This is Part II of a special series on growing medical cannabis in Texas. Read Part I here.
At Compassionate Cultivation, we are advancing our product development to benefit patients who are part of the Texas medical cannabis program. Providing patients effective, rigorously tested cannabis oil medicine has been our mission since we opened our doors in February 2018.
In a previous blog, I discussed why we started a cannabis breeding project and the early successes we’ve had in creating a new genetic strain of the cannabis plant that’s rich in cannabidiol (CBD) and is a strong, vigorous grower with impressive yields.
We call the new strain Waterloo, an homage to the early days of the Texas republic. Waterloo was the name of the 1830s settlement that would eventually become the state capital of Austin.
The Texas medical program is still in its relative infancy, and there could be changes coming in the 2019 legislative session. Regardless of what happens in coming months, we will continue to focus on providing top-quality cannabis oil medicine to patients, and advance our collective knowledge about the cannabis plant.
I wanted to take a look at what’s ahead for medical cannabis, and give some inside perspective on the Texas medical cannabis program, as I’ve been here since Day One and literally planted the first seeds for what would become the cannabis oil medicine Compassionate Cultivation provides to patients throughout the state.
Future Trends in Cannabis Production
To date, more than 120 phytocannabinoids—a certain class of chemical compounds—have been identified in cannabis. In addition, the plant contains many other compounds known as terpenes and flavonoids. We need more research into how these compounds interact with human endocannabinoid system (ECS), both on their own and in concert, and that research will no doubt affect how new strains are bred.
I expect the targeted breeding of medicinal plants to soon be a widespread industry practice, especially as we learn more about other cannabinoids—such as cannabigerol (CBG), cannabidivarin (CBDV) and tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV), among others—that seem to have health benefits.
Down the road Compassionate Cultivation hopes to develop a line of full-spectrum cannabis oils that incorporate terpenes, flavonoids and other compounds.
There’s been a trend in cannabis breeding that emphasizes “how high can we go” in terms of cannabinoid ratios, particularly with THC, but there is a biological limit to how much cannabinoid content a strain can contain.
People need to understand that healthy cannabis plants contain various amounts of terpenes and cannabinoids, which the plant does not use in its growth process. The plant also needs to have room for vital components required to sustain life. If you’re seeing claims that a certain strain has more than 30 percent CBD content by dry weight mass, you should be skeptical; scientific analysis of 1,200 lab test results for cannabis grown commercially in Washington state showed that at a maximum, plants contained less than 30 percent of a given cannabinoid by dry weight if all other terpene and cannabinoid content was negligible.
An Inside View of the Texas Medical Cannabis Industry
You hear stories about researchers traveling deep into the rainforest in search of miraculous medicinal plants, when all along, cannabis has been here right in front of us. It’s a powerful plant, and we are committed to taking its medicinal properties to the next level.
When looking at the nascent days of the Texas medical cannabis program, we’ve actually been fortunate in that we were able to start slow and conservative, with a focus on physician involvement in crafting patient treatment plans and monitoring outcomes. The nature of the Texas program has really given us the time to make a pure, consistent medical product that’s efficacious for many patients with intractable epilepsy.
My work for Compassionate Cultivation is the most rewarding that I have experienced—I truly feel I have found my calling. Seeing patients whose quality of life has been dramatically improved by the work we are doing is deeply gratifying.
The development of the Waterloo strain is a watershed moment for Compassionate Cultivation, but it’s just the start. We are driven to use our science and agronomy skills to advance our medicine to the benefit of patients across Texas.