Zeacann's crops pass the test
Updated: Sep 10, 2021
Zeacann's founders have grown multiple crops under licence from the Ministry of Health, including imported genetics from Amsterdam-based T.H.Seeds and local genetics incorporated into Zeacann's cultivation program.
New lab tests performed on the crops show the team knows how to grow, and is capable of producing flowers that pass almost all the tests - using standard off the shelf growing equipment.
"The lab results have vindicated our approach to cultivation," said Zeacann co-founder Chris Fowlie. "We wanted to research if medicinal grade cannabis could be produced at a reasonable cost-structure using standard horticultural equipment - and yes, now we think we can do it."
Using standard equipment is a great way to keep production costs down, which Mr Fowlie has noted flows on to patients as the price of the medicine.
"Other cannabis license holders are using investor funds to build expensive specialised facilities and install costly equipment they may never use," said Zeacann co-founder Thom Hooker. "These lab results are exciting as they show growers can produce cannabis, following our procedures, that will be medicinal grade. Anything else would need to be destroyed - a costly mistake for cannabis farmers."
"We are thankful to Auckland University of Technology for providing premises for us to conduct this important research," said Mr Fowlie. "We have already shared some findings with AUT's postgraduate paper and hope to publish additional findings in future"
Zeacann has grown several strains of imported cannabis as well as formerly-illicit local strains, including NZ cup winners Te Kakariki, Super Lemon Haze, and one purported to be the legendary Te Puke Thunder.
The tests, conducted by Hamilton-based Hill Laboratories, assessed flower samples against the New Zealand Minimum Quality Standard for medicinal cannabis ingredients and products.
These standards include residues of heavy metals, pesticides, aflatoxins, Ochratoxin A, foreign matter, and microbial contamination.
Zeacann's samples passed all, with the exception of microbial limits. New Zealand's regulators have been criticised for choosing a microbial limit that is at odds with the limits taken by other countries.
New Zealand's MQS is modeled on the European Pharmacopoeia (Ph. Eur.), which allows both an almost-zero level and a more realistic level.
Regulators can choose which level to follow, and both are consistent with the Ph Eur, however every other country has chosen the higher level while New Zealand is alone in going for almost-zero. This should change so we are consistent with other countries.
While challenges remain for producing medicinal grade cannabis at a low cost structure, not least achieving the very tough microbial levels, this promising research and lab results show Zeacann is on the right track.