5 Cannabis Technologies Changing Large-Scale Cannabis Businesses (And How to Learn About Them)
Cannabis growing technology has scaled to unprecedented highs, but post-harvest technology has been pulling down “big cannabis” for some time now.
As the demand for medical and recreational cannabis grows, major cannabis producers need to scale up production without compromising the quality of their products. For example, there is an urgent demand for automated trimming solutions that can compete with humans in terms of terpene preservation.
The same challenge applies to preservation, packaging, and tracking processes. Aggravated by murky and inconsistent government regulations, the situation is dire for large-scale cannabis businesses that need to meet quality and compliance standards while minimizing operational costs.
However, there are now many emerging Cannabis technologies that promise to solve these problems for cannabis businesses. Our goal at Lucky Leaf Expo is to bring these potentially viable technologies to light for the benefit of cannabis businesses and consumers alike.
Here are five of the most promising Cannabis technologies you should look into to streamline your seed-to-sale processes and beyond.
One of the largest obstacles to the efficient distribution of CBD and other cannabis products is its incompatibility with water-based products. As an oil, it is not water-soluble and separates over time when added to water-based products such as beverages.
The only way to distribute cannabis products, apart from its dry bud form, is in the form of processed products such as edibles, oils, and tinctures (alcohol-based solvents). Even worse, the low bioavailability of cannabis products means that only about 20% of it is absorbed when taken orally, leading to expensive waste.
However, nanoencapsulation technology is promising to change all that. Nanoencapsulation involves breaking down the oils into nano size, then surrounding them with a protective capsule of some substance such as alfalfa protein. This enables the oils to be dissolved in water-based products easily in the form of an emulsion.
Additionally, these emulsions also increase absorption of CBD and THC. The encapsulated oil is able to bypass the stomach and gastric acids until it is absorbed into the bloodstream. That way, consumers can also quantify exactly how much substance they are taking accurately.
Thanks to this technology, new consumption styles such as microdosing will be widely available, expanding the market and helping with regulations.
#2. Model-G Precision Grinder and Destemmer
Post-production processing is one of the major problems that automation can solve for operators. At present, the highest quality processing is done by hand to preserve the quality of THC and CBD compounds.
Previous automation attempts have proven wasteful. Just the mechanical force used and heat generated by machines such as trimmers can destroy volatile terpenes. For large-scale cannabis operators, the goal is to increase quantity cost-effectively without sacrificing quality.
GreenBroz Inc., an industry-leading disruptor and innovator, claims to have done just that with the Model G Precision Grinder and Destemmer. The Model G removes stems from milled flowers while maintaining consistent particle size and product quality.
The Model-G does that using a unique, patent-pending triangular blade assembly that gently deconstructs the bud rather than pulverizing it. Coupled with a low-torque motor assembly that produces minimal heat, the result is a high degree of quality and throughput.
The Model G is capable of processing over 100 pounds per hour, compared to the two pounds that one good trimmer can manage in a day. Solutions like this will be critical in increasing productivity while reducing costs for large-scale cannabis operators.
#3. Supercritical CO2 Extraction
More and more cannabis consumers are purchasing extracts for use in cannabis oils, edibles, and other products, as opposed to smoking them. Extraction methods such as solvent and butane-based extraction are effective, safety and quality issues are a major concern.
For example, butane can leave traces of heavy metals in the extract, while organic solvents can leave trace amounts that require additional testing. Flammable solvents are also a safety headache for cannabis operators of all sizes.
Supercritical CO2 extraction is poised to solve all these challenges. Supercritical CO2 is carbon dioxide in a state where it exists as both a gas and a liquid. These unique properties mean that it can extract CBD and THC with high efficiency without leaving any traces in the extract.
For these reasons, supercritical CO2 extraction is the safest and cleanest method of extraction. It is already the method of choice in the largest cannabis labs around the world, but it needs greater exposure among operators.
This method of extraction is still gaining traction, being hampered by issues such as the high cost of the equipment required and the level of skill needed to operate it.
#4. App-Based Retail
Apple recently introduced the first full-service cannabis delivery app in its App Store. The service, called Eaze, allows consumers to shop for marijuana products directly on the app and even pay right there.
App-based retail solutions like Eaze are a boon for cannabis operators, streamlining retail sales while remaining compliant with local regulations. Before such services, consumers had to go to dispensaries and use cash to pay for their cannabis products of choice.
For cannabis operators in growing and processing, this is a major bottleneck that creates massive logistical challenges. Startups offering direct-to-customer services such as Eaze, Buddy, Leafly, PotBot, Muncheez, and WeedMaps ensure convenience for the consumer while opening distribution channels for major sellers.
#5. Calyx Containers
Cannabis packaging presents unique challenges to manufacturers. For one, the product requires airtight packaging to preserve freshness and quality, including protection from UV rays. It also needs to be child-proof and tamper-proof, while still being accessible to consumers.
In addition, such packaging should be sustainable and cost-effective. Most packaging solutions today are single-use and are vulnerable to the violation of many quality regulations.
Calyx Containers of Allston, MA, has been changing all that. Simon Knobel and Alex Gonzalez founded the startup in 2016 with little idea of how disruptive their glass and plastic marijuana packaging would become.
And, at MJBizCon in 2021, they announced a new family of even more innovative glass containers that ensure extremely high standards of product freshness while maintaining sustainability.
Made of pharmaceutical-grade glass, the containers also feature molded gaskets that reseal after each use and reliably reseal the container in an airtight lock. The jars lock out oxygen, preserving flavors and potency for much longer.
There are many other amazing innovations that Calyx Containers are pioneering today, making them the gold standard in cannabis packaging today.
Where to Learn More About These Cannabis Technologies
Technology is the only way large-scale cannabis operators are going to solve the biggest hurdles they are facing right now when it comes to production and regulatory compliance. That’s not even to mention the cut-throat competition we have right now.
Even though many of these solutions are startups, the only way to see how viable they could be for your operation is to experience them in person and hear from other players in the industry.
Why don’t you come down to the Lucky Leaf Expo and get a chance to explore these and many other brilliant technological solutions? Buy your ticket now to a Lucky Leaf Expo in a city near you: Richmond, Oklahoma, Jackson, and Albuquerque.