Cannabis cultivation

From seedling to medicinal product

Cultivation & Processing
of Medical Cannabis

Cannabis cultivation can be done outdoors, in a greenhouse, or in controlled indoor facilities. The chemical composition of cannabis varies significantly depending on the genetics as well as the environmental conditions during cultivation.

Thus, outdoor cultivation and cultivation in greenhouses cause the problem of batch-spanning active ingredient variance as well as increased microbiological contamination. Indoor cultivation, on the other hand, allows control of all growth-determining parameters such as lighting duration and intensity, humidity, temperature and nutrient supply, as well as the possibility of cleanliness via air filters, overpressure and airlock systems. Accordingly, indoor plantations are the only way to produce cannabis in reproducible pharmaceutical quality with consistent chemical composition, and therefore the only approved cultivation method for medical cannabis within Germany.

Another quality-determining factor is the method of plant propagation. Breeding from seeds is not used because the variance between plants would usually be too great. For controlled cloning of C. sativa in the context of medical cultivation, two options are available: vegetative propagation via cuttings or via cell culture from meristem cells (comparable to animal stem cells) of a mother plant. In the case of cutting propagation, repeated cutting of the mother plants, among other things, can lead to virus entry, which is why this type of propagation is suboptimal. Cell culture propagation offers the best conditions for low-germ cannabis plants and ultimately flowers due to sterile working conditions.

The cultivation of medicinal cannabis is subject to the guidelines for Good Agricultural and Collection Practice (GACP). These guidelines ensure high and consistent quality in the cultivation of plant-based raw materials that are further used to produce herbal medicinal products. The GACP guidelines define resources to be used (e.g. personnel, equipment, seeds) and document methods used (e.g. plant protection, harvesting time), thus ensuring the traceability of the cultivation.

For medical cannabis, the post-harvest steps, from trimming to drying and packaging to storage, fall under Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP).

At DEMECAN, the complete cultivation of medical cannabis - from cell culture to flowering - takes place under controlled conditions in closed clean rooms. This prevents contamination by pests or mould spores. The use of purified and filtered irrigation water and controlled fertilizers eliminates exposure to pollutants such as heavy metals. The use of artificial daylight and close control of the environmental parameters such as temperature, humidity and CO2 concentration ensure the production of flowers with a homogeneous content of active compounds. Complex mechanical rapid drying with precise airflow prevents microbiological contamination.

This cultivation concept enables DEMECAN to continuously produce flawless medical cannabis for the best possible patient care, regardless of the season.