenhouse hemp farm, Cannabiz Way, said she spent 3 years researching and finally got her cultivation license a year ago. She is now in the middle of her first harvest.
“We need to differentiate between cannabis and hemp, and between CBD and THC. Today we consider them all the same. What really affects mental health, brain function and self-control is THC, which must be strictly controlled.”
Unarin said she uses an imported strain because it contains a higher level of cannabidiol or CBD, and much less tetrahydrocannabinol or THC than Thai strains. The local hemp strain has been used for making fabrics for decades, while the local cannabis, widely known as “Thai Stick”, contains too high a level of THC.
Thailand’s Food and Drug Administration allows cannabis with a THC content of no more than 0.2% by weight, a level that Unarin says does not make people “high” in any way.
She thinks legalizing crops is the right thing for Thailand. However, the public, especially people who put cannabis in the food, drink or beauty products they sell, need to be more aware of its content.
Thailand is ready or not, it is already legalized. “So now it’s about educating the public about what can and can’t be used, and what should and shouldn’t be used. So today people need to know the difference between THC and CBD in hemp and cannabis. Since this is happening now, society needs to be educated, not banned (from using it). Banning will force people again to stay in the shadows,” Unarin explained.
The hemp grower owner explained that to add the medical benefits of these herbs to the food or drink, it is not necessary to use the flower. CBD, the beneficial part of cannabis and hemp, is also found in its leaves, stems, stems, and roots.
She also sees that in the future, hemp seed oil has great potential to become a very important economic product. Right now, its value remains low, which means most people overlook the seed and focus on the flower instead.
Cannabis flower, which was only legalized on June 9, typically contains a high level of THC, and Unarin suggests not using just this part unless recommended and supervised by a medical professional.
Just 7 days after legalization, Thailand’s Ministry of Public Health issued a ministerial regulation classifying cannabis flowers as a controlled herb, hoping to help allay concerns about their recreational abuse.
Another thing the government needs to consider is pardoning people who grew cannabis for medical research before it was legalized. Unarin said it was like an amnesty, indicating that what they had done so far was not wrong. And I hope those who have researched the use of cannabis and hemp will help educate the public on how to use crops appropriately.
Another challenge that Thailand may soon face is how to regulate cannabis tourism. How will the country distinguish between those who come to Thailand for medical treatment and those who come for the recreational aspect, and should Thailand be clearer on zoning and controlling use?
“News has spread that Thailand has legalized marijuana. The reality is that it is not completely free from regulation. What is happening now is a short period that has not been fully controlled. But there will be more regulations every day.”
By Tulip Naksompop Blauw
Cannabis consumption in food and beverages