Digital Smoke: When The Internet of Things And Cannabis Unite

The Internet has unarguably revolutionized our world in ways that our ancestors would’ve never even deemed possible. The mere possibility of such a massive data exchange between any two corners of the world has transformed our society in the fastest-paced technological revolution mankind has ever witnessed.

If a long-haired 1960’s flower child were to be transported into our time, they would probably be as astounded with the way our relationship habits have mutated with the use of the internet, as much as they would be with a taste of the latest strain, fresh out from a legal dispensary, just around the corner (and found through a phone app like Weedmaps or Tokr).

Welcome To The Future

Play along this hypothetical time-travel story with us for just one more paragraph.

Imagine now we wanted to help our new, flabbergasted friend adapt to this brave new world of ours. Maybe we could start by explaining how the internet began as an information exchange platform between computers, but rapidly became incorporated into everyday objects like cars, toothbrushes, flip-flops and egg trays.

This is what we call the Internet of Things, or IoT: the ability for any physical object to retrieve and exchange data, in order to improve its efficiency.

Nowadays, there are over 6 billion IoT devices in the world and, as one may expect, some of those are related to cannabis growth and consumption. So, let’s check out some of the most interesting devices out there.

To begin our journey, we can divide cannabis-related IoT applications and devices into two main branches:

1) Those meant for the production and commercialization of cannabis and cannabis related products.

“As it has in many other industries, implementation of the IoT is fundamentally changing the practice of horticulture in the way cultivators interact with their plants,” said Larry Dodson, CTO of Urban-Gro, bringing up a product of theirs that incorporates a high-density sensor network that allows customers to create a communications grid that monitors and automatically adjusts all critical aspects of a growing environment, from climate to lighting, in real time. “Imagine each plant in your facility had a voice and could tell you when something was right or wrong— this is the future of cannabis cultivation.”

2) Those designed for the end consumer and home grower.

This will be the focus of this article.

Automatized Indoor Hydroponic Gardens

Historically, setting up your own indoor grow room could be quite a hassle: Many variables had to be taken into consideration including space, temperature, humidity, lighting, and watering. In addition, indoor grows required considerable daily efforts, mostly related to growth monitoring.

But today, devices like Seedo, Cloudponics, CityCrop, Leaf, and others, take advantage of IoT technologies to provide fully automated growing stations that allow you to monitor growth through your smart device.

“The intersection of cannabis cultivation and IoT will have a great impact on everyday consumers, especially those who consume cannabis medicinally,” explained Nicolas Ruiz, Co-Founder & Chief Product Officer of Cloudponics. “People will have the ability to control the quality and quantity of their cannabis without the fear of pesticides, sales taxes, or reliance on brick and mortar dispensaries." While currently, lack of knowledge and time may hold people back from growing their own cannabis, automated devices like these enable the process for novice cultivators.

Remotely Monitored Cannabis Consumption

Even though the use of medical marijuana has been present for a while in the field of conventional medicine — and a lot longer in a forms of traditional medicine — some people can still be reticent about using it.

Devices such as the Syqe Inhaler, from Syqe Medical, an Israeli biotech company, can use internet connectivity to provide doctors with full information regarding a patient’s medical marijuana consumption, and even allow them to remotely control dosage, giving patients greater reassurance about the therapy.

Jeff Siegel is an expert on cannabis-related topics, and the co-founder and managing editor of Green Chip Stocks. When prompted about these products, he noted that, if we want to “further legitimize the efficacy of medical cannabis, we must treat it no different than any other form of medicine, which is oftentimes carefully monitored by health care professionals." Products like the Syque Inhaler do just that. "The data collected from this kind of technology will also help health care professionals treat patients with a new level of precision that we’ve never seen before," he added.

Making Sure You Get What You Paid For

As cannabis brands figure out their approach to branding and packaging, consumers may have dubious feelings about what they're getting. Some cannabis products can make consumers hesitant., causing them to wonder: Is what’s inside the bag really what the tag is claiming?

Well, this can also be solved by IoT applications. By using smart labeling technology such as NFC tap tags (smart tags that allow consumers to retrieve information about products by simply placing their phone close to them), producers can generate anti-counterfeit certifications to help you make sure you’re getting the real deal.

“Within the medical industry, it's extremely important that patients get transparency and the ability to trace their products, in order to guarantee reliability and consistent results with their medicine,” David Goldstein, CEO of Potbotics told Civilized, noting the company’s RYAH, a smoking device that allows for tracking every detail of the session including temperature, strain, cannabinoid and terpene profiles, and dosage inhaled.

This data is then collected in such a way that allows their AI cloud to create correlations between the patient’s medical profile and their inhaling habits, so that recommendations can be made to medical professionals and patients. “RYAH's QR codes enable the patient to trace their product back to the grower with certified lab results, which allows for consistency in their medications. Overtime, this will lead to more evidence-based prescriptions and dosing to move the medical industry forward." 

As legalization policies and a shift in public opinion allow for new research opportunities, the cannabis industry is gaining the momentum it needed to hop on the rails of innovation and keep up with the ever-mutating world of tech. The offspring of this union is becoming more visible than ever, leaving a face of awe, not just on our peace-loving visitor from the 60s, but on everyone who is following these developments up close.

These are just some of our favorite cannabis related IoT devices and applications, but the list is bound to go on, as new technologies and discoveries emerge every day. Tell us about yours on our social media channels.

Picture by Javier Hasse

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