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Release of exclusive hybrid cannabis seeds by Royal Queen Seeds Pro

Royal Queen Seeds Pro believes F1 hybrid seeds are the future of cannabis growing.

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Release of exclusive hybrid cannabis seeds by Royal Queen Seeds

Award-winning, European-based cannabis breeder and seed bank Royal Queen Seeds Pro has released its exclusive first range of F1 hybrid cannabis seeds.

Royal Queen Seeds (RQS) Pro’s internal cannabis F1 hybrid breeding programme has released the first of several F1 hybrids. The company says it believes that F1 hybrid seeds are the future of cannabis growing thanks to their higher yield, high crop uniformity, greater efficiency, improved land use and superior economic scaling.

Global head of R&D at Royal Queen Seeds Pro, Maikel de Bresser, commented: “Alongside our Green Horizon Alliance partners, we have already executed standardised trials comparing classic cannabis seed varieties with their F1 hybrid counterparts.

“The results are impressive, with many tests showing up to double the yield per square metre and higher levels of crop uniformity. The effect on our customers will be more efficient crop management and better ability to predetermine final yields.”

The company highlights that with the growth of the legal market, sustainable product ranges are needed to keep up with demand, and that the concept of F1 hybrids are already present in many crops. RQS Pro’s breeding programme aims to integrate the same proven breeding technologies to significantly improve cannabis viability.

The first seed range will launch in the US state of California, with seeds expected in Q1 of 2022 and RQS Pro will continue building a pipeline of both THC and CBD crops, with their exclusive range of F1 hybrid seeds.

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High THC cannabis cultivation licence issued to Hilltop Leaf

Hilltop Leaf CEO says the licence marks a fundamental milestone for the business.

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High THC cannabis cultivation licence issued to Hilltop Leaf

Hilltop Leaf has been issued a high THC cannabis cultivation licence by Home Office Controlled Drug licensing.

Private Medicinal Cannabis cultivation and extraction business Hilltop Leaf has been issued the licence which will enable the company to undertake cultivation activities with certain schedules of Controlled Drugs: Schedule 1 Cultivation High THC Cannabis.

The licence has been issued in accordance with the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 and its associated Misuse of Drugs Regulations 2001.

Hilltop Leaf CEO, co-founder and director, Hamish Clegg, said: “I would like to thank our incredible multidisciplinary team for the tireless work to create both the Quality Control Systems and the Operating Facilities and Systems to reach this fundamental milestone for our business.

“All of this has been achieved with the help of a much wider support group including our shareholders, contractors and supportive families who have backed us to get this far in our exciting project.

“The next phase of our project takes us to systems validation, research, future project planning and commercial discussions. We will be launching a Series A EIS capital raise to take us to the next level in the coming months.”

Neil Ewart, director, chairman and co-founder of Hilltop, added: “Hilltop has achieved another major milestone. Following our capital raise earlier in the year we have built a robust team to get us to this exciting junction where we move from project construction and planning stages to being a Life Sciences and Pharmaceutical business.

“We strive to be a science-led company and look forward to delivering on our early research phase to lay the key foundations to support our long term commercial ambitions.”

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Adapting to growth in the medical cannabis market

Aleiya Lonsdale, head of marketing at Lab Innovations 2021, looks at why labs will need to become more adaptable to the expected growth in the market.

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Adapting to growth in the medical cannabis market

Expected market growth will need labs to be adaptable.

In July 2021, proposals to liberalise the medicinal cannabis sector were put forward by UK government officials, potentially removing another barrier for a market expected to grow in the coming years. 

Here, Aleiya Lonsdale, head of marketing at Lab Innovations 2021, the largest laboratory event in the UK, looks at why labs will need to become more adaptable to the expected growth in the market.

At the opposite end of the spectrum from recreational use, which is still illegal in the UK, the use of legal cannabis-based products for medicinal use in humans (CBPMs) is expected to be worth £2.3bn by 2024.

The changes to import regulations are an important breakthrough for clinical practice, allowing specialist doctors to prescribe it where there is a clinical need. Potential use cases include adults with aggressive forms of multiple sclerosis (MS) and children being denied access to control epileptic seizures.

More recently, biotechnicians have been experimenting with CBPMs and CBD-derived treatments for COVID-19, to inhibit the cytokine storm initiated when the virus enters the body. It has also been used therapeutically in cancer patients, to reduce chemotherapy-induced nausea, vomiting and chronic pain.

Currently, a limited number of licensed products are available on the market, including Sativex for MS patients, Epidyolex for epilepsy patients and Nabilone for chemotherapy patients.

Despite the change in the law, prescriptions of unlicensed cannabis-based medical products have still been limited as GPs cannot prescribe them; they must be prescribed by a specialist doctor, and even then, only where clinically appropriate. This is also made difficult because the majority of prescriptions are privately funded and are not currently routinely prescribed on the NHS.

As further studies into CBPMs yield the necessary evidence to bring about clinical change, and funding models are developed, it is expected that the industry will see a boom in the market in the coming years. This raises the question, is the laboratory industry ready to adapt to the changes this will require?

Preparing for market booms

Unlike other drugs, medical cannabis refers to a wide variety of products. This includes cannabis-based medical products, but also the more widely available cannabidiol (CBD), hemp oil and other supplements — which are actually categorised as a type of novel food supplement by the UK Food Standards Agency because of their low level of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the active compound found in cannabis.

As such, it will be important that laboratories can effectively bring together the technologies, equipment, processes and expertise to effectively test cannabis-based products for safety and quality.

This might include testing for cannabinoids, such as THC, but also for solvents, pathogens, heavy metals, terpenes, pesticides and fungicides, which can be damaging to human health.

It will be vital that labs can use the right mix of equipment, including gas chromatography, mass spectrometry and high-pressure liquid chromatography (HPLC) machines to respond to industry needs.

Those looking to explore the latest technologies and processes in the laboratory industry can visit Lab Innovations, the UK’s largest annual trade exhibition dedicated to the entire laboratory industry, from November 3-4, 2021, at the NEC in Birmingham. To find out more visit the Lab Innovations website.

Aleiya Lonsdale
Head of marketing
Lab Innovations 2021

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Guernsey receives seven applications for high-THC cultivation licences

Guernsey says that the majority of the applications received so far aim to produce cannabis-based medicinal products.

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Guernsey receives seven applications for high-THC cultivation licences

The State of Guernsey has received seven applications for high-THC cannabis cultivation licences in the two months following its launch.

Seven applications have been put forward to cultivate high-THC cannabis in the State of Guernsey after a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was reached with the UK Home Office in July. 

The licences would allow applicants to cultivate the plant for cannabis-based medicinal products (CBMP), and the government for the States of Guernsey says that the majority of the applications received so far aim to produce these products.

Licences for high-THC cultivation

Any business that wants to cultivate high-THC cannabis in the Bailiwick must make an application to the Bailiwick of Guernsey Cannabis Agency (BGCA), which has been established by the Committee for Health & Social Care and is responsible for reviewing, regulating, inspecting and licensing cannabis businesses.

“The new cannabis licencing system has been welcomed by the industry and I’m pleased to see that the changes the Health and Social Care team have implemented have already attracted seven applications,” commented Deputy Al Brouard, President of the Committee for Health & Social Care. 

“Each will now be thoroughly assessed by the BGCA alongside the Home Office and I look forward to seeing the first licences issued to those that are successful.”

Deputy Neil Inder, President of the Committee for Economic Development, said: “It is highly encouraging to see such a positive response from businesses in just a few months since the MoU was signed. 

“These are the early steps of a promising new sector for the Bailiwick, one which is already attracting interest and investment locally and from overseas. Guernsey is now well placed to remain at the forefront of the cannabis industry, and we will continue to support its development.”

The July development marked a significant step in the development of the cannabis industry in Guernsey, and where previously only licences to cultivate cannabis for CBD products were available.

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