Ready for ‘Cannabis 2.0’ with proven approach, partnerships and innovation

The unique perpetual harvest technology used in the 450,000-square-feet advanced greenhouse in Niagara allows CannTrust to efficiently produce grade A dried flower.  SUPPLIED

The unique perpetual harvest technology used in the 450,000-square-feet advanced greenhouse in Niagara allows CannTrust to efficiently produce grade A dried flower. SUPPLIED

In this dynamic time, with frequent announcements of new players coming online and established companies pursuing expansion plans, how do Canada’s licensed cannabis producers stay ahead of the curve? For Brad Rogers, president of CannTrust, the motto is: “Go where the puck is headed, not where it’s been.”  

This approach – enhanced by CannTrust’s capacity for research and innovation – has served the company well. “Like any industry, innovation is the key to success in the cannabis business,” Rogers says. “Those who really understand the opportunities in this space are the ones who are well down the path to developing the next generation of products.”

CannTrust grows its standardized cannabis at its Ontario facilities. The unique perpetual harvest technology used in the 450,000-square-feet advanced greenhouse in Niagara allows CannTrust to produce grade A dried flower more efficiently than it did in the indoor hydroponic facility in Vaughan (60,000 square feet), which is now a manufacturing centre of excellence.

 “We started as Canada’s only pharmacist-founded medical cannabis producer. For us, quality, consistency and low cost have been the hallmarks of participation in this market,” says Rogers. 

Having been licensed by Health Canada to produce medical cannabis since 2014, CannTrust established a reputation for rigidly standardized products, which inspired trust from the medical community, believes Rogers. “We have a label claim on every single product that we provide to our customer base. Doctors know and trust that, because they can dose, titrate and gauge efficacy,” he says. 

Having a standardized label claim changed the conversation with doctors considerably, Rogers says, adding that the number of customers on the medical side is currently 46,000 and is expected to grow to 100,000 by the end of 2018.

This position has allowed CannTrust to focus on research and innovation, including the development of a broad range of products, from extracts to dried flower. One innovation of note is the market’s only vegan hard shell capsule. Rogers says this product resonates with practitioners and consumers who prefer it to gelatin-based capsules, which are made from animal byproducts.

Other developments are coming out of CannTrust’s partnership with Apotex, Canada’s largest generic drug manufacturer. Examples are enteric-coated time-release tablets, fast-acting sublingual variations and sprays.

CannTrust is also looking forward to 2019 and beyond, having perfected nanotechnology that reduces particle size, enabling easy mixing of CBD/THC in liquids. Once legalized, CannTrust will be able to leverage this technology in everything from beverages and edibles to health and beauty products.  

Forging strong international ventures, CannTrust recently completed a partnership agreement with Danish LP Stenocare with the plan to develop and build a full cultivation and production facility. In addition, CannTrust is shipping to Australia and establishing distribution partnerships in several other countries. 

Since the cannabis market worldwide is estimated to be up to $180 billion, Rogers believes that this is a market opportunity with lots of room to grow for companies with the right people, processes and technologies. 

Building on its well-entrenched medical approach to product development, a rapidly growing customer base and a creative eye for soon-to-be important markets in the cannabis space, CannTrust is ready for October 17. 

Exploring solutions for Canada’s companion animals

An important area of cannabis product development is veterinary medicine. While veterinary cannabis use is currently not approved by Health Canada, there is wide interest from pet owners and veterinarians to accelerate the research and development of cannabis-based treatments.

Canadian pet owners spend around $7 billion annually on their companions. In recognition of this significant opportunity, CannTrust has partnered with Grey Wolf Animal Health, a private Canadian-based animal health care company, to develop products for the therapeutic cannabis market.

“It’s a really exciting opportunity because it allows us to work with CannTrust’s technical and development teams to continue to grow our product line for Canadian veterinarians,” says Dr. Ian Sandler, CEO of GreyWolf Animal Health. “Cannabis-based products will allow veterinarians to access another therapeutic tool to address health issues that we face every day in clinical practice.

“People love their pets,” he says. “With 16 million companion animals in Canada, this represents a significant opportunity for us to collaborate with CannTrust to lead the way in education, research and product development.”