Agreement on a research project to identify the best production conditions of the cannabis plant

Cannabis Sativa L produces a large range of active substances with great pharmacological interest. Genetic improvement has made it possible to fix genetic traits associated to the production of specific constituents, and in particular of individual cannabinoids. Products destined for pharmacological use must be highly standardised as per specific regulations: this means that it is essential to control all factors that could influence variations in the productivity of Cannabis Sativa.

The conditions in which the plants are grown play an essential role in ensuring their maximum productivity and a constant active substance content. Thus we created artificial growing areas in which light, temperature and moisture are kept under control. By optimising the growing techniques and using balanced fertilisers, specialised businesses reached a tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) yield that would have been unthinkable even a few years ago.

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The purpose of the clones selected by CRA-CIN is to produce single cannabinoids, but their productivity when grown in an artificial environment in conditions that are optimum for the Cannabis Sativa plant is unknown, especially the length of their growth cycle. The base protocol for the cultivation of Cannabis Sativa plants are the “Best practices for the cultivation of medicinal plants” In order to define the complete cultivation technique – composed of specific environmental parameters, the availability of nutrients, the irrigation frequency and the additives that can be used to keep the plants in the best conditions of health – we plan to agree with Phytoplant on a specific experimental protocol for each of the clones (genotypes). We will initially use clones CRo-13 and CRo-16 whose characteristic is a height compatible with the space available between the tables and the ceiling lamps of the grow room. We will also evaluate specimens with a longer development cycle (CRo-4 and CRo-5) to ascertain whether there is a connection between the duration of the growth cycle and cannabinoid content. The number of clones necessary for the collection of the required experimental data will be grown according to the doses, the types, and the mode of administration.

The room used contains 12 tables of adjustable height, on which 12 plants can be grown. Each table contains 4 different drip feeder lines that will enable the distribution of 4 different nutrient solutions. During the plants’ development cycle, environmental parameters (temperature and humidity) will be regularly monitored via a data logger. When the plants are near maturity we will collect samples which will be analysed with a chromatograph to evaluate the concentration of the substances under review (cannabinoids and terpenes). Once the optimum moment has been identified, all plants will be harvested with the collection of biometric parameters (height, stem diameter, colour of leaves). Plants will be dried and the other production parameters will be collected (biomass weight, proportion of flowers and stalks). 

A sample of sufficient size to validate the assumptions will be analysed for its chemical components and the concentration of chemical traces and heavy metals. The productivity of the different clones will be compared, and the relevant cost of energy and other production factors may be recorded to evaluate their incidence on the final production cost. The expected result is the definition of growing protocols for the Cannabis Sativa clones selected by CRA-CIN and the evaluation of the effects on these plants of the various products selected by Phytoplant.

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