Technology is beginning to affect every aspect of the cannabis marketplace, pushing it in unprecedented directions. As Tantalus Labs builds the first ground-up, legal, cannabis-tailored greenhouse in Canada, we can’t help notice others building ancillary services in the marketplace. As with most health innovation, the end result is a better patient experience. Some of these prospects are big bets on the future, and many others can be found in established industries, with the application to marijuana seemingly past due.

In a society where one can transparently review the entire breakdown of foods one eats, down to caloric intake and vitamins, it’s lacking that cannabis is sold without showing its full chemical profile. 81% of people now research online before making a purchase decision, and it’s likely that patients want to review all aspects of their medicine before committing to a strain. Moreover, 1 in 4 customers report that their last purchase was online, and their number is growing yearly. With such a high percentage, it’s contrastingly tiresome for most medical marijuana patients to require travel every time they wish to purchase. While changing public opinion and shifting legal landscapes are attracting the most chatter in the marijuana world, the application of technology is creating a significant underlying shift.

The application of technology is creating a significant underlying shift.

As legal production of cannabis moves across jurisdictions, it is adopting the latest of technologies. Hardware and software developed for specialized pepper and tomato cultivation are making their way onto cannabis. Commercial monitoring systems like Argus are providing levels of data capture and systems management that have rarely been seen before in cannabis cultivation. Advanced monitors and controls allow more cannabis than ever before to be grown in environments with optimal growing conditions throughout the full cycle. The cambrian explosion of software as a service (SaaS) within most industries is reflected in the marijuana business, as a multitude of companies are developing platforms to manage operations and compliance for producers. With the breadth of information available, licensed producers must be encouraged by patients to push transparency with their production methods and product.

As growing licences are issued, companies void the need to cloak their operations and can instead focus on designing systems around expert horticulture. Optimized growing environments for optimized plants. For the first time in history, the power of the sun, shining through environmentally controlled greenhouses, can be used to fuel the growth of this contentious species.

In the information age, it’s absurd to think of a consumable product in the marketplace without access to the ingredient breakdown, or in this case chemical composition. Consumers are more educated than ever before, and rightly desire to know the facts. Open sourced or crowdsourced platforms are surging as pioneers in the marijuana information space. The foremost strain review site, Leafly, has amassed more than 1,200 strains, each listing effects and ratings submitted by hundreds of users.

The black market does not mandate public safety, and unsafeness accumulates accordingly in the distribution of marijuana. Cash dealings, opacity, and shady characters all detract from any impetus to progress. This part of the marketplace is opening to technology, creating a better system for all parties, and society as a whole. For patients in the USA who choose to buy from a dispensary, finding a credible local retailer has never been easier. WeedMaps, an online mapping engine, allows anyone to view the nearby locations of dispensaries, accompanied with reviews and ratings. If a specific strain is desired, WeedMaps lists a dispensary’s menu along with prices. For those choosing to stay home, numerous services have emerged to deliver dispensary marijuana direct. Touted as “Uber for Weed”, Canary and Eaze are both potential leaders in the space.

As production and distribution adopt technology, so too do ways in which patients consume. Whether one is looking for more potent, or safer, medicine, new options are emerging. Vaporizing, which involves heating the bud to the temperature at which THC/CBD vaporizes (before combustion), is seen by many as a healthier choice. The quality of electronic vaporizers on the market has increased tenfold, with devices like Pax and Volcano surprising many through elegance and sophistication. As new techniques for material extraction become available, dabbing and edibles may match in popularity. While some patients may continue to elect the ritual of a joint, alternatives continue to proliferate.

For patients, the result is an ever-growing supply of tools and services

From production and information to distribution and consumption, the cannabis marketplace is seeing sweeping changes as a surgence of companies matching cannabis and technology emerge. For patients, the result is an ever-growing supply of tools and services that help them with their cannabis needs. Tantalus Labs looks forward to the growth of ancillary services, as we continue to do what we do best - applying agricultural science to cultivate Sungrown cannabis in environmentally controlled greenhouses. Staying at the forefront of technological innovation is core to Tantalus labs, as we work to advance the frontier of cannabis.