The Cannabis industry is growing at a rapid pace, and many countries are willing to accept it in its natural and medicinal form. Investors particularly have taken notice and interest in this industry. The reason is that the substance is being monitored and regulated by governments in multiple regions. Various national and international bankers have termed marijuana as a $50 to $100 billion annual business opportunity, now that legalizing is spreading. However, technology plays a pivotal role in this area. It assists by ensuring quality, establishing online retail, revolutionizing lighting systems, and enabling its medicinal usage.
1.Extraction techniques: Historically, multiple techniques have been useful to extract CBD and THC. But as part of the extraction processes, they unintentionally strip out other cannabinoids, terpenes, and omegas. While the extracted substances revolve the market as full-spectrum, they generally don’t contain the other beneficial cannabinoids. Innovative extraction techniques have begun to emerge that promise to yield more plant nutrients to support a growing variety of health products.
Novel methods to extract specific and rare cannabinoids (both psychoactive and non-psychoactive) are currently under work by many CBD companies. These techniques will lower costs, increase yields, and can be implemented on-demand regardless of the time of year or weather conditions.
2.Ecommerce and Retail: Technology has been having an impact on the sales of the cannabis industry. Various ways of integrating sales through a point-of-sale and seed to sale platforms on the cloud for retailers, growers, and even regular consumers emerged in the past years. An example of this implementation is Shopify. They have successfully demonstrated their Software as a Service (SaaS) to provide retailers. The product comes with deep learning and insights into customers’ purchasing decisions by leveraging technologies like Artificial Intelligence and machine learning. With this, they can act as middlemen and offer analytics. The data is tremendously useful for determining what to keep in stock, where to keep it in stock, ordering information, and information about the product is selling more in specific geographic locations and why.
Their cloud-based compliance software has integration with various features. It includes supply chain logistics, providing tracking of planting, growing statuses, and sales and last-mile delivery/quality checks enabling a seed to sale ecosystem. Such e-commerce and retail businesses will immensely benefit through AI, ML, and Big data implementations that enable actionable insights and consumer trend analysis.
3.Advances in Research and medicinal use: Over the past couple of decades, cannabis has started receiving attention for its medicinal and relaxing properties. Hospitals in the US are providing certain strains to chemotherapy patients to alleviate pain, discomfort, and nausea. The effectiveness of these therapies has led to more research in this field about possible applications with unique strains, as part of alternative medicine.
4. Cultivation value: Big data promises scope for cannabis cultivators to provide the world with higher-quality strains that are of most interest to the users. Large volumes of data regarding consumer trends, environmental factors collected through a series of means, including IoT devices, can help create feedback chains. The information enables farmers to understand factors like climatic conditions, soil, and irrigation. It helps choose the right plant varieties for most yield. Data about user consumption guides them to concentrate on most valued strains. Cultivating these strains creates significant value in the chain.
5. Inventory Transportation : A problem faced by the pot industry is at the logistics and supply chain levels. Since the plant is a biological specimen, it requires specific temperature and moisture conditions. It helps to keep it in its optimum state throughout transportation. Technology can play a pivotal role in this area by ensuring that transportation happens with attention to the inventory and the destination distance. Hospitals and pharmacies which provide pot (prescription based) show a successful implementation of this. They maintain the quality through monitoring of temperature and humidity.
6.Lighting Systems : An intriguing development that has taken place in the pot industry is the reform in the lighting system used for indoor/outdoor growing. The plant requires light at specific rates and needs sensitive climate control protocols to provide optimum yield. Hence, a lot of money goes into these lighting systems and the electricity they draw. The entire pot industry relies on high-pressure sodium bulbs (HPS). These bulbs don’t last long, consume a lot of power, and are unreliable with the amount of output of light they produce. LEDs, on the other hand, have recently become cheaper, and have many benefits over HPS. They are stable, have longer lamp life, low power usage, and low strain on surrounding systems.
7.Consumption methods: In an era where everyone is conscious about their health, it doesn’t bode well for the pot industry to stick to smoking as a method of intake. Various trends are rapidly replacing smoking cannabis, such as with alternatives like vaping and ingestion via edibles. Alternate modes of consumption, such as vaping, are rising popularity.
8.Clinical Studies: When it comes to the maturing cannabis industry, there is a growing need for credible cannabis data. It is one of the only drugs in the market which exists without standard clinical trials being conducted on various strains to support its growth in the medical community. With the progress of the industry, real-world evidence plays a vital role. It includes involving broader patient records, insurance databases, etc. Data through random clinical trials, which has been the standard way to evaluate new medical treatments, may not be relevant in the case of cannabis. Data mining from hospitals, pharmacies, patient records, and other databases help provide better evidence. This evidence will increase trust and break the stigma associated with the substances, thereby pushing businesses to new heights.
Many research studies have concluded that the extent of cannabis and hemp is not limited to medicinal or relaxation purposes. The fibers and oils inside the plant have been useful throughout our history to manufacture various fabrics and textiles. The entire plastics and polymers industry may witness a revolution by bringing new products made with cannabis and hemp. It will have considerable benefits because of the low cost and biodegradability. It will enable the leftover cannabis and hemp to be useful as raw material. This step could increase the profits of the industries which pursue this opportunity.