Ora Pharm has been awarded a Callaghan Innovation Grant to develop environmentally friendly, innovative technology for cultivation of medicinal cannabis in New Zealand that will ensure consistent quality, potency, and yield of medicinal cannabis in our unique New Zealand environment.
Products available currently are not specific enough for delivering high quality, high yield medicinal cannabis in the New Zealand environment, as it has a unique growing environment and substrate that requires a nutrient solution to match.
By creating a New Zealand solution for growing medicinal cannabis under local conditions, Ora Pharm will reduce the environmental impact by reducing the volume of raw materials that need to be imported.
This trial will lead to further investigations of more efficient and better growing practices and products. Ora Pharm’s commitment to supporting health and wellness extends to the land. Their facilities are specifically designed to reduce energy and water usage and minimise environmental impact. They draw most of their energy from the sun and collect rainwater from the roofs to help with watering their plants.
Ora Pharm’s innovative R&D will also benefit other businesses in NZ, as many products will be sourced locally rather than globally, providing jobs in rural areas. Ora Pharm will be creating a prototype for commercial applications.
Since medicinal cannabis is a new industry there are currently few products available specifically for cultivators in this sector which are tried and tested over multiple growing cycles. While there are similar plants, none of them react in the same way as cannabis.
Finding the right growing combination will require a creative and unique trial procedure to compare with current industry practice as there are infinite combinations that can be delivered to the plant to meet their growing needs.
The R&D team is led by Andrew Hutchinson, the head grower, who has worked in several horticulture industries and holds a Horticultural science degree from Massey University. Dr Warren King is a Senior Research Scientist with AgResearch in Hamilton with more than 25 years’ experience in Australia and New Zealand. Zoe Reece is the founder and CEO, who brings extensive cannabis industry experience from leading the build of the largest cannabis company in the world and is Deputy Chair of the New Zealand Medicinal Cannabis Council.