For many people, hearing the word cannabis makes them uncomfortable. Although it is widely used for medicinal purposes in most states, the cannabis industry still has a long way to go to convince people that cannabis isn’t just associated with intoxication and drug abuse.
What’s even more important to know is that the industry can progress much faster with the help of technology.
This article covers the role and importance of IT in the growing cannabis industry and how it can help spread the medical benefits of cannabis to places where it is still banned.
Cannabis Legalization in the US
In the past decade, cannabis has been legalized by many nations, including the US. While most states allow the legalization for medical use only, there are also some states that allow it for legal adult recreational use.
In 1996, the first cannabis dispensary in California was founded when marijuana was legalized, and other states also followed suit. Currently, only two states are undecided regarding the legalization of cannabis.
During this decade, there have been quite a lot of breakthroughs and developments in the cannabis industry, but they aren’t enough to push the industry towards further progress.
Although there has been the implementation of technology that allows for better harvesting and an enhanced customer experience, there is still room for improvement.
Cannabis Marketing and Sales - Key Stats
According to research, the worldwide legal market for marijuana was valued at USD 9.1 billion until last year. And it is expected to grow with an annual rate of more than 25% between 2021 and 2028. Moreover, the value of the global cannabis market is estimated at around USD 20.5 billion and is expected to grow with an annual growth rate of 28% to reach approximately USD 90.4 billion in the next five to six years.
In 2020 alone, cannabis sales worldwide grew by 48% to reach $21.3 billion, and experts suggest that they will keep growing with an annual rate of 17% higher for the next five to six years. The rise in the sales and consumption of cannabis is due to increased awareness regarding medical marijuana and its use in alleviating pain and addressing other medical concerns.
Although the California medical marijuana limits have been recently released and there are similar regulations in other states, there is no doubt that the sales for cannabis products will only go upwards from here.
Emerging Technologies for the Cannabis Industry
Cultivation and Extraction
Thanks to the growing interest and investment in the cannabis industry, companies that specialize in the cultivation and extraction of cannabis plants are able to make use of state-of-the-art technologies. These technologies are being used to accelerate the time taken to harvest and extract the product and also enhance its quality.
For instance, some companies make use of remote sensors to detect different stages in the process of plant growth, as well as the separation of medical marijuana compounds to prepare the final product.
Cannabinoid biosynthesis is another emerging technology that has replaced traditional extraction methods for cannabinoids such as CBD, THC, etc. This method uses yeast strains developed by microorganisms, which result in the production of high-quality cannabinoids.
Moreover, it helps lower production costs and thus makes cannabis products cheaper and much more accessible.
Personalized Cannabis Products
Back in the day, the only way to consume cannabis products was to smoke them, but thanks to technology, there are numerous forms of the products, such as oils, vapes, candies, gummies, sweets, balms, lotions, and much more.
This is achieved by formulating the correct mixture of cannabidiol and tetrahydrocannabinol, one of the psychoactive compounds found inside the cannabis sativa plant. While doing so can be incredibly difficult, technology makes it much easier to maintain the right consistency and formulation.
Another technology being used in the cannabis industry is the use of LED lighting, which has replaced high-pressure sodium bulbs. When the cannabis sativa plant is grown indoors, the choice of lighting is significant for its growth.
However, the high-intensity bulbs used for this purpose are costly and consume a lot of electricity, which increases the cost of production.
LED lighting is much cheaper and consumes less power, which makes it the perfect alternative to high-pressure sodium bulbs. As a result, they will aid in the production of cannabis products, which will also be cheaper.
E-commerce is one of the biggest driving forces for the growth of cannabis sales, and you can quickly order them from the comfort of your home. Through online stores, the cannabis market will experience a boom and grow towards $166 billion by 2025. Moreover, the use of cannabis software also makes order processing and preparation much easier, and it facilitates producers and retailers as well.
Apart from these technologies and trends, the use of cloud computing and mobile applications has also furthered the progress of the cannabis industry. It is safe to say that with more innovation in this industry, not only will people have better access to affordable and effective cannabis products, but they will also experience better quality.