1. Cannabis Tech: Cannabis Aquaponics – Green Relief Is The First Of Its Kind In North America
Big things are happening in the rolling landscape surrounding the industrial city of Hamilton, Ontario. In a 30,000ft subterranean bunker, partially hidden from view thanks to its living grass roof, Green Relief is growing medical marijuana using aquaponics.
As the first licensed grower in North America to adopt cannabis aquaponics on a commercial scale, they are betting on science to solve the growing concerns with energy efficiency and environmental degradation in the industry.
Aquaponics is a farming technique used by the ancient Aztec peoples and the traditional rice paddies of Asia but now applied to many modern crops.
It’s even under investigation by NASA for future missions to Mars.
The Underlying Premise Of Aquaculture
Aquaponics is a closed system cultivation technique, raising fish and plants together within the same closed-loop environment.
What goes into the system stays in the system with each species taking advantage of the characteristics of the other.
If done properly, the system reduces nearly 100 percent of water waste and has little impact on the local environment.
In most commercial examples of aquaponics, farmed fish species, like tilapia, are raised in large fish tanks located in close proximity to hydroponically grown plants.
The wastewater from the fish tanks circulates through the roots of the plants typically with an ebb and flow system.
Green Relief has combined it into a conventional hydroponic cannabis system.
As the water flows through the root systems of the crop, the plants absorb all the nutrients and minerals they need.
The water eventually flushes back into the fish tanks, clean and ready for the next cycle.
The fish, in turn, muddy the waters with nutrient dense waste as they eat and digest their food supply.
Microorganisms convert the aquatic waste into a food source usable by the cannabis plants and the cycle continues, theoretically in perpetuity.
Green Relief Pushing The Envelope Of Sustainable Cannabis Cultivation
Their current annual capacity tops out at 2,700 kg of pesticide-free medical grade cannabis, but with their expansion, they expect to pump out 45,000 kg per year. Under Green Relief’s current model, they are also producing tilapia, although it’s a not-for-profit endeavor. Green Relief is in the business of medical marijuana, not fish farming. Green Relief donates all market-ready tilapia to a local food bank. By Bravo’s estimation, they have provided over 25,000 meals to those in need.Aquaponics requires substantial technical components, scientific understanding, and a comparatively high initial investment in infrastructure. As Green Relief’s co-founder, Warren Bravo, recently explained to Herb “When we told people we were going to be growing cannabis using aquaponics, they said it was impossible.” Today, Bravo and his team have proved the naysayers wrong. They are not only flourishing in the medical cannabis sector, but plans are well underway for the construction of an additional 210,000 facility.
Aquaponics, A Way To Reduce Water Consumption And Environmental Contamination
There are other benefits beyond feeding the needy to the cannabis aquaponic cultivation model.
Bravo estimates their closed-loop system produces 90 percent less water waste than their competitors.
On top of the water sustainability, an aquaponics system like theirs removes the need for chemical fertilizers and harmful fungicides.
Any chemicals added into the system could harm the tilapia, or alternately the cannabis crop.
Aquaponics instead relies on the disease suppression of the natural environment, a diverse microbial environment which not only converts the fish waste into valuable plant nutrients but also prevents the spread of disease throughout the system as a whole.
With recent industry-wide crackdown on pesticide use, including Health Canada implementing mandatory testing requirements, pesticide-free cannabis is in hot demand.
Soon, Green Relief’s aquaponic cannabis will be available in markets around the world.
In May 2018, Green Relief announced a joint venture with two leading cannabis countries in Europe, Ai Fame GmbH and Ai Lab Swiss AG.
Its expected through this partnership that the aquaponic cultivation model pioneered in Hamilton, will spread into Europe.
Green Relief is also expanding their production model at more of the national level, onto far-flung locations like Fogo Island Newfoundland, and British Columbia the heartland of the Canadian industry.
Soon, if the rumors are true, Green Relief may even begin selling aquaponics home-starter kits to help home growers take the guesswork out of the technology.
Aquaponics for cannabis cultivation is no longer a scientific myth.
Green Relief is not only commercially successful, it’s all while staying true to its core value to blend science with sustainability to produce clean, medical grade marijuana.
The technology to combine sustainable farming with hydroponics is out there, and as the growing industry places more pressure on farmland and water tables, aquaponic systems will become an increasingly valuable method of production.
Written by JESSICA MCKEIL – Jessica McKeil is a freelance writer focused on the medical marijuana industry, from production methods to medicinal applications.
2. Mirage News: Australia’s First Medicinal Cannabis Clinic Launches
Cannabis Access Clinics are staffed with GPs and specialists, and support patients who suffer from conditions for which there is some evidence that medicinal cannabis therapies may be beneficial. The clinics work in accordance with TGA guidance on medicinal cannabis, consulting patients with conditions including chronic pain (including cancer pain), chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting in cancer (CINV), multiple sclerosis, epilepsy and other conditions.
Cannabis Access Clinics Medical Director, Dr Sanjay Nijhawan, (MBBS, FRACGP, FACRRM, DIPPDERM(WALES) MHCD(HARVARD) commented, “Our aim is to improve the quality of life for patients with chronic conditions and symptoms, while working within the regulations that the State and Federal governments have put in place for medicinal cannabis“.
The clinic welcomes referrals from GPs or specialists who feel their patients may benefit from medical cannabis treatments, and works with clinicians to provide ongoing monitoring and reporting of the patient’s status.
Cannabis Access Clinics patient, 54-year-old Lisa from Sydney, says, “I suffer from chronic pain due to cancer and have tried conventional medication without much relief.
Now that I have my approval for medicinal marijuana, I can finally try legal medicine under the care of a doctor, without having to worry about what I am taking and how to get it”.
The clinic charges an out-of-pocket fee of $300 for an initial consultation which includes the application to government for approval.
Approval can take up to 4 weeks from application submission date, subject to case complexity.
The clinic does not take walk-in appointments, and only sees patients who have exhausted all conventional therapies for their condition and are likely to be clinically assessed as suitable.
Cannabis Access Clinics is privately owned and has a minor, passive shareholding from the ASX listed venture capital fund MMJ.
Cannabis Access Clinics is not operationally affiliated with any product company and its doctors maintain complete clinical independence from a prescribing perspective.
3. Medical Marijuana Inc News: WHAT IS MICRODOSING? – A LOOK AT THE CONSUMPTION TACTIC THAT IS TAKING OVER MEDICAL MARIJUANA
The “low dose” marijuana consumption strategy is quickly becoming mainstream.
Marijuana’s popularity among American adults is on the rise as more acknowledge its therapeutic benefits and become accepting of its recreational use. With now 30 states having laws permitting medical marijuana, more and more adults are discovering how cannabis can be beneficial for a variety of conditions and symptoms.
A growing trend in cannabis is a consumption tactic called microdosing, which involves taking in small amounts of marijuana throughout the day rather than a single large dose.
You may have heard of microdosing and want to learn more, or perhaps you’re interested in the benefits of cannabis but would prefer to avoid any type of “high.”
Either way, here’s what you need to know about microdosing and how it may benefit you.
What is Microdosing Marijuana?
Microdosing is a consumption technique that involves taking low doses of cannabis throughout the day.
This allows you to experience the natural benefits of cannabis-derived cannabinoids while avoiding the intoxicating effects of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) that can interfere with daily life activities.
THC is the intoxicating cannabinoid that is responsible for the euphoric effects, or “high,” when you consume marijuana.
When THC is consumed in high enough doses, these euphoric effects can come in the form of:
- Slower response time
- Impaired coordination and body movement
- Impaired perception
- Altered sensory awareness
- Impaired memory
By taking small doses of marijuana throughout the day through microdosing, you can maintain low levels of THC, below the amount that will elicit intoxicating side effects or markedly alter your mood, mindset, or physical senses.
Benefits and Effects of Microdosing
Medical marijuana patients have started to utilize microdosing in the treatment efforts of various conditions and symptoms. A recent study of medical marijuana patients revealed that patients were finding microdosing to be particularly beneficial for reducing anxiety and stress and managing depression.
While thousands of studies have investigated the therapeutic properties of cannabis, research into the benefits of microdosing is limited.
Still, there is some clinical research indicating that microdosing marijuana can be beneficial for some medical purposes.
In 2012, researchers found that patients with advanced cancer experienced a greater reduction in pain at a lower dose of THC compared to medium and high doses.
A separate study a couple years later found that lower doses of a synthetic cannabinoid elicited significant improvements in patients with PTSD-associated insomnia, nightmares, and chronic pain.
Most recently, scientists in Germany and Israel found that regular small doses of THC boosted memory performance in older mice, altering their brain chemistry so that they performed various memory tasks nearly as well as younger mice.
How to Microdose Marijuana
If you’re a medical marijuana patient looking to microdose, you have various types of consumption methods and products to choose from.
Experts often recommend products like marijuana tinctures, oils, and edibles.
These marijuana products in general have more precise THC levels, which allows for more exact THC doses.
It’s important to note that individual servings of edibles may contain THC concentrations that are too high for microdosing, which could require that you divide an edible into smaller portions.
There are, however, now a number of edible products available that lend themselves to microdosing — such as mints, chocolates and gummies — that have smaller THC concentrations and can be easily eaten throughout the day.
Vaping or smoking marijuana is also commonly used for microdosing.
When using these inhalation methods for microdosing, you may take one draw or puff, wait five to 10 minutes to feel any effects, and then take another draw or puff if necessary.
These inhalation methods can be challenging for microdosing because it is more difficult to precisely control the amount of THC received with each draw.
Factors such as the strain of marijuana flower used and the length of each inhale can influence how much THC is consumed.
Finding the Microdosing Dose That Works For You
At first it can be challenging to figure out the right THC dosage for microdosing.
The optimal dose is different for everyone, and there is tremendous variance in the amount of THC that will result in a person feeling high.
How THC affects you is influenced by liver metabolism, body fat percentage, genetics of cannabinoid receptors, and personal tolerance levels.
When figuring out the microdosing that works for you, the key is to take it slow and steady.
Begin with a very low dose, monitor how you feel, and increase your intake gradually as needed.
The goal is to find the dose that provides the most minimal noticeable effects.
Here’s a step-by-step way to determine your optimal microdosing dose:
- Begin by taking 1 milligram of THC.
- Monitor how calm and comfortable your body feels and whether you notice any effect.
Keep in mind that inhaling cannabis will elicit effects in minutes, but the effects from ingesting edibles can take up to an hour.
- If you’ve felt no effect at all, increase your dose by 1 milligram.
Again, monitor how you feel.
- Repeat the process over the next few days.
Through this process, you’ll be able to determine the optimal dose for microdosing for you.
For most, the ideal dose falls somewhere between 1 and 3 milligrams of THC.
It is also important to consider the strain of marijuana you’re using.
Indica strains are usually associated more with sedative properties, while sativa strains can be more energizing.
You can learn more about the differences between the two HERE.
Learn More about Marijuana
As the use and acceptance of medical marijuana continues to grow, regularly new products are being introduced and consumption techniques are being discovered.
You can learn more about medical marijuana through our Cannabis 101 page.