The Office of Narcotics Control Region 7 has given the go-ahead for 8 villages in Bang Saphan Noi District to farm the tropical deciduous tree Kratom.
The pilot project will see the villages in the Chang Raek sub district officially recognised as a special relief area for planting and consuming Kratom for research.
The aim of the project is to allow people in that area to have an income from the harvesting of kratom for commercial sale to pharmaceutical companies. Some of the kratom will also be used by Mahidol University for research projects.
The news comes after Thailand’s Narcotics Control Board last year relaxed the prohibition laws on the cultivation of kratom, which had been illegal since 1943.
Kratom, known scientifically as Mitragyna speciosa, has long been used as a traditional medicine to treat pain, fever, dysentery and diarrhoea.
Across Thailand, a total of 135 villages and communities in 10 provinces have been selected for the pilot project to cultivate kratom.