As the legal landscape began shifting, the doors for technological advancements were flung open. And with this, we saw a shifting social setting as well. The stigmas changed, and the global market began to blossom. And not just did it blossom, but it began to breach into the billions. Some estimates place global marijuana to exceed $47 billion by 2025.
If we look at the bigger picture, we understand the marijuana marketplace is nowhere near full maturity. One thing this means is there is significant room for growth. This growth will be seen in all areas, but one seems to be standing a head taller than the rest, cannabis technology.
Technology can cover a plethora of areas, from packaging to sustainability and everything in between. Technology is the pillar of the developing cannabis industry, and its growth is synonymous with emerging technologies.
So, what are we going to see in another five years?
The push for more sustainable business practices is permeating almost every industry. It is en route to becoming a torchbearer for sustainable technology. For true sustainability, sustainable practices need to be rooted from the base up.
Currently, cannabis production is racking up high in terms of a state’s energy use. Without a doubt, there is room for improvement, and the cannabis industry stewards are more than aware of this. In five years, we will see technology improving in terms of how cannabis is produced.
Cannabis packaging will likely see the largest surges in the next five years. Technologies will push the envelope with sustainable packaging and help to push packaging to become more sustainable and regenerative.
This will lead packaging away from petroleum-based, single-use packaging. We will likely see packaging move towards reclaimed ocean plastic and hemp bioplastic within the next five years.
Augmented Reality in Packaging
There seems to be one standout area in particular when it comes to the future of cannabis technology. And if you were to tell the average Joe in the early days of decriminalization that cannabis and augmented reality will be synonymous in the near future, most would shake their head in disbelief. But that’s precisely where technology is driving cannabis packaging.
Packaging needs to be clear on two issues: Childproofing (safety) and branding. So, where will augmented reality fit in? The AR will likely be used to bolster both experiential and visual appeal. It will also be groundbreaking for cannabis education. And with cannabis education rapidly rising as an essential trademark of a reputable cannabis brand, uniting AR and cannabis begins to make sense. There are stringent requirements when it comes to cannabis labeling, and this can significantly impact both the cost and time (as well as the real estate) of a product’s packaging. AR will offer brands the opportunity to extend the packaging and include all the essential information without cluttering up the physical package. Details such as brand story, agricultural practices, intended effects, and dosage can all be included.
One thing is certain, the type and variety of cannabis products are going to evolve. The shelves, both brick and virtual, will be adorned with interesting and creative cannabis products. There seems to be a massive push towards a more refined way of using cannabis. This is in response to the lingering stigma of marijuana, courtesy of the stoner stereotype. What’s more, the conversation is shifting from the more simplistic view of sativa vs. indica. Instead, we see more intelligence as the science behind the plant and all her potential (and varied) effects become more commonplace. Products made using the latest technology to identify and combine various terpene, and cannabinoid combinations will become common. There will also be a large move away from strange specific products towards specifically formulated products with clear terpene and cannabinoid profiles.
Technology will assist the cannabis industry in broadening its product range within five years. There will be innovative movements in the types of products we see on the shelves. Technology is the driving force behind product development in almost every industry, so that we will see an increasing amount of products with alternative delivery methods within the next few years.
But what seems to be piquing interest is using technology to harness the full potential of the cannabis plant and the inherent compounds that are beneficial. Terpenes are just one type of compound within the cannabis plant, and already we see many products formulated with specific terpenes to create targeted effects. Technology will help producers bolster cannabinoids’ effects, bringing a new era of efficiency to the cannabis marketplace. Products geared towards specific effects, seemingly at the opposite spectrum ends, will take on a new and effective design thanks to innovative technology, further pushing the creative boundaries of the plant’s potential.
And lastly, we can’t end the predictions without mentioning perhaps one of the most obvious of them all, quality. Technology is the driving force behind intelligent formulations. And with more funding, companies can embrace technology to create cannabis products of the highest caliber.
We have a front-row seat, witnessing how technology can support natural living. While that may seem counterintuitive, just keep an eye on how technology will help tap into the plant’s full potential.