The Future of Cannabis Growing: Emerging Technologies and Trends

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Added 29 March 2023

trends in the cannabis industry

A decade ago, cannabis was a behind-the-doors, under-the-table type of industry. There were still millions of growers, but most of them had stealth grows and used whatever they could to grow decent cannabis plants.

It was Mad Max: Cannabis Road for most of us back then. 

But when cannabis was legalized, it opened many doors for growers to expand their growth. Nowadays, cannabis gardens have evolved and advanced to match other types of plantations. And, this is just the beginning. 

Growers and businesses have come up with various ways to improve their cannabis cultivation; some of these ways rely on technology while others rely on unique processes. These emerging trends and technologies promise to transform the industry and take it to the next level in terms of quality, sustainability, and experience. 

What are these emerging trends and technologies? Read on to know more. 

Emerging Technologies for Growing Cannabis

Emerging Technologies for Growing Cannabis

Technology is one of the primary driving forces behind the progress of the cannabis industry, making it possible for growers globally to improve their harvest and make better cannabis products. All this while ensuring high quality and safety for the consumers. 

A quick Google search is enough to tell you just how many technologies are being incorporated into cannabis gardens and farms, including home gardens maintained by hobby growers. And this is on an uptick.

Thanks to the progressive perception of cannabis and legalization, more and more investors are willing to bet their money on emerging technologies, which is further pushing the innovative side of the industry forward. 

So, what are these emerging technologies? Here are some of the top technologies being used in cannabis cultivation these days.

1. Cannabinoid Biosynthesis

The cannabis plant contains cannabinoids — compounds (like THC or CBD) that are responsible for producing various effects of cannabis, including the high and other medicinal benefits. 

Most cannabis growers use traditional means to extract these cannabinoids from the buds, but one drawback is that it can get expensive since it’s not easy to extract the cannabinoids, which drives up the cost of the end product. 

This is where cannabinoid biosynthesis comes in. It is a new innovation that enables producers to produce cannabinoids like THC and CBD in a more cost-efficient manner. Essentially, this technology uses microorganisms to develop yeast strains that produce cannabinoids

Many industry leaders are currently investing resources into this technology to transform the supply network. The result? High-quality cannabinoid products at much cheaper rates! 

2. Crop Steering 

Cannabis plants have a system that uses hormones to control their growth, which is influenced by various environmental factors and stresses. Here, experts have figured out a way to manipulate these hormonal responses by dialing in the environment for the desired outcome

These environmental changes can include adjusting the humidity or temperatures, the watering routine, or the lighting cycle. 

This process is called crop steering, and it is used to produce a better yield that is of higher quality. With this method, growers can not only create high-quality products but also boost their bottom lines. 

However, crop steering isn’t as easy as it sounds. It needs to be carried out at the right time in the plant’s growth cycle and may require various tracking tools, controls, sensors, and devices that analyze the plant’s growth and performance. Then, the data shall be used to create various steering formulas that will help the plant perform better. 

Many tech startups are invested in crop steering and are actively working on various hardware and software solutions, making this technology worth keeping an eye on!

3. Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning 

Artificial Intelligence is a sector that may disrupt many industries, and cannabis cultivation is no exception. Agriculture will benefit a lot from the application of AI and we will see many changes in the coming years.

Artificial intelligence technology is progressing at an exponential rate, and it is now capable enough to create art and music. But when it comes to cannabis, AI is still in its infancy, but there are many opportunities for it to grow. 

Today, many companies offer products or services that rely on AI and machine learning to help the grower produce better cannabis plants and products. Essentially, AI can help you optimize the growing process, manage your inventory, improve customer communications, mine crucial data to enhance sales and marketing, and much more. 

For example, there are AI platforms that can help growers monitor their plants, alert them of any stresses, automate various processes like lighting cycle and feeding routine, etc. Plus, some AI tools can also help consumers find the best products and dosage for their needs. 

But this is only the beginning. There is a wealth of potential for artificial intelligence to grow further and make growing cannabis even easier! For all we know, AI can take over a lot of the boring processes of growing cannabis as it has for many other industries. 

Coming to the cannabis industry in particular, AI is used to optimize how plants grow and also improve their health. Systems powered by AI can analyze loads of data derived from cameras and sensors, offering immediate feedback to cultivators, thereby enabling them to take decisions based on real-time data. 

Not only can AI systems monitor the humidity and temperature, which are very important to grow cannabis, but they can also monitor the lighting levels to keep the plants comfortable. In addition, AI can be utilized if you want to identify pests, plant diseases, and nutrient deficiencies, allowing you to take immediate action before the problem worsens. The AI does by this analyzing various images of the plants. 

AI is also used to make predictive analyses in cannabis cultivation. By referring to historical data associated with yields and growth of the plant, AI algorithms offer cultivators insights that enable them to take better care of their plants. In short, AI can help you identify the best cultivation practices to grow amazing buds. 

Finally, Artificial Intelligence is also used to develop new marijuana strains. AI does this by analyzing a plant’s genetic makeup and identifying desirable traits, much like a breeder. This also helps breeders conduct more research and achieve their goals faster. Needless to say, AI can help breeders create strains that are much more potent, resilient, and flavorful. 

Sure, AI is still in its nascent stages, but it surely has the potential to make drastic changes in agriculture, including cannabis cultivation. 

4. Internet of Things

Before AI, one technology that overtook the world was the internet of things (IoT), which is run by various sensors and a centralized database. For the cannabis industry, IoT consists of various agricultural sensors that monitor and analyze your growing processes, and present the data in an easy-to-understand manner to the grower. 

Essentially, with IoT, everything in your grow room can be interconnected, including your fans, humidifiers, lighting systems, etc. along with various sensors that monitor your plant’s growth and performance. All of this is presented on the dashboard. 

IoT makes it a lot easier to understand and learn about your plant’s performance to a meticulous level, and as discussed below, IoT can be accompanied by automation to even automate various processes in your garden. 

5. Automation

Another area that is seeing a lot of progress in the cannabis industry is robotics and automation, which can help improve the growing process, reduce labor costs, and even improve yields. 

For example, robotics and automation can perform boring repetitive tasks with consistency and accuracy, reducing the grower’s burden and effort. Robots can help the grower plant seeds, transplant them, and even harvest plants once they reach maturity to save you a lot of manual work.

Additionally, this automation can work in tandem with IoT and sensors to monitor your grow room, track various environmental factors, and adjust them in real-time to make sure your plant always has desirable conditions to thrive in. All of this is without your input, so you can focus on the more important aspects of your business. 

In fact, one company is already using robotics and automation: Bloom Automation, which has devised a system that automatically harvests cannabis plants. This system identifies mature plants and harvests them. Such technologies can even improve the processing and curing part of the business! 

There’s one caveat, though. Robotics and automation are perhaps one of the most difficult-to-implement technologies for most growers. It is expensive and requires specialized skills to manage. So, while the technology is here, it may be a while before it becomes commonplace in the industry. 

6. LED Lighting 

Most cannabis gardens use HPS or similar lighting solutions that are rather energy intensive. You would know if you have ever grown a cannabis plant indoors — the energy bills tend to be high! 

However, LED lights have come in to save the day. More and more growers are adopting LED lighting in their gardens as they are super energy-efficient — they consume 90% less energy than conventional lighting solutions.

Additionally, LED lights don’t heat up as much as some lighting panels, like HIDs, and they also don’t fade out over time. High-quality LED diodes have a lifespan of up to 11 years! 

LED lights are also quite customizable. You can change their color temperature, spectrum, and intensity on the go. So, you don’t have to swap your grow lights every time you push your plant from vegetative to bloom. Simply use your phone to tune up your lighting system. 

Yes, LED lights are commonplace in your car and home solutions, but when it comes to the cannabis industry, it is still an expensive investment for most growers. But, with time, this technology is expected to become a lot cheaper. In fact, you’ll see that many companies are now selling LEDs that aren’t as expensive as they were before. Even here on Growdiaries, you’ll see most growers use LEDs compared to HIDs. 

7. E-commerce Technologies

Even the internet has changed in the past few years, and it has made it easier for consumers to access information on cannabis. The same applies to cannabis producers.

If you are a cannabis producer, you can make a website from the comfort of your home. Plus, you have access to various websites and services that can help you put your products on the website, set up payment gateways, and even market your products. 

The best part? You don’t need to be a marketer or coder to do any of this. Most of the process is automated and only requires minimal input from your end. And it does not end there. 

Once your e-commerce website is up and running, your customers can place an order and the shipment will be booked automatically, a delivery partner will pick up the package and deliver it to the customer in a few days. 

E-commerce has been around for a while, but for cannabis, it is a relatively new approach to business. But according to some estimates, with more and more cannabis businesses embracing e-commerce, the market is expected to hit USD 166 billion by 2025!

8. Aeroponics

Aeroponics is a relatively modern way of growing plants, where the roots are suspended in a fog or mist of nutrient-rich water. This is a type of hydroponic growth setup that allows you to precisely control the environment, allowing your plant to grow faster and produce a better yield.

Essentially, in an aeroponic system, your plant will grow in a closed environment and the roots will be suspended in a chamber, repeatedly sprayed with a mist of nutrient-rich water. And this solution is delivered to the roots via an atomizer. 

Since the nutrients are delivered directly to the roots in this system, it does not waste as much water and nutrients, while allowing you to fine-tune your plant’s nutrient regimen unlike ever before. Plus, you don’t have to invest time or money in maintaining a growth medium. 

Unlike other technologies mentioned here, aeroponics is already here and many growers have figured out cheap ways to set up aeroponics in their gardens. Be sure to do some research — this method is worth a try if you want to grow cannabis in a more sustainable and precise fashion. 

9. Vertical Farming

Vertical farming is a unique technique involving cultivating cannabis in vertically stacked layers. Typically, it occurs in an environment controlled by the grower, much like hydroponics, and helps the grower get better results than growing marijuana plants outdoors. 

Vertical farming is a boon for those that can’t afford large spaces. In addition, it offers more yield in limited spaces, making it perfect for anyone to grow cannabis. Vertical farming is becoming very popular in the cannabis industry, especially among small-scale cultivators who don’t have large spaces to grow their favorite plants. 

You can set up vertical farms easily in warehouses, shipping containers, and various other indoor spaces after customizing them to meet your specific needs to grow bushy cannabis plants. You can also use LED lighting and automated nutrient systems to encourage the plants to grow big and produce massive yields. 

What’s more, vertical farming has a major advantage over other techniques of growing cannabis as it helps you reduce water usage and also the need to use pesticides aggressively, which is great for the environment. 

Emerging Trends in the Cannabis Industry

Emerging Trends in the Cannabis Industry

Technologies are one side of the coin, but the cannabis industry is transforming in another way — new trends. Many growers and consumers are adopting new ways to produce and consume cannabis, which makes the process a lot better and easier for them. Here are some of the best examples of emerging trends.

1. Sustainable Growing Practices

Sustainability has long been a source of discussion in the cannabis community. Growing cannabis, after all, isn’t the most eco-friendly process as it uses a lot of water and energy. Fortunately, new technology is solving a lot of the problems. 

One of the best examples of this is LED lighting systems that are drastically decreasing the energy costs for cannabis growers. Other such examples include eco-friendly packaging, hydroponic setups that consume less water, and less use of products that may harm the local ecosystem.

More and more growers and consumers are adopting newer sustainable processes while businesses are coming up with newer ways to reduce the carbon footprint even further. All of this has already made a difference, but there is still much room for improvement. 

2. Use of Organic Supplements and Pesticides

Growers are also using organic solutions to manage their gardens, including supplements and pesticides. Yes, chemical products may be more effective, but recent studies have highlighted just how harmful they can be to the environment.

Apart from the environment, many chemical products have also been shown to be harmful to cannabis itself and the end user. For example, some pesticides can hamper the flavor and aroma of the buds. 

So, growers around the world are reaching for organic alternatives. These organic supplements and pesticides are derived from natural sources and are typically less toxic and more eco-friendly than their chemical counterparts. Plus, they can improve the health of the soil and help your plant grow better while deterring pests and diseases. 

Some of the popular organic products include worm castings, bat guano, compost, bone or blood meals, etc. These materials can enrich the soil and provide your plant with essential nutrients. Additionally, pesticides like neem oil or pyrethrin, which are derived from natural sources, are a safe way to tackle pests in your cannabis garden. 

Moreover, the use of such organic products can help cannabis growers meet the ever-growing demand for natural products. Consumers are increasingly concerned about the quality of products they purchase and are willing to pay more for organic products. 

3. Craft Cannabis Products

Craft cannabis refers to cannabis that is grown, harvested, and cured with a focus on quality, and such products use artisanal production techniques as opposed to mass-produced cannabis. Also, craft cannabis is grown in smaller batches by skilled growers — it’s similar to craft beer. 

One of the primary features of craft cannabis is its emphasis on genetics. The grower carefully selects and breeds different strains to create unique flavors and effects, allowing for a wider range of strains that appeal to different consumers. 

Another crucial aspect is the way the plants are grown. Typically, craft cannabis is grown using natural methods and products with a focus on nutrition and soil health. These products tend to be more sustainable and consumers often find them better-tasting. 

Plus, craft cannabis businesses are often small and family-run, with a focus on community building. This leads to a better sense of connection between the grower and their customers, and it also allows the grower to produce personalized cannabis products. 

One of the challenges facing craft cannabis is the issue of regulation. Since most jurisdictions have strict licensing policies and high fees, it can be difficult for small-scale growers to compete with larger businesses. 

Despite the challenge, craft cannabis is growing pretty fast as more and more consumers are becoming interested in artisanal products. 

4. Medical Applications

In recent years, experts have studied the various medicinal benefits of cannabis, and as more regions legalize cannabis for medicinal use, the industry is seeing a surge in more research into cannabis-based medicines. 

Sure, cannabis has been used for its medicinal purposes for centuries, but now, we know for sure how it can help with various conditions. Studies have found that cannabis may help with a range of conditions like chronic pain, nausea, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, and cancer-related symptoms. 

One benefit of this trend is that cannabis is a natural alternative to traditional pharmaceutical medications, which may come with various side effects. Plus, cannabis is more accessible as it can be consumed in various ways, including edibles, vaporizers, and oils. 

Additionally, experts are studying the lesser-known cannabinoids and terpenes and their potential uses. This is helping growers develop new strains that are specifically designed for medicinal use. These strains are often rich in CBD and other cannabinoids for a more tailored approach. 

Overall, cannabis is quickly becoming a go-to remedy for various conditions, and with more research and legalization, it has the potential to transform lives around the world!

5. Cannabis Tourism

With more and more countries legalizing cannabis and each having its own unique cannabis culture, true cannabis connoisseurs are now traveling around the world to indulge in different cannabis cultures and try out new products. 

Cannabis tourism is further supported by various festivals and events that celebrate cannabis culture, and these events range from seminars and conferences to art shows and music festivals. 

Cannabis tourism is allowing users to experience cannabis in a new way and it also has the potential to bring economic benefits to the communities where it is allowed. And let’s not forget the tax dollars that countries can earn from it! 

The Future of Cannabis: Challenges and Opportunities

The Future of Cannabis: Challenges and Opportunities

Despite all the technological advances and emerging trends mentioned earlier, the cannabis industry still faces several unique challenges that many other industries don’t.   

One of the biggest challenges is that since cannabis is a federally controlled substance and yet not legal in various countries, online transactions and banking are still problematic for many businesses and users. 

At the same time, dipping your toes into the cannabis business is difficult. There is a high barrier to entry thanks to all the regulations, licensing processes, and similar legal red tape. It is time-consuming, tedious, and often expensive for small businesses. 

Another challenge, according to experts, is the lack of talent. Yes, the industry has some of the best growers in the world, but for other mundane jobs in the industry, talent is still lacking. This is perhaps due to the social stigma still associated with cannabis, which keeps it from hiring some employees.

Despite the challenges, the industry is finding newer ways to overcome them with emerging technologies and trends. For example, some growers and businesses are sharing resources or forming cooperatives, and some are using creative strategies like crowdfunding to find their operations.

As more and more countries legalize cannabis and the stigma around this herb decreases, the challenges will lax. This will lead to more opportunities in terms of growth and technological advancements. 

These advancements will allow the industry to become more socially responsible, sustainable, and efficient. And the growers and producers will be able to create products more efficiently and of higher quality. 

Overall, the future of the cannabis industry is exciting. Both growers and consumers will benefit from these evolutions in the industry. 

Summary: The Future of Cannabis Growing: Emerging Technologies and Trends

Some of the trends and technologies mentioned above are still in their infancy, but given how effective they are, these practices are to evolve further and become commonplace in the industry. 

Plus, there are various technologies and trends we have not yet noticed or predicted, but they will be worth looking out for. One of those is AI — it is helping us already, but its potential is untapped and even experts aren’t sure how far AI can evolve in the next couple of years. 

If you are a grower or work in the cannabis industry, you should keep your ears peeled to stay ahead of the curve. Every month, new technologies emerge, and keep an eye on them and adopt them whenever you can. 

The industry is no doubt rapidly changing, and if you can stay ahead of the pack, you can improve your products and make the journey easier for your consumers. Ultimately, your bottom line will thank you for it. 


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