By Justin Dufour • December 1, 2017

A Breed Apart - Managing Your Cannabis Genetics

 

The legal cannabis industry is now primed for explosive growth. States are ending the prohibition, Canada is poised to become the world's weed dealer, and opportunities abound for entrepreneurs and investors to get involved. You are probably reading this right now because you already know that the cannabis industry will influence the cultural landscape and impact the economy for generations to come. And you want to learn more!

So do we. Among some of the most significant questions and curiosities within the industry are:

  • As society eschews the prohibition of cannabis, what roles will technology play?
  • What lessons can be learned from the history of cannabis?
  • What can we glean from other industries to inform this one?
  • How can analytical science, genetics, and quantitative data be leveraged for cannabis producers?
  • How can they also benefit cannabis industry investors, and end-users alike?

The once restrictive borders of cannabis are breaking down, and it’s important to start discussing how companies can successfully integrate technology into their process. And no technology right now is hotter than that which tracks and codifies cannabis genetics so that they can be controlled and managed like any other product.

Strains, strain everywhere...

Cannabis comes from two parent strains: indicas, which bring on a sedative high, and sativas, which inspire energy and productivity. But beyond those two distinctions, it's the variety in strain (and their creative names) that constitute one of the many enticing things about cannabis culture. Strain names come in every flavor of colorful, creative, funny, and weird, and there are tons of them. So how many unique cannabis genetics are there? It turns out the answer to that question isn’t as simple as you might think.

All of this has to do with the fact that cannabis growers—be they amateur or part of a major cannabis producer—are continually tinkering with new strains.

Users typically become a fan of a particular strain by trying a variety of different sources over a period of time. Often they find inconsistencies with the strains and will come to terms with accepting these inconsistencies in the cannabis, be it from a single dispensary every time or the same strain across several providers. However, this does not have to be the case. Because we are talking about a plant, we have to accept that the phenotype of the plant is subject to the conditions in which it grows, but there are times when the same product bears almost no resemblance to its origin. Most skilled growers can produce results that at least are recognizable to its parent's genetics, but then again many master growers consider themselves artists of a sort. So, then why would a skilled grower stop at merely replicating a genetic strain when they can improve on it? Answering that requires a dive into the murky waters of managing cannabis genetics.

The exact number of cannabis genetics out there in the world is difficult to determine because cannabis producers are constantly inter-breeding, adjusting genetics, and creating all new genetics. They do this for a few reasons but mainly because the market demand has grown, which require consistent, high-yield plants. The market also has a thirst for variety—strains that heal, strains that have higher concentrations of a particular terpene or cannabinoid. And then there are proprietary strains, like those produced by Tweed (Canopy Growth Corp.) and Bedrocan.

The biggest cannabis producers (Tweed and Bedrocan included) are taking genetics management to a whole new level. The new wave of creating and managing cannabis genetics allows growers to select seeds based on genetic traits in the lab, rather than growing them out and evaluating them as mature plants. The latter process can take years and thousands upon thousands of valuable production space square footage.

The modern cannabis producer wants to have the best of both worlds: a system that is consistent and compliant but that also allows their best growers to create better genetics, be it a more potent high or a more robust plant. That's where cannabis genetic management technology comes in.

Managing Cannabis Genetics Takes the Right Technology

Many growers are turning to "seed-to-sale" technology to solve the issues with inconsistency in tracking strains. It is a type of technology that offers cannabis producers and cannabis processors three vital abilities:

1. SECURITY

From user authentication to advanced encryption and tokenization methods, seed-to-sale tracking should use the best practices to protect all kinds of data, including that of plant genetics.

2. SUPPORT

Software as a service, especially in agriculture, can be a pain. Having a strong technical support crew is important for each cannabis grower and processor. Support for the technology is just the beginning. Because the legal industry is so regulated, many cannabis producers are subject to audits, recalls, and other curveballs that most seed-to-sale software makers help with.

3. COMPLIANCE

With growth in the industry, comes compliance and regulations. It is of vital importance for a cannabis grower or producer to maintain and run within the rules and regulations of their state of operation. Choosing a seed-to-sale platform should facilitate compliance with those who set the local rules for the cannabis industry to meet all necessary reporting requirements.

To further manage cannabis genetics, some large-scale cannabis producers are turning to services that offer repositories of cannabis genomes which track and store the information using technology like the Bitcoin blockchain. The idea is to standardize strain nomenclature so that customers always know what they're getting. Plus, it helps defend the intellectual property rights of those who breed new strains of weed. Now even smaller-scale cannabis processors can protect their hard work like a musician does their catalog of songs, or a corporation does their patents.

Visit our website viridiansciences.com for more ideas on how cannabis businesses need cannabis compliance software to track cannabis genetics and grow a thriving business.