Cannabis Goes High Tech With AI

Using data gathered through research to more effectively develop products that meet consumer needs is not new, but a promising innovation, at least for the cannabis industry, is using Artificial Intelligence to streamline and enhance not only the research but development processes. Nancy Whiteman, CEO of Wana Brands (one of the cannabis companies currently utilizing AI for R&D purposes in collaboration with The Effects Lab by budboard) is enthusiastic about AI’s potential. “Instead of creating a product and then waiting to hear from consumers whether it hits the mark, we are starting by looking at data across thousands of user reports to identify terpenes and cannabinoids that deliver a specific effect, then integrating those into our case-specific products.” Wana Brands will be teaming up with Canopy Growth (NASDAQ: CGC) in the future due to a deal agreed upon in October. 

Using computer programs, advanced algorithms and technologies like drones and sensors to imitate human intelligence, AI is able to efficiently scan for patterns and perform data analysis tasks that are unwieldy and time-consuming for the human brain. By combing through massive amounts of information and identifying patterns and tendencies in controlled environments, AI can optimize not only research and development but detect plant diseases, find the best way to optimize growing environments and identifying which strains work best for which medical conditions or desired effects.

The Effects Lab by budboard highlights four main ways that companies can utilize AI in product manufacturing, which include providing consistency for product effects, expediting project timelines, predictive analysis of existing formulations, and optimizing cannabis products for specific consumer use cases. It does this by using raw consumer feedback from various products and mining it for trends and takeaways to provide manufacturers with the information they need to develop products that will find their mark among consumers. 

CEAD, a Phoenix-based company (no website), is focused on AI applications in cultivation. Its cofounder, Royce Birnbaum, states that the use of CEAD’s AI “will enable an upsurge in quality while reducing manpower needed to maintain each plant, as well as give a comprehensive overview of all operations and outcomes related to cannabis cultivation.” Citizen Green Technologies’ application Prescriptii is an AI-driven application that includes a Blockchain-based gratification system that addresses the difficulty banks often face in processing cannabis-related transactions. 

New approaches in cannabis-specific forms of Artificial Intelligence are emerging at a breathtaking pace to address the known and emergent needs of the cannabis industry. If their efficacy is proven by higher yields, product popularity and noteworthy sales figures (among other measures), AI may go from being a new and noteworthy feature of 2022’s cannabis outlook to a permanent fixture in the industry.

Julie Aitcheson

Julie Aitcheson is a freelance writer, author and educator. In addition to Green Market Report, her work has appeared in Vanguard Magazine, The Fresh Toast, Green Entrepreneur, Daily Press, The Baltimore Sun, LA Weekly and The Chicago Tribune. She received a full fellowship to the 2013 Stowe StoryLabs and won second place in the 2014 San Miguel Writers' Conference nonfiction writing competition. She has published two young adult novels and is currently at work on a piece of adult fiction.

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