Texas' first medical cannabis dispensary harvested their first crop Friday, bringing them one step closer to providing CBD oil to patients with intractable epilepsy.
“We're looking for good flower production, resin production, and, when we harvest, we just take branches off the plant,” said Taylor Kirk, director of cultivation at Compassionate Cultivation.
The entire process from seed to oil extraction takes about four months.
It is then tested for purity and safety.
Although the plant is commonly referred to as marijuana, cannabis is accepted as the legal term when it is legally medicinally grown in Texas.
The cannabis grown in Texas must be low in THC and high in CBD in order to meet state requirements. “This plant, if you were to smoke it like a marijuana plant grown for THC, you wouldn't feel that same high. You wouldn't have any kind of psychoactive feeling, you would have a calming, relaxed sense of wellness,” Kirk said.
The first harvest is an historic moment for Texas and a significant step for Texans suffering from incurable epilepsy. CBD oil will give epilepsy patients more options to treat unmanageable seizures, but they must first meet requirements like getting a prescription from two doctors and not responding to other medications.
“Here's this plant that when handled properly, when cultivated with care, when taken through the process and extracted through chemical free hydrocarbon, free CO2 based extraction, can produce a very pure form of medicine that has very few side effects,” said Morris Denton, CEO of Compassionate Cultivation.
Since receiving their license from the Texas Department of Public Safety, the staff here has learned just how many people are waiting for CBD.
The Epilepsy Foundation says 150,000 Texans fall into that category.
“People started to come in and visit us and I saw these families, I saw these kids, I saw these adults, I saw these people that were suffering and it had a deep impact on me and on us. We want to help them get better,” Denton said.
Compassionate Cultivation hopes to start selling CBD oil to patients with intractable epilepsy at their facility in South Austin in February. They will also deliver CBD oil to patients around the state who are unable to make it to the facility.