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By Vlad Hughes
The last few years have been a wild ride for the cannabis industry. At the time of writing, at least 35 states have legalized or decriminalized cannabis in some capacity, which has served as a catalyst for vast drives of innovation and creativity.
While you may see a wide variety of cannabis supplies in your local dispensary, many consumers are unaware of the complexity of the cannabis supply chain. The barriers to entry for many growers are still reasonably high, and with cannabis remaining Schedule I on the Controlled Substances Act, conflicts between state and federal laws certainly don’t make business owners’ lives any more comfortable.
With that said, technology is playing a massive role in improving the cannabis growing process for large-scale farmers and home growers alike. On that note, let’s take a look at some of the leading cannabis growing technology trends for commercial growth in 2021 and what the future may hold. We’ve also taken a quick look at some home-growth tech.
For anyone that’s grown weed before, you will know just how crucial it is to get the lighting right. Light is the key to photosynthesis, which is the process that the plant uses to grow and develop healthy root systems.
However, it’s not just as simple as ensuring the plant receives enough light each day, it’s essential that it gets the right kind of light. Interestingly, different spectrums of light should be preferred over others depending on what stage of the growing process the cannabis plant is in.
For example, during the vegetative stage, the plant grows better when exposed to blue light, while when it’s in the flowering phase, it’s better to use red light to help the production of THC. Sounds complicated, right?
Fortunately, specialized LED systems sense the light inside the grow room and help coordinate the right outputs and maintain the routine changes required automatically. This gives more control over the lighting elements than ever before, which is great if you’re trying to grow specific strains. They also run cool and can reduce the watering schedule, as explained in this guide to LED lighting for cannabis growth.
Yep, the world of AI and robots has made its way to the cannabis growing world too. These handy inventions make the life of cannabis farmers much more comfortable as they automate a great deal of the process.
AI software runs tests 24 hours per day, monitoring the growing system remotely and delivering real time data directly to the farmer. The AI looks for impurities in the plants, such as mold, rot, and even insects that may harm the crop and spoil the final harvest quality. The AI can also analyze yield based on the lighting setup, as explained in this guide.
This fantastic technology continuously makes small adjustments to achieve the desired effect, and once it does, it remembers this information for the next crop. So if a farmer wants to replicate a specific harvest, they can do so with incredible accuracy.
This data-driven approach rarely lets the owner down and drastically reduces the margin of error for each harvest. Those that wish to grow their cannabis at home can benefit from this technology, allowing them to practically grow whatever strain they want from the comfort of their own home.
Supplementing your plants with extra carbon dioxide is an excellent way to increase your yield and speed up growth. How so? Well, most plants use CO2 in photosynthesis, enabling them to create energy from light. Without sufficient CO2, they won’t grow as they should, and in extreme circumstances, they will suffocate and die.
CO2 enrichment is expensive to implement correctly, so the technology is mostly used in large scale farms. Additionally, it can be dangerous if you let the levels get too high, which is why this method is not recommended for at-home growers unless you take extreme precautions.
More information about CO2 enrichment can be found at Leafly.com. You can also explore the Dutch Greenhouses range of C02 enriching products in order to grow in a greenhouse environment.
Related article: How to Use CO2 to Increase Cannabis Yields
Home personal grow boxes are one of the ways people can now cultivate in their own home. They aren’t as effective as some of the huge technologies which are revolutionizing large-scale growth, but you can put a personal grow box in your home. If you don’t have access to a lot of space, and are a user of marijuana who wants to try cultivating your own, a growth box can automatically provide the perfect environment. Think of it as a miniature, automated greenhouse.
One of the great things about this tech is that it enables people to grow even if they don’t know a lot about the process. Home growing systems are incredibly simple to use.
Related article: High-Tech Cannabis Grow Systems Simplify Growing At Home
At the moment, technology is mainly used to automate as much of the growing process as possible. The more AI and machine learning technology that’s implemented, the lower the risk of human error. This improves the overall quality of the crop, increasing efficiency, and reducing costs incurred via wastage. Even more reason we shouldn’t be scared of technology.
Technology is also creating a way for people to grow at home, even with minimal experience. In areas where it is legal, you can grow cannabis and hemp, and it can be quite a forgiving crop.
Of course, the top end of this technology is not available to everybody as the costs are high, and you must create large crops to see a return on your investment.
It can be tough to find the specific cannabis growing technology that can help you. The following links provide further reading.
LED Lights - Urban growing and commercial growth technologies including LED lights.
Grow Equipment - Full lighting and home growth kits. Both commercial and home growth equipment.
Cannabis Seeds - Suppliers of cannabis growth technology “whether you grow indoors or outdoors, or if you use soil, hydroponic or aeroponic systems”
AI Cannabis Cultivation Technology - Cannabis and AI information and software.
Looking forward to the future, it’s likely we will witness technology take over more of the growing process than ever before. Years ago, the farmer was involved in almost every part of the process, continually measuring and nurturing the plant until harvest.
Of course, this isn’t scalable at mass, and as a result, the quality of the harvest would suffer the more extensive the yield became.
Technology now removes the need for almost any human intervention, giving farmers a completely hands-off approach. Sensors measure large amounts of data and regulate all of the plants’ vital markers in real-time.
In the future, we can expect to see the implementation of DNA sequencing, which will further increase the final product's accuracy.
One of the main complaints these days is from consumers buying the same product twice and finding different THC and CBD variations in each. DNA sequencing will create plants that are far more predictable due to genome mapping, which will allow companies to create an exact plant with a predetermined quantity of CBD or THC and even different colors and flavors.
Vlad Hughes is a business development manager and digital marketer at CannabizSupply. He has over 5 years of experience in the cannabis industry, specialized in writing different educational guides on Marijuana packaging topics, cannabusiness digital strategies, laws etc.