St. Stephen – Tidal Health Solutions, the largest of the cannabis growing operations which call St. Stephen home, has been quietly expanding its production capabilities for both dried flower products as well as a new line of medical cannabis oil.
Last October, Tidal announced they would be supplying Cannabis NB with a line of products for retail customers. Called “Affirma”, the product line is now available at locations throughout NB, as well as PEI. Though Tidal has been dipping their toes into the retail market, according to the company founder, Dr. Douglas Smith, their focus remains the medical use market.
Smith said, “We are committed to research and development and will continue to source and provide new products, formats and strains for our medical patients”.
“We are excited to provide three unique oil products to our medical patients,” added VP of Research & Development, Dr. Krista McAllister. “Tidal THC, CBD and Balanced will give our medical patients choices to meet their needs.”
Cannabis oils are extracts which are derived from the cannabis plant. They are appropriate for those who aren’t comfortable with other forms of cannabis use, along with affording patients and their doctors the ability to dose more accurately.
In the past year-and-a-half, Tidal has purchased land and buildings around its primary facility in the St. Stephen Industrial Park for a consolidated total of over 42 acres of land with 24,000 sq. ft of enclosed space for indoor vertical cultivation and 59,000 sq. ft. of building space to be dedicated to research, development and production.
In July of 2019 the company completed construction of an addition which expanded its production capabilities, while adding facilities dedicated to cannabis oil extraction. The expansion has resulted in the hiring of additional local employees, bringing the total number of local jobs provided by the company to 40.
The company has been gradually adding to its footprint locally and across Canada through associations with various cannabis clinics and prescribers. As the regulatory market around cannabis has evolved, and consumers have grown to be more comfortable with the new industry, Tidal has been at work developing several new products including single dose oral sprays, edibles and topicals.
Stemming from the company’s commitment to community education, Tidal will host a public education event at the St Stephen Royal Canadian Legion on Friday, January 30 at 7 p.m. Smith and McAllister will both speak on safe usage and indications for cannabis for both people and pets, and head grower Alex Gauthier will give insights on the attributes and production of the cannabis plant.
McAllister said those who come out to the event will “be getting an overview of how we cultivate THC, the important parts to understand about the cannabis plant with respect to cannabinoids and production and that sort of thing.”
She added the company decided to hold a public information session after receiving a large volume of questions. “We get questions all the time, people don’t have an understanding of the difference between buying cannabis at Cannabis NB versus being a medical patient, and they don’t have a great understanding of the various indications that cannabis is appropriate for.”
People often ask the company about what kinds of products would be suitable for pets, and part of the information session is to address those questions.
“There are still no legal veterinary products,” said McAllister, “but we do have an interest in producing a veterinary product later down the line, but until it becomes legal that’s in a bit of a hold.”
As for the difference between medical cannabis and recreational cannabis, McAllister notes the federal requirements for production sites, quality assurance, and testing are all the same.
“However, if you’re a medical patient, going through the medical supply route usually means you have a better relationship with a licensed producer, who has a consistent supply, and they know that they’re going to get the same thing because we manage our inventory for those patients.”
“In addition, the medical patient is able to write off their cannabis expenses and medical expenses for their tax year. So if you’re using it for medical purposes, that’s important for you.”
McAllister says new cannabis users often require an educational component. “It’s kind of like a diabetic for the first time discovering that they’re diabetic and having to learn about diet and insulin. Medical cannabis is similar in that there’s a kind of an upfront education requirement.”
Tidal has affiliated itself with a number of education clinics across Canada and in New Brunswick to facilitate that education, so if patients do require extra support with respect to taking cannabis for the first time, or adjusting their dosage during follow ups, the clinics can provide that service.