The cannabis industry is progressing faster than cultivators and manufacturers can handle. With an expansive number of cannabis enthusiasts, there is no doubt that this industry is one of the most sought-after businesses by retailers, suppliers, or online dispensaries.
And along with this momentum, the Internet of Things (IoT) technology is also growing in stride to keep up with the trends. IoT tech is the way mundane objects are integrated with internet connectivity that enables communication or monitoring of information.
For instance, ordinary watches used to display the time in the past. Due to the Internet of Things, it’s now used as a heart rate monitor, calorie counter, steps counter, VO2 measuring device, and sleep monitor. Cleaning your house in the past would require a broom, a dustpan, and a vacuum. Now, we have the Roomba Robot Vacuum.
It’s no surprise how the agriculture industry, especially in the cannabis field, will benefit the IoT tech in cultivating and selling cannabis. From the seedling phase, the vegetative phase to the flowering phase and extraction phase, the IoT tech can help expedite methods and increase production through accurate monitoring and more.
Here are five ways on how the cannabis industry can benefit the IoT technology.
1) Increases Yields Through Digital Monitoring Devices
The conventional cultivation of cannabis outdoors would require a growth medium such as soil as well as natural light, water, the right temperature and humidity, and adequate nutrients that are absorbed through the roots.
However, mass production of cannabis would entail a slow outdoor growing. Monitoring could take a lot of people to scout, check, and nurture the cannabis plants. And because you solely depend on natural warmth and light, some of the cannabis or hemp plants can sometimes be a hit or miss in terms of maximum yields.
Hydroponics is a method of growing plants without soil. It optimizes mineral nutrient solutions. One type of hydroponics method is called Deep Water Culture Hydroponics where the plants’ roots are placed in a tub of water. This method enables the plants to grow faster.
In hydroponics, it’s also imperative that the right pH level is also measured which is usually between 5.8 and 6.5. The appropriate temperature for cannabis during the day is 24 to 30 degrees Celsius (75 to 86 degrees Fahrenheit). Temperatures that go above 31 degrees Celsius and below 15.5 degrees Fahrenheit will hinder growth and diminish THC content. In indoor growing, the cannabis plant should also have 16 to 24 hours of light and zero to eight hours of darkness during the germination phase until the flowering stage.
This is where the IoT tech comes into play. With the ability to digitally control the pH level, temperature, light, and humidity, plants can grow seamlessly.
2) Traceability Through Near Field Communication Tag
Near Field Communication Tag (NFC Tag) is a set of small microchips that stores information about the products or objects. It is a subset of Radio Frequency Identification (RFID). RFID can identify, locate, and track animals, objects, and even humans through radio frequency signals.
Although there are various regulations on cannabis cultivation, more often than not, the cultivation methods and packaging processes aren’t closely watched by the authorities. Sometimes the packaging labels will have discrepancies on the CBD and THC content. As cannabis consumers, it is our right to get from the best value for our money from retail stores or online dispensaries such as Get Kush.
As with any other products, fraudulent suppliers also take advantage of booming businesses. Some try to exaggerate the packaging labels duping consumers into what they think is a high-quality weed when in fact, it’s filled with fillers.
It’s a luxury that consumers can trace where the cannabis was cultivated and all factual information about each strain through NFC tags or stickers that mobile devices can read. This way, consumers will get every bang for their buck when purchasing cannabis.
3) Outdoor Monitoring Through Multispectral Imagery
Drones or unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are a rising technological trend that is either used for personal or business purposes. For the latter, the cannabis industry can make use of drones to monitor outdoor growing for hemp and cannabis farmers.
Through multispectral images and integrated sensors, cannabis farmers no longer have to go through each plant for its needs. Cannabis cultivators can boost yields at lesser costs because drones are affordable, fast, and extremely durable. By nature, plants absorb and reflect light during the growing phase.
There are sensors for measuring the plant’s reflectance, and images can tell whether a plant is healthy or not. For instance, a dark image usually means the plant is healthy and green. And a lighter image usually means the plant is fatigued or dying.
Through drones, farmers no longer have to manually scout cannabis or hemp plants in outdoor cultivation. This is extremely beneficial especially if farming is for mass production as it saves time, money, and effort.
4) Automated Extraction Methods
A cannabis expert would probably tell you that a hair straightener is a perfect tool to make rosin dabs. However, this can be a time-consuming process. If the aim is to sell cannabis products, this method will instantly fail in terms of accuracy and time.
Various extraction methods have been widely debated due to the harmful solvents and chemicals used. While each solvent has its pros and cons, one of the safest extraction methods is through the use of CO2. Extraction machines that have automated controls make load and unload processes a breeze. Some of the automated machines can process 20 pounds of cannabis in four hours without manual supervision.
5) Streamlines Safety and Regulations Through a Centralized System
Safety and regulations differ in every country, area, state, or territory. And one way to establish precision in cultivation, extraction, packaging, and supply of cannabis is by providing a centralized system where all devices with connectivity can access.
Cloud-based services are widespread in all industries nowadays. This eliminates the need for additional manpower costs, hardware installation, and local servers. If every authorized representative is provided software with regulated documentation on every aspect of the cannabis industry, cannabis suppliers, sellers, and consumers will trust the process all the way.