Pure Healing are one of Portugal’s new wave of premium quality licensed cannabis growers, with a large outdoor grow area as well as a smaller greenhouse area. They received their legal grow license in 2021 and were tasked with the challenge to produce 2000Kg of dry buds each year with their 10 employees. Sérgio Neto is the 39 year old co-founder and Head Grower of Pure Healing and quickly established a partnership with Dutch Passion for assistance with the task of organising production planning, consultancy and cannabis seed supply. Read our interview with Sérgio to find out more about why autoflowering cannabis seeds were preferred and how Pure Healing rapidly rose to the challenge of becoming one of Portugal’s highest quality medical cannabis producers.
What is your connection with cannabis and how did this come into being?
Sérgio: I started my cannabis journey more than 10 years ago when my grandmother was diagnosed with leukaemia. I learned how to grow, to harvest, dry and cure cannabis and transform it as a tea or oil to give her. It helped during a couple years.
What is the purpose of your cannabis production?
Sérgio: Help people who need cannabis for their diseases with good and affordable prices. We have 100% organic medicinal cannabis and a fully organic approach to cultivation. Not only does this fit with our ethics, but as you will see from our results, it produces the finest quality levels too.
How long have you been working there?
Sérgio: Since the very beginning, in 2018 when we created the concept, but officially since January 2019 when we created the company. I have never worked anywhere else in the cannabis industry.
We have 100% organic medicinal cannabis and a fully organic approach to cultivation. Not only does this fit with our ethics, but it also produces the finest quality levels.
What type of organisation are you? For example, Pharma, Health Care, Education, Government, Commercial etc.
Sérgio: Agriculture and medicinal herbs is the best way to describe our operation.
How many employees does your company/organisation have?
Sérgio: Just 10 employees, all based here in Portugal.
What kind of cannabis regulations apply here?
Sérgio: Our crops can only be used for medicinal and scientific purposes. We have to comply with the highly detailed rules and regulations from the Portuguese authorities. Of course we are pleased to comply fully and show our professional approach as well as the great results.
When did your company/organisation first get their license and what preceded it?
Sérgio: In November 2019 we got our pre-license. But it wasn’t until August 2021 that we received the official, definitive license to grow.
Have you ever had any problems importing cannabis seeds?
Sérgio: No, our contact in Dutch Passion, Mahmoud Hanachi, delivers great support, 100%, no words to describe all the help and support that we have from him.
We are growing four strains at the moment. Three of them are THC rich varieties from Dutch Passion (Auto Skywalker Haze, Auto Kerosene Krash and Auto Cinderella Jack).
Which and how many cannabis varieties are you cultivating?
Sérgio: We are growing four strains at the moment. Three of them are THC rich (Auto Skywalker Haze, Auto Kerosene Krash and Auto Cinderella Jack). One strain is high CBD, low THC. This is CBD Auto Charlottes Angel, with such low THC levels it is not a psychoactive strain and this makes it suitable for certain customers.
Do you use autoflower seeds, feminised seeds or clones at Pure Healing?
Sérgio: We prefer autoflower seeds at the moment. Since we started in August (when the official grow license was issued) it was a little too late in the outdoor/greenhouse grow season to complete a grow cycle using feminised cannabis seeds. We used autoflower seeds and haven’t looked back!
Do you always grow the same cannabis strains?
Sérgio: No, we have actually tested many varieties. We decided on the current autoflower strains because of the good adaptation that they made to our latitude and climate.
We hope for Pure Healing to be regarded as a serious licensed cannabis producers with a great range of strains for different customers.
Which cannabinoids do you grow?
Sérgio: THC, THCV, CBD, CBG, CBDV, CBN…at Pure Healing we hope to be regarded as a serious licensed cannabis producers with a great range of strains for different customers.
Do you grow indoors or outdoors or in greenhouses?
Sérgio: We grow outdoors in the warm Portuguese climate with great results. We also use the greenhouse for support work.
How big are your growing rooms/fields/greenhouses?
Sérgio: 150m2 greenhouse, 5000m2 outdoor cultivation area.
Do you use organic growing methods? What type of nutrients and pesticides do you use?
Sérgio: We only use organic growing conditions, this fits our ethical approach to cannabis growing. Unfortunately we can’t say much more due confidentiality agreements. Nor can we really say too much about grow mediums etc,
How do you dry and cure your harvest on such a big scale?
Sérgio: We have a very specific high-tech drying room, designed exclusively for our conditions. It allows us full control over harvesting/drying.
We have regular tests that we make during each grow cycle. We also have two partnerships with external scientific labs that help us, providing analytical data from our strains.
Have you ever dealt with a failed harvest? How do you prevent this? – professional cannabis cultivation is not always straightforward.
Sérgio: Lucky us, we have never had a crop failure. May God help us to prevent such a situation.
Which types of end products do you make at the moment?
Sérgio: Only dry flowers/buds currently.
How do you make sure the quality of your end product is high enough? How do you test this?
Sérgio: Good question, and an important one! We have regular tests that we make during each grow cycle. We also have two partnerships with external scientific labs that help us, providing analytical data from our strains.
Do you export your end products, or do you only sell it locally?
Sérgio: Both, it depends on the customer needs and our capacity. We have a limited production of around 2000Kg of dried flowers/bud annually.
What innovation in the cannabis industry do you admire most?
Sérgio: All the new equipment and technologies that arrive year after year are of great interest, especially as we look towards continuous improvements. The innovation and quality nowadays are quite impressive, even just looking back over the last 10 years or so.
How do you expect the cannabis market will change in the future?
Sérgio: We never truly know but I guess that we will face a huge fight with pharmaceutical companies, mainly the big ones. On the other hand, Pure Healing grow fully organically and have achieved THC levels around 25-30% using Dutch Passion seeds. We feel confident that we can offer attention to detail with an organic approach – the results really couldn’t be much better.
What advice would you give to entrepreneurs/investors looking to get into cannabis cultivation?
Sérgio: Never give up! Try to always be two steps ahead. Listen and learn. Try to predict and understand what your results will be. Above all else, hard work and preparation is critical.
Rua Alfredo Inácio Ramos da Silva,
Nº 30, 1º Esq. – Queluz de Baixo
2730-203 Barcarena, Portugal