The Thai government earlier announced that CBD could be used in foods, with at least 30 per cent concentration by weight, while the psychoactive component tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) should not be more than 0.2 per cent.
Since then, companies have been jumping on the bandwagon. Amado Thailand last year launched a hemp seed oil capsule said to be rich in omega while Tipco last year told us that it was exploring opportunities in CBD foods, beverages, and herbal products.
Lifestar, the health supplement subsidiary of Thai media firm RS Group, said that its CBD krill oil supplement sold under the brand Well U, was targeted at adults facing knee-related problems. The company has been selling food supplements for over five years via the home shopping channel.
“We found out that the ageing society coupling with the change in the lifestyles has created a huge demand for the products that can offer the total solution to knee-related problems.
“Our data analytics revealed that in the past two years, more than 30 per cent of our customers on the commerce platforms are interested in supplements or innovations that support their knee joints; the trend is also rising every year. Such interest stemmed directly from ageing society, thus became one of the inspirations for our new well u product,” Pornpan Techarungchaikul, CEO of Lifestar, told NutraIngredients-Asia.
“Consumers want to reduce pain and inflammation…We found research that cite the benefit of omega-3 and CBD working together to reduce pain and relax the strained muscle, and this marks the start of our idea of mixing CBD with ingredients that offer high quality omega-3,” she added.
As the daily maximum amount of CBD permitted in Thailand is capped at 0.03mg, the company thus decided to add in ingredients such as krill oil to increase its potency.
Each capsule therefore also contains 100mg of EPA and DHA from krill oil, each capsule also contains flax seed oil, avocado oil, natural perilla seed oil, refined sunflower oil, sea buckthorn oil, vitamin D3, and turmeric extract.
According to Techarungchaikul, krill oil was selected over fish oil as studies have shown that the former, which exist in the form of phospholipids, was better absorbed by the body, as compared to the latter, which exist in the form of triglycerides.
Other ingredients such as turmeric, sunflower and sea buckthorn oil were used since they are rich in antioxidants, while avocado oil could help promote collagen building.
The CBD used in the product is extracted from the hemp flowers.
“The CBD supplement market is still in an early stage, there will be a lot of players coming in to attract consumers to buy their products. However, any product that has hemp or cannabis in their formulas will be tightly controlled by the Thai FDA, and hence, the process will be strictly monitored, and the approval process will be quite time-consuming,” she added.
The product will be sold via the online and telemarketing operations of RS Mall – the company’s platform selling health and wellness product from the end of May. It will also be available in drug stores and Boots pharmacies across Thailand later down the road.
She also acknowledged the need for consumer education, which the company plans to conduct via channel 8, digital tv, cool radio station, and online channels.
New products pipeline
Lifestar plans to introduce new CBD products every quarter.
“We have plans to roll out CBD products every quarter to reach different target groups and to generate income, such that the commerce business of RS Group can grow sustainably,” Techarungchaikul said.
She added that what was important when registering hemp and cannabis products with the Thai FDA was stating clearly the source of the raw materials, as well as production control processes that follow the law.
Last year, the company launched Multi Oil plus Hemp Seed Oil, a product that contains hemp seed oil, other natural extracts.
Thailand law updates
On the other hand, the Thai FDA is allowing the public to grow cannabis plants and hemp for home use without having to seek permission from the authorities from June 9.
This is following the removal of both plants from the category 5 narcotics list.
However, extracts containing more than 0.2 per cent of THC will still be recognised as a category 5 narcotic substance.
Also, the public will no longer require permission to import cannabis seeds or any other parts of the plant from June 9.