“Nunca deixe para amanhã o que você pode fazer hoje.”
While this quote, which roughly translates to “never leave to tomorrow what you can do today” is frequently associated with American founding father Benjamin Franklin, it has also become an adopted proverb in Brazil.
And there are perhaps no group of individuals more determined to live by this quote than ABRACE, Brazil’s first and only legal medical cannabis cultivators.
ABRACE, or the Brazilian Association of Cannabis Esperanca, have been in existence since 2014, when a small group of passionate cultivators and campaigners came together, looking to provide cannabis-based medicine to those in need. Three years later, ABRACE is now a legally operating organisation producing cannabis oil to patients in Brazil on a daily basis.
At the very start of their existence, ABRACE would produce handmade oil from flowers obtained illegally and distribute the products to local patients, who wanted to try and curtail the symptoms of their various ailments.
ABRACE’s coined their product “Hope Oil” after receiving some remarkable feedback from patients, particularly those using the oil to treat symptoms of Epilepsy.
However, the organisation was fully aware that operating with technically illegal produce was not the long term answer and so made an application to the local Brazilian government to become a fully legal operation.
Despite no other organisation being granted such status, ABRACE were given permission to continue their work lawfully in January 2017, making them the first and only legally approved medical cannabis cultivators in Brazil.
Following the decision by the local government to offer ABRACE legal status, the demand for their products boomed and the organisation had to think very carefully about how they were to expand, given that almost 500 local patients were now wanting oil.
The first step in this process was to cultivate their own cannabis legally, as opposed to sourcing the plants from the Black Market. For this, they needed to expand their area for cultivation and come up with a detailed plan to minimise costs, maximise production and prioritise quality and safety.
ABRACE were keen to ensure that their crop was fully organic and that no pesticides were used during cultivation. Perhaps more importantly, the organisation wanted to grow plants that had stable proportions of terpenoids and cannabinoids to suit their patients needs.
After much deliberation and testing, ABRACE now have four types of cultivation environments that enable them to grow quality, medically beneficial plants for all of their patients;
- An indoor, all-climate and air-conditioned environment called the Mother Room. This room has LED panels and fluorescent lamps that stay on for 18 hours a day. The plants grown in the Mother Room are selected for their characteristics and proportions of cannabinoids and terpenes.
- An outdoor environment in which plants grow with the energy of sunlight, plus a supplementation of metal halide lamps at night. In this environment, adult clones of the genetics kept in the Mother Room grow during the day. At night, the MH lamps prevent the plants from starting the flowering process, causing them to keep growing until they reach an ideal size to bloom.
- A third environment where large, flowering plants are maintained without supplementation of light, at the natural rhythm of 12 hours of sunlight and 12 hours of darkness. This area is called the Outdoor Flower Room.
- ABRACE’s final and most recently constructed growing environment is the Indoor Flowering Room. This room has not yet been opened but is ready for use. The Indoor Flowering Room is an air-conditioned environment with 6x 400w high pressure sodium lamps.
The Eternal Pursuit of the Perfect Genetic Pool – Working with Seedsman
Despite earning their legal status and creating a cultivation set-up to rival any around the world, ABRACE were still searching for the perfect strains to work with. While many of their grows had been successful, none had shown a stable enough cannabinoid content to use with regularity.
After hearing of the work that ABRACE were doing in Brazil, Seedsman were keen to help. Along with their friends at Medical Marijuana Genetics, Seedsman donated five high-CBD strains to the organisation; CD-1, Green Doctor, Nightingale, Txaki, and Hiydrow, all from the Medical Marijuana Genetics collection.
And early cultivation signs suggest that ABRACE may have finally found the perfect strains to work with.
All five of the strains from Medical Marijuana Genetics have at least a 1:1 CBD:THC ratio. During testing, CD-1 and Nightingale samples tested as high as 20:1 CBD:THC.
The arrival of these new genetics will increase ABRACE’s power of care and allow them to produce CBD-rich plants on a more consistent basis for the patients they loyally serve.
The evolution of the ABRACE project and the progress of the organisation’s work can be followed on their Instagram. The organisation are constantly looking forward, trying to break new ground in the search for the perfect medicine – they are not waiting around. After all, as the old saying goes, “why leave to tomorrow what you can do today?“.