With the introduction of “Brazos,” a new and proprietary cannabis cultivar bred in-house at our seed-to-sale facility in the Austin area, Compassionate Cultivation continues to break new ground in serving qualifying patients across Texas.
Why Create New Cannabis Cultivars?
Our cultivation team has created a cutting-edge breeding program which enables us to design original cultivars. Guided by the medical community through accredited research, our breeding efforts target specific cannabinoid and terpenoid compositions for desired ratios and profiles for our patients all while maintaining compliance with the Compassionate Use Program in Texas. The breeding program’s goal is to produce proprietary cultivars that meet patients needs and offer our cultivation team new genetics to work with that are best fit for our cultivation environments.
With the recent expansion of the Texas Compassionate Use Program (CUP), a much larger pool of Texas patients is now eligible for medical cannabis. The list of qualifying conditions now includes all forms of epilepsy and other seizure disorders; multiple sclerosis (MS); spasticity; amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS); autism; terminal cancer; and incurable neurodegenerative conditions such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and Huntington’s disease. This expansion allows potentially many thousands more patients to access medical cannabis.
To keep pace with increased demand, we need healthy plants that will thrive and produce robust harvests. So in addition to breeding chemovars that match program, prescriber and patient needs, we design cultivars for hardiness, large-scale cultivation potential and increased yield.
Like Waterloo, the new cultivar’s name “Brazos” is a callback to Texas history. The Brazos River divides East and West Texas, and Washington-on-the-Brazos is a state historic site. Waterloo was the original name of the 1830s settlement that would become the city of Austin.
To create Brazos, we crossed two cannabis cultivars that are rich in the non-intoxicating compound cannabidiol (CBD). Studies have shown non-intoxicating CBD can offer symptom relief for numerous neurological conditions, including epilepsy, spasticity related to multiple sclerosis and cerebral palsy, and more.
Here’s how our Vice President of Operations, Taylor Kirk, explains this idea:
“Since the inception of our breeding program we have focused on creating chemovars for our patients specific needs and cultivars that offer our cultivation team world-class genetics to work with. When we created Waterloo we set out to develop a vigorous, high-yielding plant with a chemical profile well suited for people with epilepsy. Brazos is another cultivar bred for those patients as well as future patients that can benefit from these similar yet different chemovars. We plan to continue to develop chemovars that in the future will give patients and their physicians a choice for targeted treatment as well as be able to offer different varieties so that rotation is possible.”
Similarly, certain “purebred” cannabis cultivars may contain many of the characteristics we want, but those traits are accompanied by problems such as sparse yields or vulnerability to disease. The plants need to have a strong constitution and a stable gene line, both of which can be achieved through careful breeding. Like our first original cultivar, Waterloo, Brazos produces plants with a denser structure, which results in a higher yield per square foot of bench space.
Chemovars and the Terpene Linalool
A growing body of scientific research is focusing on the hundreds of individual chemical compounds of cannabis—such as cannabinoids, terpenes and flavonoids—and the impacts that these compounds have on their own and when they work in concert, which is known as the “entourage effect.” As researchers learn more about the interplay of these plant compounds within the body, it’s broadening the understanding of the anti-inflammatory, analgesic, anxiolytic and other properties of cannabis. And this is opening doors to the creation of cannabis chemovars.
A cultivar’s terpene profile also holds promise in medical applications. Simply put, terpenes are organic compounds found in all plants that provide signature scents and have other properties. A common example is limonene, found in oranges, limes and other citrus (and also certain cannabis strains). In addition to having high CBD content, Brazos contains significant quantities of a terpene also found in lavender called linalool, which some studies show has anti-convulsant as well as anti-anxiety and pain-relieving properties.
A patient who receives moderate relief from one type of CBD medicine might have an even better outcome with medicine made from a different genetic chemovar that has a different terpene profile. That’s why we’re so focused on developing robust plants with new chemovars, and why breeding and genetic innovation are central to our mission: We know that the best genetics will be the ones we develop ourselves, and that by creating original chemovars, this will allow us to make the most effective medicine possible for the patients we serve.
We believe the new cultivars we’re developing could have life-changing potential for hundreds of thousands of patients in Texas—and beyond as we help contribute to the scientific understanding of the potential medical applications of specialized cannabis cultivars.