Fluence partners with medicinal cannabis grower on horticultural LED lighting research (UPDATED)

May 21, 2020
Texas-based Compassionate Cultivation will utilize Fluence by Osram horticultural SSL products in a joint study of best practices in lighting strategies, spectra, intensity, and more.

Fluence by Osram (formerly known as Fluence Bioengineering, now a subsidiary of Osram) has announced a research collaboration with Texas Original Compassionate Cultivation (Compassionate Cultivation) — a cultivator of medicinal cannabis. The two Austin, TX-based organizations will seek to discover optimal lighting strategies to maximize energy efficiency and solid-state lighting (SSL) efficacy measured by yield in growing operations.

As we have covered in our HortiCann Light + Tech Conference and Horticultural Lighting Conferences, some basics in terms of how plants respond to light apply to any cultivar. Conversely, lighting needs differ considerably for cultivars such as cannabis and tomatoes where the goal is biomass compared to, say, leafy greens where growth cycles are short and there is no flowering stage. Moreover, cannabis is even more malleable in terms of manipulation of secondary metabolites than most other cultivars. But the fact that the cultivar was illegal in most jurisdictions until recently has greatly limited research on the cultivar.

“Our patients have come to depend on the quality, consistency, and purity of our products,” said Morris Denton, CEO of Compassionate Cultivation. “It’s our responsibility to ensure that our patients and their prescribing physicians have access to the best medical cannabis to treat their conditions. Our partnership with Fluence is another example of our commitment to operational excellence and leadership in medical cannabis. Through these R&D projects, we will discover lighting strategies that will create new best practices, taking cannabis cultivation to the next level. Increasing efficiencies in our cultivation practices will enable us to better accomplish our goals while helping an industry where research is critical but limited.”

The research partners will work with Fluence LED luminaires to better understand sustainable production, quality of plants, and yield. They intend to study light intensity, SSL spectra, light distribution patterns, and chronology of light application. Fluence said the plan is creation of multiple peer-reviewed studies over the course of the next year.

“New research that sheds light on operational best practices, recommended cultivation techniques, breeding, and light recipes is the most critical factor in maximizing cannabis’s potential,” said Dave Hawley, Fluence’s senior scientist. “In partnering with Compassionate Cultivation, Fluence can conduct industry-leading research from our own backyard, ultimately empowering both Compassionate Cultivation and the Fluence team with cultivation data that could directly impact global cannabis efficacy.”

The Texas Compassionate Use Program that legalized cannabis for medicinal purposes was first approved back in 2015 by the Texas Legislature. The initial legislation primarily covered patients afflicted with epilepsy. One year ago, the scope of usage was expanded to cover patients suffering many other maladies to use low-THC-dose cannabis products. Fluence said that 2 million Texas citizens are eligible for inclusion in the program.

“Cannabis has massive potential to truly improve and positively impact Texans and consumers around the world,” said David Cohen, CEO of Fluence. “We’re excited to collaborate with Compassionate Cultivation, another Texas brand that shares our vision to explore the interaction between light and life and to cultivate consistent, high-quality cannabis for patients who need it.”

Osram acquired startup Fluence back in the spring of 2018 during a period when the Munich-based conglomerate went on a horticultural buying spree. For now, Fluence has continued to operate under its own brand and has been among the leaders in the horticultural lighting sector.

*Updated May 21, 2020 12:00 PM for company name correction.

For up-to-the-minute LED and SSL updates, why not follow us on Twitter? You’ll find curated content and commentary, as well as information on industry events, webcasts, and surveys on our LinkedIn Company Page and our Facebook page.