Recreational marijuana sales in Nevada launched on January 1, 2017, allowing all adults over the age of 21 to purchase up to an ounce of flower and 3.5 grams of concentrates in state-licensed facilities. Since then, it seems that cannabis is not only changing Las Vegas, but Las Vegas is also changing cannabis. The variety of edible products available and the proliferation of vape pens is quite an eye-opener, and during my last visit to MJBizCon, I jumped at the opportunity to call on Remedy, a local cultivation facility creating premier craft cannabis and concentrates.
I met up with Remedy’s cultivation director, Chris Welch, his right-hand man, cultivation manager Seth Holycross, and marketing and sales director Randy Villarba to get an idea of how they operate this outstanding large-scale production center in the middle of some of the hottest and driest land in America. Villarba tells me: “We called our brand Remedy because our goal is to highlight the therapeutic power of cannabis to enhance everyday life through creating high-quality, reliable cannabis products you can trust.”
What’s the Remedy?
Upon entering the facility, we encounter a room devoted exclusively to watering and nutrient solutions. Massive tanks hold water that’s undergone a purification process using reverse osmosis (RO), ultraviolet light (UV) to kill bacteria and a silica buffer. Nutrient solutions, formulated according to the plants’ particular weekly needs, are stored on site and delivered by an Anderson Aqua system featuring computerized injectors.
To avoid bringing in any pests or cross-contamination between rooms, all workers and visitors at Remedy must adhere to its strict cleanliness standards. Before entering any of the growing rooms, we don full-body protective suits, including booties over our shoes, head coverings and gloves. As we enter each room, we step into shallow trays containing a bleach solution, and we change our gloves each time we exit. For those on Remedy’s grow staff that have pets or grows of their own at home, Remedy provides showers so that any outside contaminants aren’t introduced into the facility. It’s a smart precaution that I don’t see in every large facility.
We first visit the propagation area, where mother plants thrive under T5 fluorescent and LED lighting on two different levels while fans on both sides of the trays keep airflow at a maximum to avoid stagnancy. Clones are taken in rockwool cubes held in trays with clear plastic domed lids to maintain humidity levels and keep them warm as they develop roots.
Once rooted, the healthy cuttings are planted into one-gallon pots and begin their vegetative stage. After 10-14 days, they’re transplanted into five-gallon pots for two to four more weeks of vegging, depending on the strain. Welch, the cultivation director, describes the two-tiered system: “We keep it at 75°F and 50 percent relative humidity with fans everywhere to keep it flowing. Our vegetating plants are lit with Bios LED lighting and we train them into the netting trellis while consciously trying to fill every square.”
Flowers in the Desert
When the plants are ready to start flowering, they’re brought to one of eight different flowering rooms, each staggered by seven days to harvest one room per week perpetually. Five-gallon Root Pouch natural-fiber pots made from recycled plastic bottles are filled with Canna Coco along with a half-gallon of clay pebbles placed on top. The grow rocks keep the top layer of coco moist and protect the surface roots as well.
All the plants are hand-watered based on their individual needs. Remedy assistant cultivator Joey Posney explains to me that, contrary to some cultivators’ practices, none of the containers at the facility are allowed to dry out entirely. “We lift the pots to check the weight, and when we feel like it’s 50 percent dried out or so, we water. We check them twice a day to avoid deficiencies and also because salts will build up in coco when it gets too dry.” The pots sit on cut tubing pieces in order to keep them elevated above the tray surface and prevent the plants from soaking up the outflow.
All flowering plants are lit with Phantom and PL high-pressure sodium (HPS) double-ended dimmable bulbs. Fans blow air down the middle of the rows to encourage airflow below the canopy and to avoid potential issues with mold or mildew. There are 36 lights per room, with a typical harvest of 70-80 dry pounds of flower per room. That’s consistently over a kilogram per light—one gram per watt!
Remedy grows many different strains depending on the demands of the marketplace. Some standouts we saw include GG 4, Durban Poison, Island Sweet Skunk, Sour Diesel, LA OG, Clementine, Lemonade Dream and Remedy’s signature strain, Bio Jesus. Lights are cut for 36-48 hours before harvest to increase levels of cannabinoids, terpenes and flavonoids, and to prevent any deterioration of essential oils.
The dry room plays a significant role here in the desert of Nevada. It’s a parched climate to begin with, and that can cause serious issues when trying to slow down the curing process. Naturally, climate control plays a tremendous factor in drying and curing cannabis here. Holycross explains: “We hang our plants longer than most, as long as three weeks! We use humidifiers and dehumidifiers to maintain the proper environment.”
Whole plants hang upside down for a full three weeks and are then dry-trimmed by hand. The longer hang time shortens the curing time, as the plants are essentially slow-cured as they dry. Trimmed flowers are placed into jars, which are opened up, or “burped,” daily for two weeks to a month before the product is ready for store shelves.
“At Remedy, all of our plants are hand-trimmed,” says Villarba. “I truly believe it is that extra hands-on love and touch we give each plant, at every step of the process, that helps create such a potent level of craft cannabis. The quality is right there in the lab results, backed by the flower’s THC levels and overall terpene profile.
“Everyone is always chasing and flexing THC percentages, but I honestly believe it’s all about the terpenes,” Villarba adds. “As the world continues to learn and understand the importance of that terpene profile, that will continue to separate the two different approaches to cultivation in a recreational market. This will only continue to highlight the cultivators that are growing their flower to their optimal potential.”
One by one, Remedy is unlocking each strain’s fullest terpene potential. The company’s certainly flexing with its latest test results. Its Bio Diesel strain (Sour Diesel x Sensi Star) tested at 28 percent THC with a terpene profile reading 12.13 milligrams of b-caryophyllene, 11.11 milligrams of b-myrcene and 4.37 milligrams of humulene per gram. Remedy’s last harvest of its proprietary strain Bio Jesus (Bio Diesel x Gumbo) tested at 32 percent THC, with the top three terpenes reading b-myrcene at 21.21 milligrams, b-caryophyllene at 3.16 milligrams and linalool at 2.97 milligrams per gram.
Remedy’s insistence on hand trimming results in a premium flower that’s getting harder and harder to find as cultivation facilities grow and mechanize the process. Industrial trimming equipment destroys delicate trichomes, but the trimming crew at Remedy take care to preserve the flowers without disturbing the essential oils. Their attention to detail and the gentle process keeps quality at a maximum—the exceptional final product is well worth the extra time and effort.
All flowers undergo extensive lab testing for any contamination, including pesticides, mold, heavy metals or fungus. As Thomas Supp, Remedy’s production manager, tells me, “Before any Remedy product hits a dispensary shelf, we put it through a rigorous series of tests—both state-mandated and internal.”
All in the Concentrates
Any products destined for concentrate production go into a cryo-freezer immediately after harvest to wait for processing by Remedy’s extraction partner, the Colorado-based and multiple Cannabis Cup award-winning company TerpX. This immediate freezing process to subcritical temperatures mitigates any adverse effects due to time lapses that can deteriorate potency, flavor or cleanliness of the finished product. Skyler Cisco, TerpX’s head extractor in Nevada, leads the way for the production of pure and potent cannabinoid-and terpene-infused products such as live resin, wax, shatter, crumble, diamonds and much more.
Butane extraction is handled on the premises in a specially built room featuring an Emotek extraction unit. The TerpX philosophy is to keep the level of terpenes up and the temperature down. The TerpX crew aim to keep the extracts as flavorful and potent as possible while removing all residual butane for cleanliness.
Remedy products include THC-and CBD-rich hand-trimmed flowers, pre-rolls and cartridges as well as infused tinctures, topicals, capsules and syringes. They’re available at Silver Sage Wellness and many other retailers across the state of Nevada. Visit remedyyourself.com for more information.
This article originally appeared in the May 2019 issue. For subscription services, click here.