Machine Learning and the Frontiers of Commercial Cannabis


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How prepared are you?

As we barrel well into the 21st century, a time supposed to have been populated with flying cars, jetpacks, and robot housekeepers, the reality of the future we’ve found ourselves in has taken a slightly different appearance. We may be a ways off from having Scotty “beam” us anywhere, but the current state of object interconnectivity, process automation, and machine learning paints a VERY promising picture of what’s likely to come. It’s especially promising for those on the forefront of industry, particularly those industries that are just beginning to hit their “boom”. While artificial intelligence and machine learning capabilities now permeate most facets of our lives, their application to the commercial cannabis industry shows a great deal of potential.

Drones in Commercial Agriculture

Commercial Cannabis & Drone Photography Drone usage in commercial agriculture is becoming more commonplace.

Licensed cultivators have already begun to use drone photography for monitoring outdoor crops, but that’s practically prehistoric tech by now. Sure, remote viewing of your cultivation site can be advantageous, but allow me to paint a much richer picture of the future for you: Imagine, if you will, an aerial drone set to fly a specific pattern over your site at designated intervals, without the need for a manual operator. Of course, you receive all of the same visual data you would by operating the craft manually, but what if that drone was more than a camera? What if that drone was linked to the rest of your IoT-enabled devices, and communicating directly with your GrowerIQ system?

Key to Consistency

With this sort of automation and interconnectivity, the potential for output and quality of crops begins to expand rapidly. A drone-mounted camera, with imagery piped directly into a machine learning-based AI system, has the capability to analyze the visual data it’s collecting in real-time, looking at colour changes, growth patterns, and far more. With a system of sensors, irrigation, and nutrient mixers all integrated on the same platform, your system could process the collected data, analyze it against sensor reading throughout the grow, and make all of the appropriate changes to your watering and feeding schedules. The long-term impact of this sort of automation potential is remarkable, and the amount of time saved on the human end of the process can slash costs and increase productivity by leaps and bounds.

“The boldest of licensed cultivators – those who adopt new technologies early and strive to operate on the cutting edge – have already begun incorporating some of these AI functions into their operation.” 

While we may not see drones equipped to manage trimming and terpene analysis simultaneously for quite some time, most of what we’ve discussed above is technology that currently exists. Artificial Intelligence and machine learning are absolutely the future for commercial cannabis cultivation. In any commercially licensed grow op, consistency and predictability are everything; that’s how you cultivate a robust and loyal customer base. The boldest of licensed cultivators – those who adopt new technologies early and strive to operate on the cutting edge – have already begun incorporating some of these AI functions into their operation.

Knowledge Diffusion

The amount of data being collected now through AI-based automation practices isn’t just beneficial for the grower doing the data collection, either. As knowledge transfer between traditional agriculture and cannabis accelerates, apprentice growers will have access to more of this highly-pointed and useful data. We’ll be able to identify and understand, on a strain-by-strain basis, every facet of ideal cultivation conditions for maximum yield, optimal terpene and cannabinoid profiles, and even helping to pinpoint ideal strains for specific patients and their afflictions.

For the “connoisseur” patient, artisan growers are able to more easily and reliably create custom designer strains, with meticulously-crafted terpene profiles, and intentionally-designed effects. Genetically perfect, archetypal weed WILL be a thing of the near-future. With so many commercial growers already racing to create their own strain of “God Bud”, equipping them with these high-tech tools exponentially expands their capabilities. Not only that, but these tools help drive innovation and competition in the marketplace. Cost-per-gram to both cultivator and consumer should continue to drop, more options for consumers in the marketplace should present themselves, and quality will continue to improve across the board.

“Artisan growers are able to more easily and reliably create custom designer strains, with meticulously-crafted terpene profiles, and intentionally-designed effects.” 

The potential is vast, and we’re right in the thick of it. It’s really quite exciting, and that’s why GrowerIQ exists. We’re thrilled to be right at the forefront of top-to-bottom, seed-to-sale grow tracking and automation. While we exist as a business to make an impact in the licensed cannabis cultivation realm on a global scale, it truly is a work of passion for us. These are exciting times, and we couldn’t be more proud to help drive cannabis innovation forward.