Doctor Witoon Danwiboon, Director of Government Pharmaceutical Organization and Assoc. Prof. Charnchai Panthongviriyakul M.D., KKU President signed an MOU for medical marijuana production
July 12, 2019, 11:30 a.m. at Government Pharmaceutical Organization (GPO), Doctor Witoon Danwiboon, GPO Director and Assoc. Prof. Charnchai Panthongviriyakul M.D., Acting KKU President and Dean of Faculty of Medicine signed an MOU for research collaboration for development of medical products from cannabis extract.
The MOU between Government Pharmaceutical Organization (GPO) and Khon Kaen University is aimed at developing and carrying out research on medical products from cannabis extracts, which will become innovation and technology in various forms of modern medicine, that are easy to use, efficient, and suitable for many diseases. The medicines will include rectal suppository, transdermal patches, and oral film patches and pharmacological technology development, preclinical study and clinical studies related to the development of medical products or drugs from marijuana extracts. The collaboration includes registration of drug products so that those patients who find it necessary to use these products will be treated with medical-graded quality products or drugs.
Doctor Witoon Danwiboon, Director of Government Pharmaceutical Organization explained that at present GPO has carried out cultivation of marijuana and the flowers have been collected and dried. The operation now reaches the extracting stage to produce medical-graded cannabis oil extract. The latest news is the stipulation of the concentration of cannabidiol CBD oil for each formula so that each will suit treatment of different diseases. The extraction technology used is also of high efficiency and hence can yield greater amount of CBD oil from 2,500 bottles to 10,000 bottles, with the higher amount in THC formula.
During the end of July and in August, the extracts will be distributed from Department of Medicine to hospitals where CBD is under service. There are special research studies for a case-by-case basis or SAS and treatment of patients through in-depth research that covers all research procedures. Treatment in other approaches will also be available for patients requiring treatment by cannabis if there is medical indication, but only under doctor’s prescription and at hospitals authorized by FAO.
“I have to restate that application of cannabis extract in medical purposes is not a treatment alternative; it is used only when the standard approach does not work. CBD oil will be produced in 3 formulae, the first one with higher THC than CBD, the second formula with higher CBD than THC, and the third formula with THC and CBD at the ratio of 1:1, all of which are based on safety. All bottles produced must be of similar consistency and efficacy. After collection of cannabis flowers from the first lot of 140 trees, GPO will clear the plot for the second cultivation lot, which is expected to yield the extract at the end of the year.”
Doctor Witoon continued to say that Phase 2 will be half industrial implementation, the plot will be expanded in both indoor and greenhouse cultivation. The cultivars will also be improved both for Thai cultivar and mixed cultivars so that suitable elements can be produced. The tree can be grown in Thailand and it is expected that the products can be increased to 150,000 – 200,000 bottles. The cultivation is planned to begin at the beginning of 2020.
GPO director said that collaboration with Khon Kaen University will be in the form of research for development and production of various types of cannabis extracted products besides CBD oil. The other products are aimed at ease of use, more efficiency and suitability to several diseases. They will be produced by means of pharmaceutical technologies. In addition, the shelf-life and clinical studies will be carried out along with the application with patients of different groups of diseases, where GPO has already conducted research with Department of Medicine. The raw materials left over from the production will be used to the fullest extent under other related research. It is expected that adequate information will be obtained in order to certify the product qualities and registration.
Besides, related academic and personnel development and management will be carried out together. The aim is towards having quality cannabis medical-graded products affordable by Thai people.
Assoc. Prof. Charnchai Panthongviriyakul M.D., Acting KKU President and Dean of Faculty of Medicine said that Khon Kaen University has followed up the information related to cannabis for 4-5 years. KKU is well prepared for this collaboration with 5 faculties including Faculty of Agriculture that will be responsible for cultivation and development of cultivar; Faculty of Pharmaceutical Science will be responsible for modern style extraction; Faculty of Science will carry out extraction and research on other cannabis elements than THC and CBD; Faculty of Medicine will research on the use of cannabis products in human; and Faculty of Veterinary Medicine will develop the remaining flowers from medical extraction called zerobase into animal feed.
Prof. Dr. Bang-orn Sripanitkulchai from Faculty of Pharmaceutical Science and a member of the Committee for Development of Cannabis for Medical Purposes of Khon Kaen University said that the new extraction of cannabis will cover products such as rectal suppository, transdermal patches, and oral film patches. These have already been produced by KKU Faculty of Pharmaceutical Science from other herbs. Therefore, when GPO has produced the extract from cannabis, production of those medical products can be done right away with the amount and doses stipulated to match treatment of each disease. The rectal suppository will harden and release the drug, therefore will not stain the patient, and the drug will not go through digestion in the liver, making the patient receive the entire drug. The dose can be stipulated and the side-effect can be minimized. The oral film patches will held lessening risk from CBD oil which sometimes makes it hard for the patient to know what dose and the number of drops.
Prof. Dr. Bang-orn said that after production of these new drugs, they will be experimented on clinically with Faculty of Medicine at KKU. It is expected that one year after this, the products will be available. The extracts by GPO to be tested in experimental animals will undergo effects from pharmacology such as brain effect of Alzheimer or culture of cholagiocarcinoma.
Prof. Dr. Monchai Duangjinda, Dean of Faculty of Agriculture and Acting Vice President for Research and Academic Services said that cannabis can be grown both by small and large greenhouse systems and in the 2-rai outdoor plot with fence and safety guard. Now, this is under request for cultivation. Besides, Thai and mixed cultivars will be developed in order to obtain the key elements required so that import can be decreased. The cultivation will be a learning center as well.
[ Thai ]