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P.E.I., Nova Scotia companies strike partnership to manufacture equipment for cannabis extraction

Jonathan Gluckman, left, of Sixth Wave Innovations Inc., and Paul Campbell of Advanced Extraction Systems in Charlottetown discuss cannabis extraction on Wednesday after the two companies entered into a partnership.
Jonathan Gluckman, left, of Sixth Wave Innovations Inc., and David Campbell of Advanced Extraction Systems in Charlottetown discuss cannabis extraction on Wednesday after the two companies entered into a partnership. - Terrence McEachern

Jonathan Gluckman is hoping clients have an affinity for his system that refines cannabis oil extract into compounds and products that can help people with specific health conditions.

"As the industry moves to more medicine driven by your needs, individualized medicines and the ability to compound different cannabinoids into mixtures that treat particular illnesses – anxiety or sleep issues and thing like that – having the ability to efficiently separate all the cannabinoids, process them into unique formulations that are not native to the biomass, is becoming increasingly important," said Gluckman, president and CEO of Sixth Wave Innovations Inc., which was founded in 2013 and has about 20 employees.

On Wednesday, the Bedford, N.S., company was in Charlottetown and signed a letter of intent to form a partnership with Advanced Extraction Systems to manufacture the Affinity System.

Advanced Extraction Systems designs, engineers and fabricates supercritical fluid CO2 extraction systems that separates cannabis oil from the plant. The Affinity System works in tandem with that equipment by further refining the crude cannabis oil and separating cannabinoids for specific health purposes, such as pain management. Cannaboids that are separated and purified are also known as distillates.

"What we're doing is we're adding value. The further you go down the chain, the more valuable the distillate, or isolate, is," said David Campbell, co-founder of Advanced Extraction Systems Inc. in Charlottetown. 

The system also separates and removes the psychoactive cannabinoid – THC – from the final product. Although the system can't remove 100 per cent of THC, it can remove enough so that it is below a detectable level. In Canada and the U.S., that level is 0.03 per cent.

"If you're in the CBD (cannabidiol) market, you have to be below those levels of THC in order for them to not be considered a cannabis product," Gluckman explained.

The partnership between the companies is for five years. As production ramps up, Campbell said that will lead to more jobs at the Charlottetown facility, such as engineers, project managers, skilled labourers and customer support personnel.

Already, Gluckman has commitments from buyers for five units and interest from potential buyers for another 100 units. Gluckman said the focus for now is on the North American market, but he's also getting calls from European and South American clients.

The demand is due to continuing medical research into the health benefits from cannabinoids, Gluckman said.

"So, the ability to generate those in large quantities and ensure the quality, like any other supplement or drug. If you're ingesting it, you want to make sure it's safe," he said.

"All the steps of being able to extract the material out of the plant material, to control the plant material's environment so it's not exposed to health hazards and then to be able to separate out any of the potential health hazards is incredibly important." 

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