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Medicines to be produced from seized weed

national May 21, 2019 01:00

By THE NATION

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OFFICE of the Narcotics Control Board (ONCB) says it will be ready to distribute the 24 tonnes of cannabis now in its possession to registered institutions that will use it as the raw material for producing cannabinoid drugs.



ONCB secretary-general Niyom Termsrisuk disclosed yesterday that since medical-grade cannabis from certified plantations was not yet ready for harvesting, the Public Health Ministry’s central committee has okayed the distribution of seized cannabis to approved organisations. 

The weed taken from drug traffickers will, for now, be used to produce medicine until the certified cannabis is harvested.

However, Niyom said the seized lot of cannabis will first need to be examined to ensure the herb is not contaminated with hazardous substances such as pesticides, heavy metals or harmful microbes, which would make them unsafe for producing medicines. 

The presence of the hazardous substances could also endanger patients.

However, he said, ONCB has received assurances from related agencies about the safety of the seized cannabis.

The seized marijuana has been tested for hazardous substances by the Police Forensics team, while experts from the Public Health Ministry are now working on setting out safe limits for each hazardous substance in cannabis.

“We are sure we can hand over the cannabis in our possession to registered organisations for producing cannabinoid medicines by the end of this month,” Niyom said.