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Tapping Science and Innovation to Meet Canada’s New Cannabis Market

Curious about cannabis and its uses? Wondering about trying it again—this time for the medicinal purposes?

Come October 17, Canada will be the first G7 country to nationally legalize recreational marijuana. While the world watches our nation’s foray into the legalization, regulation and production of this historic plant, and the cannabis market opens up to new types of adult consumers, it’s good to know that local forward-thinking companies like Emerald Health Therapeutics are helping to trail-blaze the way.Headquartered in Victoria, B.C., the Emerald executive team draws from decades of experience in life sciences and medical research, ranging from pharmaceuticals to biotechnology. At its core, Emerald aims to deliver cannabis products that are controlledconsistency and accuracy wisesimilar to pharmaceutical products. But in addition to cultivating medicinal and recreational cannabis using standardized growing techniques, the company also oversees cutting-edge research into future cannabis products. “We’re looking to harness cannabis’ science to go beyond traditional dried flower such as capsules and many other future formulations,” says Chris Wagner, Emerald Health Therapeutics CEO.Key to Emerald’s science-based approach is their focus on the Endocannabinoid System, or the ECS. Only discovered in 1988, the ECS plays a major role in promoting homeostasisthe balance of health and healingin all mammals, birds and reptiles. In the human body, the ECS affects cells, tissues and organs, from our brain and immune system to muscles and bones. Essentially a sophisticated cell-signalling system that affects a wide range of functions (think appetite, pain, inflammation, sleep and mood), the ECS is regulated by our bodies’ own endocannabinoids (the system’s neurotransmitters).Poor diet, lack of exercise, stress, environmental toxins and other factors can compromise the ECS. (Indeed, ailments like chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia and migraines have been linked to reduced endocannabinoid activity.) That’s when the ECS and its CB1 and CB2 receptors need a boost, which can be in the form of omega-3-rich foods, dietary supplements, cannabis components and increased physical activity. The ultimate goal: getting back on track with an overall healthy mind-body lifestyle.“In the pharmaceutical industry, you look for the effectiveness and safety of a product,” says Wagner. “Because the endocannabinoid system (ECS) operates on the same idea as insulin, with receptors on cells throughout our body, particularly in our brain, our products must provide controlled and predictable outcomes,” explains Wagner. Tomato plants occupied the Delta, B.C. greenhouse prior to growing cannabis; photo credit: Emerald Health TherapeuticsOn the growing front, Emerald’s facility in Delta (a joint venture with Pure Sunfarms and Village Farms) is converting 1.1 million square feet of greenhouse space into cannabis production. The state-of-the-art facility is on track to yield more than 75,000 kilograms of dried cannabis by the time it hits peak production in 2020.Combining Pure Sunfarms’ decades of large-scale/low-cost agricultural production experience with Emerald’s extensive cannabis expertise, Emerald Health Therapeutics is solidly poised to thrive in the Canadian adult-use market.A market, by the way, that’s estimated to reach $9 billion and 600,000 kilograms in demand over the next few years.Even more curious about cannabis and its many uses? Visit Discuss Cannabis for everything you need to know, from updates and studies to health advice and social impact.