A study by Cannatrek and Australia’s national science agency CSIRO into the cultivation of medicinal cannabis has uncovered an environmentally friendly way to cut costs for patients.
The six-month study, funded by a A$50,000 federal government grant, focused on understanding the cannabis plant’s demand for essential nutrients such as nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium.
Results indicated that the application of potassium can be drastically reduced – by up to 50% in specific growing environments – with minimal impact on crop development and yield, saving money and resource load, and reducing environmental impacts.
Cannatrek said the study showed that major sustainability gains can be achieved when bringing evidence-based research to cannabis mineral nutrition.
Founder and CEO Tommy Huppert said: “The medicinal cannabis economy in Australia is currently valued at over $400m and continues to climb at a rapid rate.
“Research that improves manufacturing processes ultimately creates higher quality [product], which is vital for Australia to compete in a global market.
“Until now, scientific literature around medicinal cannabis mineral nutrition has been sparse, and many other cultivators rely on nutrient recipes developed by fertiliser companies.
“This can lead to over-fertilisation of the crop, which can produce environmentally damaging wastage. It also comes at a higher cost for the producer, which has a direct impact on patients.”
Huppert said global supply chain issues and the increasing cost of fertiliser over the last year meant the study results were a welcome step in the right direction for cannabis suppliers in Australia.
He added: “These results support the growth of the Australian cannabis [sector] by generating intellectual property and contributing to industry knowledge.
“We are thrilled to be able to leverage the country’s greatest scientific minds to benefit patients.”