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Spot light on NZ MC companies – SOMA

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Q1. Who are you, where are you based and what do you do?

SOMA Group is New Zealand’s leading science-based medical cannabis company. The only end-to-end business in the market, we’re also the only science wholesaler with a national research programme collaborating with the University of Otago, and the only business focussed on matching whole plant and human genetics (endocannabinoids).

Based in Dunedin Soma leverages the cities ecosystem of academics and agri-tech to run the SOMA science program - a unique distributed science platform with partners thought out the South Island that provides genetic, agronomy, regulatory and product advice and services.

SOMA tissue culture lab in Dunedin is fully licenced and operational and will be the key resource for breeding unique Cultivars matched to human genetics. In addition, four R&D sites are scheduled to become operational in the next few months.

Q2. Will you offer compassionate discounts, (community service card holders, pensioners etc)?

Yes. In addition, our goal is providing the most accessible medicinal cannabis product in the world more broadly, by bringing long term pricing to the cannabis market as soon as possible.

Q3. Do you have plans for trials regarding chronic pain?

We’re working on it. SOMA is partnering with the University of Otago Pain group to research whether phenotyping people (characterising them according to their genetic makeup and environmental influences) with poor pain modulation capacity in their nervous systems can be helped by matching them with specific cannabinoids.

Q4. What certification programs, i.e. organic and others, are you or the industry planning to belong to?

SOMA is a strong believer in comprehensive testing and disclosure. We aim to provide the most transparent reports in the industry, and all our facilities will all be subject to applicable quality tests and process.

Q5. How do you manage your pest/weed regime?

SOMA is developing an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) programme and disease resistant cultivars so our production systems are chemical and pathogen free. New Zealand has pathogen strains which are unique to our growing environment. We intend to follow international best practice (in integrated pest management) where possible, but it is also essential that we develop an R&D plan which supports the development of a best practice system suitable for the New Zealand environment. SOMA is also developing an assessment scorecard of disease susceptibility of a variety of cannabis strains, and a disease breeding proramme for developing naturally resistant cannabis strains.

Q6. Will you your plants see the light of the sun, and will they be grown in soil? vs indoor & hydroponic growing

Across our network, all cultivation techniques will be used.

Q7. Are you planning on including animals who would benefit from CBD for various ailments eg. epilepsy?

Yes Subject to all required ethics approval.

Q8. Are you focusing on any particular terpenes?

We completed our first research project into terpenes and their impact on the entourage effect in late 2018. The paper will be published in the next few months. SOMA is focused on whole plant extract and our products will harness the power of multiple bio-actives delivered in new combinations and forms.

Q9. Do you have plans for phase 2 trials, if so, for what conditions?

As a group we are focussed on pain management and palliative care. Phase 2 trials will be in these areas.

Q10. CO2 or Ethanol extraction?

SOMA does not use either.

Q11. Will you have a recommended retail price so that customers can have price certainty and consistency as well as setting a reasonable price?

Yes we will.

Q12. What is your best yielding variety so far?

In our experience, we have seen indoor yields as high as 6000g per sqm per year. We expect the NZ indoor industry will sit in the range from 800-3000 grams per sqm

Q13. What strains will be available now and in the future?

The SOMA breeding program will result in unique cultivars matched to specific human genetic profiles

Q14. How is GMP tested?


Q15. What does a typical day in the office look like at the moment?

There is no typical day at SOMA!

Q16. What prompted you to get involved in the MC industry?

Learning about the endocannabinoid system.

Q17. Do you intend to conduct trials for conditions where there is already evidence of efficacy?

Yes,we do.

Q18. When do you plan to have product ready for market?

We intend to launch product in market in Q3 2020.

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