AI is transforming the world—and the cannabis industry.
Some view Artificial Intelligence (AI) as an existential risk that could wipe out humanity, others see it as an exciting new frontier to advance civilization. Regardless of one’s views, its prevalence today cannot be understated. Its application is so ubiquitous that even those critical of AI may not even be aware of how pervasive it is in shaping our interactions. AI often works behind-the-scenes to influence and shape our interactions and society at large.
What is AI?
To put simply, AI refers to a processing system or machine that is programmed to think and act like humans. Unlike machine learning, AI cannot learn from data without being specifically programmed to do so. It can only replicate human tasks, but it cannot make decisions on what it has learned, though it is often paired with machine learning to create more powerful automated systems.
AI is used in virtually every aspect of life, and now it is making waves in the cannabis industry. From cultivation to production to sales, AI is being used in all sorts of ways, though it’s most commonly used in cultivation.
The below are just a few examples of the ways AI is transforming the cannabis industry.
AI is used in a system called ‘seed-to-sale’ tracking, which allows people to track a plant throughout its entire life cycle:
From cultivation to harvesting to manufacturing to sales, where eventually it ends up at a dispensary.
To track their journey, seeds are assigned a unique 16-digit identifier. With its help the consumer can then look up and learn all about:
- The plant’s origins
- The nutrients used to grow it
- And other uniquely identifying information
For regulators, seed-to-sale tracking is beneficial as it adds a layer of quality assurance in the supply chain. For farmers, it is beneficial for them to keep track of all of the data to improve cultivation techniques and streamline production. This method also provides more transparency in the production process, giving consumers more information—and peace of mind—about their beloved buds.
AI and Cannabis Cultivation
Thanks to AI, farmers can now use data to determine desirability of growing conditions. AI-powered tools can :
- Adjust the soil pH and sunlight exposure
- Fine-tune the nutrient feed
- Change the temperature, and so on.
With this data, farmers are able to breed new strains and do so in more efficient ways than ever thought possible. The ability to create new strains also creates new opportunities for innovation and to meet the specific needs of a growing customer base. By altering the environment farmers can:
- Create strains with higher levels of CBD or THC
- Manipulate other lesser-known cannabinoids
- And design uncharted territories in cannabis production
Additionally, any producer will tell you that the ability to predict your yields is imperative for production.
If your yield production is wildly off, you may be financially impacted. AI is able to take this problem off your hands and take growth measurements to calculate how fast plants are growing and then compare these measurements to anticipated outcomes. The end result is an effective yield forecast every time.
Not only does AI help save costs on manual labour, but it can also help the company’s bottom line.
As with everything else, there are now more AI-powered cannabis apps than ever. One such app uses AI to track and observe users’
- Cannabis needs
- Prescription information
- And other usage information to help the consumer keep track of their intake.
It also makes personalized product recommendations based on the user’s past usage. Another app, and probably the most popular today, serves as a one-stop-shop to get information about all the different kinds of products and strains available.
There’s also a surge in cannabis delivery apps, in which the apps serve as an intermediary to connect the legal cannabis retailer to the consumer. In some countries like the US, having an app like this saves the consumer time and removes the red tape.
There are countless other ways that AI is being used today in cannabis production. Without a doubt, the industry will continue to see accelerated growth because of AI’s capabilities. Only time will tell if this growth will be celebrated or reviled by stoners around the world.
How do you feel about the merging of AI and cannabis? Let us know in the comments.