ANGEL LEBAILLY   |   January 06, 2020

Cannabis Technology: 2019 Year in Review

As the cannabis industry enters a new decade, let’s review the biggest tech news of 2019.
Angel is a freelance writer and editor evolving in the areas of blockchain and technology.

What are the main innovations and technologies in the legalized cannabis market today? What are the fastest adoptions and segments in high demand? Five main areas are currently driving the cannabis business and beyond: from agricultural technology to growing culture, from the development of new markets to innovations in payments and delivery of strains, and finally from data management and AI.

New Agricultural Technologies

As one of the most valuable plants on the planet today, cannabis has fast become the leader of innovation in agricultural technology. With the rise of the legal market, farmers adopted new technologies to grow the plant and increase their harvest with of focus on rentability and quality. 

There are two main advances in cannabis and hemp agricultural technologies: 

  • Lighting technology is a core component of growing healthy cannabis plants. Over the last five years, various innovations improved the lighting of cannabis to influence plant growth and shape among them: 
    • LED lights have become popular among cultivators. 47% of farmers rely on LEDs to grow cannabis plants. 
    • Cloud-based technology allows cultivators to monitor remotely indoor growing lighting according to the plant growth stage.
  • Tissue culture, which describes the cloning process of small plants in a sterile environment, is said to be the future of marijuana cultivation. Despite a low adoption in the US due to tedious and expensive processes, Canada has already embraced this new technology.

Fast Adoption of Cannabis Smartphone Apps 

New actors have entered the market and support the current boom of the marijuana business. Smartphone apps and the Internet bring a new level of information to consumers and represent significant areas of development by tech innovators. What are the most helpful apps in the cannabis market today?

  • Budworks was recently launched to connect cannabis employers to job seekers. The app relies on geo-localization to match people in the cannabis industry. 
  • Eaze is a one-of-a-kind medical app that helps users discover the “best of cannabis.” The platform links adult consumers to licensed dispensaries and shops to raise awareness about safe cannabis consumption. 
  • Lift&co is the resource for the trusted global cannabis authority. An all-in-one platform, Lift&Co provides resources on strains and hosts a yearly trade show in Canada. 

Development of New Consumer Markets

Forbes mentioned that with CBD, the cannabis wellness market was going big. Industry leaders predict that CBD sales could hit $22 billion in three years. On top of it, medical cannabis has reached new heights, expected to a constant annual growth rate of 29,3% until 2026. CBD helps retailers build brand awareness with new products.

  • The CBD skincare market will be worth 1,7 billion by 2025, industry leaders expect. The health and wellness sector is currently booming with CBD, which gave birth to various CBD products such as oils, cannabis infusions, and topicals (cannabis-infused lotions) that provide a therapeutic experience. 
  • Medical cannabis has shown great technological achievements. The innovation in medical cannabis involves taking CBD orally — with the use of oils and tinctures — over smoking. Plus, vape pens allow patients to control cannabis dose and can be used with Bluetooth and smartphone apps. 

Innovations in Payment processing and Data Analytics

The latest significant innovations in the booming cannabis market rely on payment and data analytics, and the rise of Artificial Intelligence.

  • As the cannabis industry was perceived as risky by traditional banks, FinTech launched innovative forms of payments. The use of blockchain technology and cashless transactions set the trend for the cannabis market in 2019.
  • Both consumers and companies benefit from innovations in payment processing and smarter data analytics. For instance, in Canada, providers create the best seamless payment experience. Hypur is an excellent example of “Marijuana Banking.”
  • AI has set the ground for providers to grow plants more efficiently and to bring the best information on cannabis to consumers on a global scale. Through self-learning algorithms, experts gather quality data around crops and growth, which leads to new methods of cultivation. 

New tech trends in 2019 emerged in the cannabis industry, contributing to strong global growth. Experts believe the above trends will continue to help consumers rely on the best technology to shop for cannabis and CBD while allowing companies to grow and market cannabis more efficiently worldwide. The next innovations for 2020 and beyond are likely to be nano-technology and new cannabis extraction methods, such as recently unveiled by Sixth Wave Innovations with their Affinity™ cannabis purification system.

Editor’s Note:

Reflecting on 2019, the cannabis industry is benefiting from a unique position in time. As technology continues to advance, the rate at which we learn increases exponentially. Factor in artificial intelligence and machine learning, what humans don’t know, the machines figure out for us, advancing our knowledge at unprecedented rates.

Technology and science will continue to push the industry to new heights into the next decade. As the laws change and roadblocks to research are removed, we can expect a continued symbiotic relationship between technology and cannabis.

I feel incredibly honored to be a part of a moment in history, covering the disruptive, advanced science and technology behind an industry I love. I want to say thank you to all of our readers, contributors, and writers for making 2019 a great year for us.

We look forward to what the new decade will bring.

Happy New Year!

Kristina Etter

 

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