In our previous article, we mentioned some ways that cannabis technology is improving your cannabis experience. In this article, we’ll talk about some of the ways technology is helping producers grow their plants in more efficient and sustainable ways. These new technologies might not seem important to the average cannabis user, but behind-the-scenes, they are paving the way forward for producers to grow the best product possible and to do it sustainably. This means happy plants and happy planet, happy people! From new advances in the way that cannabis is grown to how it is disposed of, let’s take a look at what types of new technologies cannabis producers are using to bring you the best possible product.
Some of the most important advances in cannabis technology come from a desire to create the most ideal conditions for growing weed. Many factors affect how a plant grows, such as lighting, temperature, and humidity. In the past, workers have had to be onsite constantly testing and adjusting a multitude of factors to ensure growing conditions remain perfect. Now, many greenhouses are installing new automated control systems that eliminate a need for constant manual supervision of the plants.
Companies like Argus are creating technology that can analyze and tweak complex growing conditions. These systems can monitor and adjust greenhouse temperature, humidity, lighting, CO2 levels, soil moisture, and pH levels, among many other data points of the plant’s development.
Through these new control systems, the climate of a greenhouse can be adjusted to manipulate the flowering and fruit production of different plants, including cannabis. This takes out any potential for human error, ensuring crops can be grown efficiently and safely, and allowing the growing conditions to be set at the perfect levels for each stage of the plant’s development.
Growing cannabis and hemp in a greenhouse can be a costly endeavor, and can also be unsustainable for the environment (could link sustainability article here), but it’s technology to the rescue again!
Companies like HyperLogic are creating systems for growers, such as the Nutrient Runoff Filtration System that reclaims used water and recycles it, instead of sending it down the drain.
This can reduce a greenhouse’s water usage by 50-80%, which can make a big difference from both an environmental and financial perspective.
They also produce wastewater evaporators, which produces a solid waste that can then be trucked offsite. These technologies are especially important for growers in dry places where conserving water is a must, like California. It’s not just water that needs to be conserved. Saving energy is also important, and the lighting system in greenhouses is a big factor in this endeavor.
Generally, greenhouses use LED lights. The most common LED light source is a Surface-Mounted Device (SMD) LEDs. These consist of three lights mounted on a circuit board, which can change their output lights (which are red, green, and blue) to create any color on the spectrum. These lights are perfect for cannabis production as they can imitate different phases of the plant’s growth, from a bright midday summer sun to the orange-hued waning light of autumn. LED lights are already more efficient than traditional incandescent lightbulbs, but new technologies are providing even greater efficiency. The new standard for LED lights is the Chip on Board or COB LEDs. Around nine lights can be mounted onto each circuit board, which is made of ceramic. These chips are much brighter and the ceramic surface means the heat of the lights will dissipate much more quickly, making them far more efficient than SMD LEDs. Moving forward, we are excited to see more and more greenhouses adopting the new standard for LED lights!
As the demand for cannabis and CBD products rises, production increases. However, with this increase in production comes an increase in waste. Finding ways to properly dispose of cannabis and hemp waste is crucial to the sustainability of our industry. Luckily, many tech companies are investing in new and innovative ways of disposing of refuse from their greenhouses and farms. Landfills are the cheapest and easiest ways to dispose of plants refuse, but they aren’t environmentally-friendly. Generally, “green manure” is an old-fashioned but efficient way of disposing of plant waste – the mulch can be mixed with manure and spread back onto the fields it came from.
Composting seems like a great idea, but cannabis scrap isn’t as easy to compost as throwing an apple core into the bin under your kitchen sink. The plant matter must be free of chemicals and contaminants. Companies such as 9Fiber will take stalks and stems from cannabis and hemp plants, and they will destroy any residual THC and contaminants on the plant before they recycle the plant matter into things like paper, textiles, and bioplastics. Hopefully, in the future, we will see an increase in green technology that will keep plant matter from ending up in a landfill where it isn’t able to decompose or be recycled.
An often overlooked aspect of the cannabis industry is the need for high-security standards. Many producers are vulnerable to theft, both from inside and outside of their workforce, because of thriving black markets.
To keep legal cannabis safe during production, many companies are installing state-of-the-art security systems, such as futuristic cameras that can record atmospheric changes in a greenhouse, and biometric data from humans inside these spaces. New keycard and fob systems can also help keep the plants safe. They can be customized so that employees have access to only the rooms and sections that are relevant to their work, and they can also keep track of where workers are in the building.
Meanwhile, growers who have crops outside can use drones to survey their fields. This can be an efficient way of noting intruders, and it can also keep employees safer, as they do not need to physically approach a potentially dangerous situation.
As you can see, the cannabis industry is exploding with new and exciting technologies that are helping increase efficiency, sustainability, and safety for producers and a top-quality product for consumers.
We can’t wait to see what’s next for cannabis tech! If you have any questions about the growing methods of our producers, stop by Due North and our guides will be happy to answer your questions.
Did we miss anything? Let us know in the comments below